948 years ago last week (it’s true!), the Battle of Hastings was fought. It brought French cuisine forcibly to England, not for the last time. The Norman French even made the conquered people learn the word “cuisine”. They still resent it. But along with all the repression came great dishes, such as this one known as Dragontail, a boneless pork loin roast, suitably decorated and using a fairly short list of ingredients:
3 pounds boneless pork loin roast
1-2 teaspoons Coriander
1-2 teaspoons Caraway seed
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 handful unseasoned breadcrumbs
Grind all spices in a mortar & pestle (or commandeered coffee grinder – pretend it’s plunder) until very fine indeed. Then blend well with the wine and garlic. Marinate the pork roast with this mixture for at least two hours in an airtight container, or for those who care nothing for tradition (yet more dirty dishes), just use a resealable plastic bag with the air squeezed out.
Then remove for the oven, saving the marinade which will be our sauce. Place the roast in a baking dish and roast for 20 minutes at 450 degrees F. Then turn the oven down to 300 degrees F. to finish.
After an hour or so at 300 degrees F, it should be done. Cooking temp for pork is lower today than in times recently past because pork is cleaner and leaner, so an internal temp of 145 degrees F with your handy meat thermometer should be sufficient.
As the roast is resting for 10 minutes after its removal from the oven, take the marinade – toss into frying pan, bring to a boil, toss in breadcrumbs, (unseasoned remember), then pour it over your Dragontail. If desired sliced almonds make interesting “scales”. Add them to a few places shingle-fashion.
Enjoy one of the better aspects of the Middle Ages, with all of the convenience of Now. Also great sliced on a cold meat platter with cheese and pickled onions.
By Alan Coe