Solomillo a la Pimienta

Lately, I’ve been missing Spain.  The best way to cope with nostalgia for another country, in my opinion, is go back!

Just joking, I don’t have the money for that.  So I turn to food instead.

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I brought some little packets of “cooking cream” home with me from Spain, in order to make one dish in particular: solomillo a la pimienta – pork loin with pepper sauce.  This recipe is super simple, with only six ingredients, but it packs a powerful, straightforward punch of flavor and a huge hit of memories for me.

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There’s a tiny  little tapas place in Seville, in Triana, on the corner of San Jacinto and Pages del Corro.  It’s called the Blanca Paloma, and it’s one of my favorite places in the world.

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The place with the red awnings.

I used to live two blocks away, and even though it was always packed and incredibly noisy in the way that only a tapas place covered in tile and full of people can be, it was a place of calm.  I had class Thursday and Friday  nights, then Saturday mornings for my Master’s program – six hours in a row.  Getting home at ten pm and getting my butt out of bed to leave at eight am and do it all over again on Saturday morning was harsh.  We’d have a group breakfast at the cafeteria at eleven, but I wouldn’t roll on home until four.  So after a half hour subway ride, and a fifteen minute speedwalk, my tumbly was rumbly.  Almost every week, I would get seduced by the aroma of the Blanca Paloma.

By then the worst of the lunch rush would be petering out, so I’d sidle up to the bar and have one tapa and one drink – caffeinated or alcoholic depending on my roommate drama or level of classroom stress.  Sometimes it would be the best croquetas in the world, and sometimes it would be the best pork dish in the city.

I’ve talked about Spanish pork dishes before, and it won’t be the last time, but I love how simple this one is.

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The real deal, snapped with my phone in October.

I got this recipe from the bartender in June.  My parents were visiting and I was weeks away from moving back to the US, and I hauled them and their friends into my favorite bars, so the Blanca Paloma was on that list.  When I first asked what the heck was in the sauce, I met a brick wall.  But then I rolled out the full breadth of my (actually true) sadness about moving away from the land of tapas because of economic crisis.  I explained how all the tapas places in the Pacific Northwest are all expensive high class places.  They looked at me, looked at each other at the word “crisis” (creesees) and nodded.

“No salt.  Chicken bouillon. And a dash of cognac.”  I was in.

Solomillo a la pimienta – Blanca Paloma

1 lb pork loin, cut thinly

1 c cream

1 Tbsp cornstarch

chicken bouillon, at least 2 Tbsp

freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp cognac

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In Spain, the cooking cream is thicker than our cream.  You’ll need to use cornstarch or your other favorite thickener to get the right texture.

In a small sauce pan, heat the cream (not to boiling!), then stir in the cognac.  Add bouillon little by little, until it is to the salt level that you want it.  It should be around 2 Tbsp, but this is entirely a matter of taste.  Crack in a generous amount of pepper, around a Tbsp (you seeing a theme, here?), but again this ultimately a matter of taste.  Stir in the cornstarch and heat until thickens.

In a frying pan, with a little bit of olive oil to lubricate things up, quick fry the slices of pork loin on medium high heat.  Pour the sauce over the top of your pork loin and revel in how good it is.  Best with roasted potatoes!

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Hey, I'm Desa. I've been bouncing between the Pacific Northwest and Sevilla, Spain in the last few years and from tiny apartment to tiny apartment. I cook mainly for one, which means some potentially boring meals, but here I'll be sharing the food that excites me. Feel free to offer suggestions, commiseration, or desires. And thanks for coming by!


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