• Tommy Centola

Strawberries can be sweet and savory

Updated: Oct 25, 2019

Local strawberries are starting to make their rounds. Strawberries are so popular that there are numerous cities that claim to be the Strawberry capital of the world. In Louisiana, Pontchatoula claims that title. This year, they are having their annual festival April 13-15.

Locally, there are two cities that celebrate the strawberry. Cabot will celebrate their Strawberry Festival on April 25th. The city of Bald Knob celebrates the Strawberry Homefest May 10-12. If you love strawberries, make plans now to attend these celebrations of the sweet red fruit.

Today, I am sharing two strawberry recipes, one a non-traditional preparation, Strawberry-Glazed Pork Loin and one traditional recipe, Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream.

Most often, strawberries are used in desserts. Here is a great recipe with the strawberries used in a savory dish. This dish is a take on a recipe from chef John Folse, one of the leading authorities on Cajun and Creole cooking and culture.

Strawberry-Glazed Pork Loin

1 (3-5 pound) Pork Loin 2 tablespoons Onions, minced 1 tablespoon Celery, minced 2 tablespoons Strawberries, finely diced 2 tablespoons Green Onions, finely sliced Creole Seasoning to taste 1/2 cup Strawberry Syrup 1/4 cup Melted Butter 24 large fresh Strawberries 1 cup Onions, diced 1/2 cup Celery, diced 1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper, diced 2 cups Yams, diced 2 cups Beef Stock 1 sprig fresh Rosemary Dash of Hot Sauce

Preheat oven to 375℉.

In a large mixing bowl, combine two tablespoons minced onion, 1 tablespoon minced celery, two tablespoons diced strawberries, two tablespoons sliced green onions and Creole seasoning. Cut one-inch long slits in the pork loin and stuff with seasoning mixture. Drizzle strawberry syrup and melted butter over top of pork loin. Season to taste with Creole seasoning. Place loin in a large Dutch oven or roasting pan and surround with strawberries, remaining onions, celery, bell pepper, yams and beef stock. Season with rosemary and hot sauce. Cover roasting pan and bake one and a half hours. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice roast and surround with strawberry sauce and vegetables.

Everyone loves ice cream and nothing taste better that homemade strawberry ice cream. This recipe is from the magazine Louisiana Kitchen and Culture. Its founder, Susan Ford, is a friend of mine who has published a few of my recipes in her magazine and on her website. This is a great magazine for all of your Louisiana cooking needs. Pick up a copy. You will be glad you did.

Strawberry Ice Cream

2 cups Heavy Cream 1 cup Whole Milk 1 cup Sugar 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract 6 Egg Yolks 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt 1 pint Strawberries, hulled and sliced 1 tablespoon Sugar 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice Red Food Coloring, optional

Combine cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract in a heavy saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until milk steams and bubbles begin to appear around the edges; do not simmer. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks until they start to lighten in color, 2 to 3 minutes. While whisking, very slowly drizzle about 1 1/2 cups of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks to temper them; add tempered egg mixture to remaining cream. Cook, stirring gently, until the mixture coats the back of the spoon; the custard should be about 170℉. Add salt to taste; a few grains blooms the flavor. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to two days. ( If desired, strain the mixture.)

About 2 hours before you’re ready to freeze the ice cream, combine strawberries, sugar and lemon juice and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. If you want a smooth texture, place the strawberry mixture into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. For a chunkier ice cream, just pulse a few times in a blender.

Stir berry mixture into chilled custard, adding red food coloring if desired. Transfer to the bowl of an ice cream freezer and freeze according to directions. Once finished, serve at once for soft serve or transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.

Enjoy all the local strawberries while you can. They are far superior that the ones you find in the grocery stores the rest of the year.

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