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  • Ben Ungermann - Beetroot Medallions and Pork Loin

    with Cauliflower Purée and Garlic Purée

    Serves 4


    Balsamic Beetroot Medallions

    220g beetroot, peeled

    80mls balsamic vinegar


    Garlic and Sage Pork Loin

    3 cloves garlic, minced

    5 sage leaves, finely chopped

    900g pork loin, trimmed and trimmings reserved

    Grape seed oil, for frying

    Skins from 3 garlic bulbs

    Skins from 4 onions

    3 fresh sage leaves

    1 tsp black sea salt

    2 tsp black peppercorns


    Beetroot and Pork Jus

    150g beetroot, quartered

    Reserved beetroot trimmings

    Reserved pork trimmings, thinly sliced

    50ml balsamic vinegar

    20g unsalted butter

    Pinch black pepper

    Sea salt, to season

    5 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

    2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

    Grape seed oil, for frying


    Dried Sage

    20 stems fresh sage leaves


    Charcoal Cauliflower and Garlic Puree

    320g cauliflower, broken into florets

    6 garlic cloves

    60g unsalted butter

    Black sea salt

    1/2 tsp charcoal powder

    1. Preheat oven to 180C.
    2. For the Balsamic Beetroot Medallions, cut each beetroot into 4 or 6 wedges, depending on the size, then use a pairing knife to trim them into shapes to mimic the rounded hot coals of a campfire. Reserve all trimmings for Beetroot and Pork Jus. 
    3. Fold a large sheet of foil in half 4 times to create a base. Add the beets and fold the corners of the foil up to contain beets. Add the balsamic vinegar, then wrap the parcel in foil 4 times to protect the beets from burning. Place the parcel on a wire rack over the open flame of a gas stovetop or barbecue and cook, rotating every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking, until beetroots are soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from flame and set the parcel aside to cool until needed.
    4. For the Garlic and Sage Pork, rub the pork loin with the garlic and sage and place onto a large sheet of cling film. Roll into a tight cylinder and secure the ends tightly. Place the pork into the fridge to chill for 40 minutes.
    5. Once pork has chilled, place a large frypan over high heat. Remove the pork from the fridge and unwrap from cling film. Add the grape seed oil to the hot pan then add the pork loin. Cook each side of the pork until caramelized and the inside is almost cooked through, about 4 – 5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and set aside, covered, to rest until needed.
    6. For the Ash Powder, combine all skins and sage leaves on to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place in the pre-heated oven until completely dry, about 15 minutes. Once dry, remove the skins and leaves from oven and place a small handful in each of 4 shallow heatproof bowls, which should be slightly larger than the serving bowls. Set aside until needed. 
    7. Place the remainder of the dried skins and leaves into a spice grinder, along with the peppercorns and salt and grind into a fine powder. Sieve the powder into a small bowl and set aside until needed.
    8. For the Beetroot and Pork Jus, juice beetroots and set juice aside until needed. Reserve the beetroot pulp.
    9. Heat a large fry pan over high heat. When hot add a little grape seed oil and the pork trimmings and cook until well browned. Deglaze the pan with a little water, scraping the base of pan. Add the beetroot juice and balsamic vinegar and simmer until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 4 – 5 minutes. Add sage and garlic and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes.
    10. Strain the contents of the pan through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan. Place the saucepan of strained jus over a medium heat and simmer gently to reduce to a sauce consistency. Once reduced, add the butter, remove from heat and whisk to emulsify. Season to taste and transfer to a serving jug. Set aside, keeping warm, until needed.
    11. For the Dried Sage, place the stems of sage leaves onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake in the pre-heated oven until dry, about 10 minutes. Once dehydrated, remove from oven and set aside on the tray to cool until needed.
    12. For the Cauliflower and Garlic Purée, cook cauliflower florets in boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and return the florets to the saucepan with the garlic and butter. Cook over a medium heat, stirring often, until garlic and cauliflower are well caramelised, but not burnt. Remove from heat and transfer the canister of a stick blender. Blitz with a stick blender to a smooth purée. Add charcoal and black sea salt, blitz well to combine then pass the purée through a fine sieve. Place purée in a small bowl and set aside, keeping warm, until needed.
    13. To serve, spread 1 – 2 tablespoons of the Cauliflower and Garlic Purée into the base of 4 shallow, heat proof serving bowls. Slice the rested pork loin into 2 cm slices and place 2 slices on the purée on each plate to build height in middle of bowl. Add Balsamic Beetroot Medallions on top of pork on each plate. Place 5 dried sage leaves on each plate, inserting stems between the pieces of pork and beetroot. Scatter Ash Powder over the top of each dish and drizzle over 2 – 3 tablespoons of Beetroot and Pork Jus.
    14. Using a blow torch, ignite the dried skins and leaves on the larger plates. Carefully place the smaller, assembled plates of pork and beetroot on top of each plate of dried skins to extinguish the flames and allow smoke to rise from the sides. Serve immediately while smoking.