Sunday, June 24, 2012

Roasted Pork with Agave Grape Sauce

Having enjoyed grapes in chutney, salad, and salsa, I wanted to try one more recipe, this time with the grapes pureed into a rich sauce.  Red grapes are your best bet; green ones will work, but you won't wind up with as rich or pretty a final product.

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped seedless red grapes
  • 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce*
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • Dash of five-spice powder
  • 12 ounces Match pork, thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1. To prepare the sauce, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallots and garlic; saute for 3 minutes.  Add the grapes, soy sauce, agave, ginger, and five-spice powder.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a blender and process until smooth.  Set aside.

2. To prepare the pork, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the pork evenly with the salt and black pepper and add to the pan.  Cook for 5 minutes, turning over halfway through.

3. Transfer the pork to the oven and bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes, turning over halfway through.  Cut into slices and serve with the grape sauce.

Excellent summer side dishes to pair with this dish include couscous and simple asparagus with feta: arrange 1 pound trimmed asparagus in an 11x7-inch baking dish.  Top with 1/4 cup crumbled vegan feta (such as Veg Cuisine), 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme.  Place in the oven while you bake the pork, at 450 degrees for 12 minutes.

If you take one look at the fact that this recipe needs a 450 degree oven and decide to make it in the fall or winter instead, try roasted red onion and mashed sweet potato on the side.

*Tamari soy sauce is richer and thicker than regular soy sauce, which is why I've called for it here.  I've had several waiters in Japanese restaurants tell me that I can't have tamari soy sauce, upon learning I'm vegan. This comment has always perplexed me since I can find no reason in my online research why it is unsuitable for a vegan diet.  Certainly, looking at the ingredient list from a trusted company like Eden Foods, it seems safe to me.  If anyone has more light to shed on the matter, please do let me know in the comments, and in which case, substitute regular soy sauce instead.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (3 ounces pork, 1/4 cup sauce), Calories 263 

Tasting Notes:
The moment I plated this dish, it looked like the classic pork-and-applesauce duo.  One bite of the grape sauce, though, and it puts any applesauce to shame - of a similar consistency and silkiness, but with an amazing savory touch from the soy sauce, and just the right hint of sweetness from the agave.  Complex and delicious, not just over the pork, but also spooned into the couscous I served on the side.  I'd play up the grape flavor more next time, in which case this would easily shift into "4" or "5" territory in my rating system.



  1. that REALLY looks like meat. crazy!

    i got a jar of rawtella. spoon was clinking the bottom in less than a week. yummmm. thanks for introducing me to it.

  2. I know! Have you tried Match? It almost creeped me out too much the first few times I worked with it, but my meat-eating husband confirmed that it's not real - phew! Now I love it, and it's very easy to work with.

  3. i've never even heard of match. it is kinda creepy but i'm down for trying it if i can find some.