Spicing up a dish with Scotch

With the holiday season fast approaching don't be afraid to experiment with flavours

BY CHEF DEZ

I am a Scotch drinker.

This is something I am quite proud of as I have invested a lot of money and time in sipping, tasting and savoring many different types of Scottish grain whisky.

With the holiday season fast approaching I am certain that I won’t be the only one celebrating the company of loved ones with a glass (or more) of this wonderful oak aged spirit.

Years ago, a recipe in my test kitchen was born when I discovered the intensely smoky single malt scotch called Laphroaig (pronounced La-froyg).

At the time, the peat smoke in this single malt was too overwhelming for me and my father-in-law, but over the years I have acquired a deep fondness for it. Back then however, we had this bottle of Laphroaig and because we didn’t feel up to drinking it, I decided to cook with it.

Pork was the ideal choice of meat as beef would be too overpowering.

I played with the flavours of the scotch by marrying them up with a combination of chicken stock, fresh lemon juice and the sweetness of honey to balance everything out. A bit of heavy cream added and reduced down makes for a perfect finishing syrupy touch.

Chicken would also be fine in this recipe, but because of salmonella bacteria in chicken, please make sure it is cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, or 71 degrees Celsius.

Now with the fondness of Laphroaig dear to my heart, and my taste buds, this has become my all-time favorite Scotch cooking recipe. I highly recommend Laphroaig for this recipe as its intense peat smoke comes shining through in the recipe whereas other milder scotches would be lost. Happy cooking!

If you are interested in joining me in Scotland next summer, please visit my web site.

Pork medallions in single malt pan sauce

From page 131 of Chef Dez’s new book The Best In Your Kitchen

Makes four portions (three medallions each). Live like the Scots Scotch is for cooking too!

1 lb. (500g) pork tenderloin(s)

2 tsp. canola oil

salt and pepper

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup peaty single malt scotch

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tbsp. liquid honey

1/4 cup whipping cream

1. Cut the tenderloin(s) into 12 equal sized medallions, approximately one half inch to three quarter inch thickness. Toss with the oil and season both sides with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat.

3. When the pan is hot, add the medallions and sear them for approximately two to three minutes on each side.

4. Add the chicken stock to the pan to deglaze (stir briefly to remove the browned bits off the pan into the sauce).

5. Add the Scotch carefully and ignite with a long match or lighter. Flambé until the flames subside. Remove the medallions and set them aside.

6. Add the lemon juice, honey and cream to the pan. Continue to boil until syrupy and desired sauce consistency. Remove from heat, lightly season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately poured over the reserved medallions.

Chef Dez is a chef, writer and host. Visit him at www.chefdez.com.

Write to him at dez@chefdez.com or P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, B.C. The postal code is V2T 6R4.