Birch Tender Pork
Marinated with flavours from the woods, this tender pork filet is a tasty tribute to our roots.
Trees and forests have always been inspiring to me, and discovering boreal and bushfood has really stirred me up with new branches of delicious ideas. I started to experiment cooking with indigenous ingredients to create some Canadian and Australian fusion cuisine recipes when I moved from Québec to the Snowy Valleys region of New South Wales. On every trip I make to visit family, I bring back some maple syrup cans and some other products from home that I cannot find downunder. This is when I found some pure white birch syrup and I was amazed by this as I had never tasted it before. The unique taste reminds me of molasse a little, but it is less sweet, richer in flavour and lighter in texture. Birch syrup is a dark condiment that can be used like pure maple syrup for marinades, dressings and desserts but in smaller quantities. It is cultivated with a similar method to maple, but is more difficult as it takes more sap to produce syrup. This is why it is more expensive and I could only find the little bottles in Québec’s fine terroir (local produce) food shops. There are many native varieties of wild spices coming from the Australian “bush” (iconic term used here for forest or woods and also for agricultural areas). I’m not an expert in bush tucker*, but as an enthusiast foodie, I’m enjoying experimenting with natural flavours and I’ve found that saltbush, a versatile salty herb, combines greatly with this recipe. Pork tenderloin is very easy to cook and is a lean cut. It can be roasted in the oven or on the “barbie”(BBQ). The pork filets, often called medallions when sliced, are so tender, especially when marinated and cooked just right. But beware, if over cooked, not only will it look like a burnt log, it could also feel like one!
*Traditional Indigenous Australian bushfood made with native flora or fauna.
White birch syrup, a Canadian tasty gem • © Bottle and Brush Studio 2019
Pork tenderloin filet (about 500 to 600g)
1 tsp birch syrup (or 2 tsp maple syrup)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
100 ml olive oil
1 tsp saltbush* + a pinch to sprinkle when serving
Pinch of pepper
*Saltbush (found in a bushfood shop online), is a salty herbal flavouring but can be substituted with any dried herbs and pinch of salt or an herbal salt blend if you cannot find this produce where you are.
PREPARATION: Marinade the filet for 2-3 hours in the fridge.
When ready to cook, brown the pork on every side in a pan.
Roast in oven at 200C for about 20 minutes (per 500g) or on the BBQ, cook on the grill about 20 minutes at medium.
Let sit covered with foil for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Cut slices to serve.