Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sweet potato, rosemary and pancetta waffles, rosemary roasted pork tenderloin and a maple mustard sauce

So waffles eh? That seems to be a trend I am hearing about in the last few days. First Kerrie tells me about a conversation she had with her mom about falafel waffles and brownie waffles, the Cooking Channel Blog is all about waffles,  a couple weeks back I was thinking about Alton Browns Sweet Potato Waffles, and just last week my favorite local bar had fried chicken on special which led to a chicken and waffles discussion.

It seemed waffles and I were heading for a collision course.I just had to figure out where we were going to collide.

I decided to give sweet potato waffles a try but I wanted to go full on savory rather than attempting to make breakfast waffles with a twist. I have a fantastic waffle recipe that I love and don't really need to mess with (no it isn't posted yet, yes I will get around to it.)

I looked over Alton's recipe and started formulating some ideas, then I found this recipe on a blog called Food With Legs

I must say the author did most of my thinking for me on the waffles. I really only made one change and that was baking the sweet potatoes instead of steaming. Roasting the requisite garlic at the same time just makes sense. I think baking them brings an additional layer of flavor that you don't get from steaming.

One other note of caution about the recipe. It calls for 6 beaten egg whites about midway through the instructions but does not show them in the ingredient list. Just be sure you have them on hand.

The end result was delicious. The rosemary, sweet potatoes and garlic really played off of each other. Contrary to the authors opinion I think the pancetta was a bit too mild and got lost in the mix. It was a nice crunchy textural element but I think a little smokiness would have been welcome. I may try it again with sliced pancetta instead of cubed.

Now of course the next step was what to serve with it. I have to make a confession, I have never made fried chicken. I love fried chicken and I seek it out wherever I can. I just have never gotten around to making it myself.  It shames me. I would have tried to make it tonight but it just seemed like too much, and too much fat. So I started thinking of alternatives and I remembered this maple mustard pork chop recipe I made once upon a time and a recipe was born. Instead of chicken and maple syrup I would make roasted pork tenderloin with the maple mustard bbq suace.

The sauce comes from an often used cookbook called BBQ USA: 425 Fiery Recipes from All Across America. Every recipe I have tried has been a winner. You will need

1 Tbsp Butter
2 slices bacon cut into 1/4 inch slivers (replaced with pancetta today)
1 small onion finely chopped ( about 3/4 cup)
1 clove garlic minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3/4 cup maple syrup (grade b if you can find it)
6 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
kosher salt and black pepper to taste.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion garlic and bacon. Saute until the bacon is crispy then add the tomato paste. Stir for a minute or two then add the mustard, syrup and vinegar. Bring to a boil then reduce hit to low and simmer 10- 12 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste. You can serve it hot or at room temp

Since I was using it as maple syrup I just drizzled it on the waffles at room temp.

The pork tenderloin was pretty simple, I had a couple of big flavors going already so I just wanted to the pork to taste like pork. I coated it in a little olive oil, salt and pepper, I jammed a branch of rosemary in each end then seared it on all sides. 2 minutes a side or so. Then I put it into a 375 degree oven and baked it until it hit a temp of 150.

Slice up the pork, lay it on a waffle and drizzle with the sauce. It was a great combination of savory and sweet. If you love chicken and waffles then you really should try this. If chicken and waffles has always sounded crazy then try this and you may reconsider.

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