Beautiful pork sirloin, crispy crackling and mashed polenta.

Perfect Pork Sirloin, Creamy Polenta Mash & Crispy Crackling

Perfect Pork Sirloin, Creamy Polenta Mash & Crispy Crackling

This perfect pork sirloin, creamy polenta mash and crispy crackling recipe takes a little from Italy and a little from the UK and puts them all together in this beautiful, rich dish.

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Beautiful pork sirloin, crispy crackling and mashed polenta.
Beautiful pork sirloin, crispy crackling and mashed polenta.

Introduction

I haven’t cooked a great deal of pork here, save for this pork, egg and chips dish a few weeks ago. I do really enjoy it and I like pairing it with a variety of things. I’ve got a real thing for polenta. It’s something I’ve only come across fairly recently. My girlfriend introduced it to me a couple of years ago and I’ve been a big fan ever since. She saw it as a healthier option than potato, so we had it quite a lot. Although I’m not completely sure it is a healthier option. On the plus side, it’s very easy to use and extremely versatile!

To begin with, I sliced it up and used it as chips. It crisps up perfectly when cooked that way and it goes really well with dishes that need a little crunch. Or as a crackly little garnish on top! And while I still very much enjoy it served that way, I soon came to realise there were more traditional approaches to cooking it that also caught my interest.

Originating in Italy, it is perhaps most traditionally served as a rich, creamy polenta mash, where it would often be served with mushrooms or sausage. It’s also a fairly common staple of cuisines in the southern states of the USA. There, it would perhaps be more commonly found served alongside chicken or as a simple side.

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About the recipe

In this dish, the polenta is paired with a perfect piece of pork sirloin and some crunchy, crispy crackling. I’ve done my best to make the perfect pork crackling for this recipe, but if your cut of pork comes without the skin, it isn’t the end of the world. It’s a lovely, crunchy addition to the dish, but it isn’t vital and you’ll be just fine without it.

I’ve also thrown some lovely fresh vegetables into the mix. I’ve just grown my first crop of homegrown turnips and I was quite excited to give them a try. Any root vegetable would work just fine here. Swede, radish or carrots would be a perfectly suitable alternative. You could also pickle those vegetables to bring some much wanted bite to this very rich dish.

We’re also going to make a very tasty beef jus. If you’d prefer to work with pork, that would work just fine. It was really about working with what I had available, but I really like the beefiness. Pork is such a wonderfully blank slate that I think it handles the beefiness quite well.

As a final note, I started with a block of polenta in this recipe because it’s what we had in the house. Normally, when making polenta into mash it would be more natural to start from dry. Work with what you have. It’s always the best way forwards!


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Beautiful pork sirloin, crispy crackling and mashed polenta.

Perfect Pork Sirloin, Creamy Polenta Mash & Crispy Crackling

This perfect pork sirloin, creamy polenta mash and crispy crackling recipe takes a little from Italy and a little from the UK and puts them all together in this beautiful, rich dish.
Course Main Course
Cuisine English, Italian
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

For the jus

  • 5 Small Beef Bones With a little meat if possible
  • 1 Brown Onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 2 Sticks Celery
  • Sml Handful Black Peppercorns

For the creamy polenta mash

  • 1 Block Polenta
  • 150 ml Milk
  • 50 ml Olive Oil
  • 1 Mustard
  • Lemon Juice
  • Salt

For the perfect pork crackling

  • 3 Strips Pork Rind
  • Salt

For the pork sirloin

  • 2 Pork Sirloin Chops
  • Salt

Garnishes

  • 1 Leek, stalks and roots removed and cleaned
  • 1 Sml Turnip
  • Lemon Juice
  • Salt

Instructions
 

Make the jus

  • Roast the bones in the oven at 200c until the meat heavily browns.
  • Completely submerge the bones in water and add the other aromats, the onion, celery, carrot and peppercorns.
  • Reduce on a very low temperature for 5 hours, then strain the liquid into another pan and discard the solids.
  • Continue to reduce the stock on a low temperature until very little remains. It will thicken at this stage and be very sticky. Set aside for later.

Make the creamy polenta mash

  • Break the polenta down into small pieces and add it to a small saucepan.
  • Add enough milk to submerge the polenta and bring to a medium temperature.
  • Cook for a few minutes, stirring and further breaking down the polenta where possible.
  • Pour the contents into a blender and combine. Add more milk if necessary to loosen the mixture.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste, adding salt, lemon juice and mustard, then set aside until you’re ready to use it.
  • Fry off any pork trimmings you might have and add them to the polenta. (Optional)

Make the perfect pork crackling

  • Season the pork rind with salt and bake in the oven on 200c for 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Set 2 pieces aside and break another into small pieces.

Cook the pork sirloin

  • Season the pork sirloin with salt and optionally pepper and garlic powder.
  • Add a little oil to a pan and heat up to just above medium.
  • Hold the pork sirloins so that the fatty edge presses down against the pan. Render the fat this way for 3-4 minutes or until the fat starts to brown. I find it helpful to use something to hold them in place.
  • Quickly sear the other edge of the pork sirloins and then lay them down, cooking on this medium temperature for about 8 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 145c. You want the outside to be nice and brown without losing too much internal moisture.
  • Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

Garnishes

  • Dice the turnips into roughly chopped, small pieces of similar size, then simmer in a pan on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Slice the leeks and saute them off in the same pan you cooked the pork in. No need to season because the pan will have held the salty flavours from the pork.
  • Bring everything back to temperature and plate as shown.
Keyword crackling, creamy polenta, polenta, polenta mash, pork, pork crackling

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