November 2nd, 2009

A Simple Autumn Supper

hero overshot pork

Now is the ideal time for these good things: pork and sage and honey poached pears and roasted sweet potatoes.

Have you ever grown sweet potatoes?

Earlier this summer, I found one abandoned in the back of my pantry that had sprouted and thought I might try my hand at it.

Following some instruction I found online, I submerged my forsaken one in a bowl of water. After a couple of days, the sprouts leafed out and had the makings of vines. I carefully snapped off these baby vines, (called “slips”) and placed them into a water-filled jar to root.

Again, growing quickly, threadlike roots formed, making 5 individual sweet potato plants. Over the 4th of July holiday, I moved them into their new home at The Hooper Garden. They grew vigorously, suffering only one setback of bunny munching, a tangle of vines competing for space with the wiley watermelon.

Last week a tinge of frost blackened many of the leaves, alerting me that it was time to harvest.

swwet potato basket 2

It became a treasure hunt; I had no idea how these tubers grow, nor how deep! So, I began my cautious dig for these buried treasures, (thinking about the truffle seekers!) following the viney trail and its vast underground network of roots. What a wonder–there were lots of them, some GIGANTIC, some regular, some baby sized.

Nature offers some pretty incredible returns—here’s the math:
One sprouted tuber produced Five plants produced Twenty-five sweet potatoes. Impressive.

Looks like I’ll be making lots of sweet potato treats!

For my initial use, I wanted to make it a part of a simple autumn supper.

I generally don’t eat much pork, but I had a piece of boneless loin, a thick medallion that I had gotten from West Wind Farms. It seemed a natural to companion it with roasted sweet potato slices and my honey-poached pears. The sage plant on my front steps is flourishing, another cool weather cuisine associate, which I like to place directly onto the pork and sauté. Crispy sage leaves are delicious.

pork-pear ingredients

This entire meal takes about thirty minutes to put together. Roasting discs of sweet potatoes couldn’t be simpler—just lay them out on a baking pan, brush with a little olive oil, dust with salt and pepper, and roast for about 20 minutes in a hot oven, say 425 degrees.

roasted sweet potato chips

True, these are odd shaped. I had to cut away a blemish or two.

While the sweet potatoes roast, you can pan-fry the pork. After I rinse off the meat and pat it dry, I rub it with olive oil. Then, I place the sage leaves directly onto the meat, salt and pepper it, and then dust it in flour.

I heat some more olive oil with a little butter in a skillet. When that is heated, butter bubbly, put in the pork. I cook it about 7 minutes a side, let it brown, then flip and repeat. After it’s cooked, I deglaze the pan with some water, stirring the cooked-on bits. The small residue of flour will help this to slightly thicken.

in the skillet

Remember those honey-poached pears? Gently warm those on the stovetop.

Now, to assemble your plate:
Start with the sweet potato discs as your base.
Place the cooked pork medallion on top.
Spoon over the warmed pears.
Drizzle with your deglazed brown sauce.
Garnish with fresh sage.

sideview closeup pork

And enjoy!

a good dinner

Posted in Meats/Poultry, Recipes

11 Responses to “A Simple Autumn Supper”
  1. Ben Frank from I Ate That! Says:

    oh my god. this sounds amazing!!!

  2. zoe Says:

    Looks fabulous!

  3. Judy Says:

    This will be on my dinner table tonight. Congratulations on your success with the sweet potatoes; that is truely impressive.

  4. Maggie Says:

    Nance, I love the recipe, but I’m more impressed with the sweet potato harvest – marvelous!!!!

  5. smedvig Says:

    HoliCow what an idea

    you are the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Renee Says:

    I’m making this when I get back!

  7. Fresh Local and Best Says:


    I am so impressed with your story and the proliferation of tubers! I once started a sweet potato plant by covering the tuber with sand halfway, and it began to sprout! I have no idea how well the vines grew as I moved away before the plant matured, but I remember how thrilled I was when I found the tuber sprouting. Also, I think the vines are beautiful, and worth growing for that alone.

    Still very impressed,


  8. rachel Says:

    What a wonderful sounding meal.
    I like the odd shaped sweet potatoes, perfectly imperfect…and you grew them yourself.

  9. Katarina Says:

    I just made this dish and gobbled it up! A wonderfully complimentary dish! Can’t wait to do it again- Thank-you!

  10. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Katarina–
    Thanks for letting me know! Glad that you had success and enjoyed it–

  11. claudia @ ceF Says:

    EVERYTHING about this post turns me on.

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