Just like when you develop a dish, creating sauces is a trial and error process. There are many benefits to this process, with excellent dinners for you and your family being the most common outcome. Many times, in the trial and error portion, the changes that are made can lead to the creation of something that truly exceeds your expectations. This is a plate that I created while working on a recipe for a good sauce to have with pork, which would later become my Sauce Robert. The plate consists of roast pork loin, toasted Israeli couscous, pickled sweet peppers, apple puree, pea sprout micro salad and an apple cider and onion jus.
My original idea was to have a caramelized onion based sauce, that would create a nice sweetness to balance the roast pork. It wasn’t until this version of the sauce (which I believe was my third attempt) that I thought about adding the apple cider. This is a great example of how, when you as a cook look at all of the ingredients available to you and can expand away from set recipes, you can have a lot of fun in the kitchen. I usually start the sauce for dinner first, since this will take the longest. And since I was going to add the apple cider into the sauce, I went with an apple theme while composing the rest of plate.
I had decided to make the couscous a touch spicy, adding some chili powder & cumin, to help off set the sweetness from the sauce and pickled peppers. The couscous was also cooked al-dente, leaving just a bite of texture balance the smoothness of the apple puree and the tenderness of the roast pork. This was my thought process that incorporates the flavor profile, texture and composure of the plate, all before I had started the cooking. I have a vision of what the dinner is going to look and taste like. As I am cooking during the development, I allow myself some freedom to stray away from my original thoughts, as is with the sauce part of this.
Adding the apple cider was a very rewarding decision, having that really play well off of any type of pork. These are the moments of research that I look forward to most. It’s a blank canvas for which I am going to paint whatever I want. As I move forward with the painting, starting to become satisfied with the results, I become that much more motivated to finish. This discovery of adding the apples to the already flavorful demi-glace made me one step closer to having the Sauce Robert. Experimenting and being creative is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a chef. So the next time you are in the kitchen, let the hair down a little and have yourself some fun. You never know what can be the next family hit unless you give it a try.