One of Lerato Zondi’s goals in life is to not only challenge South Africans to be more open minded to different food from around the world, but more importantly to introduce the world to South African food and flavours. The 25-year-old chef, who graduated from Capsicum Culinary Studio in 2014 and lives in Thornton, Cape Town, runs her own company called Otarel eats, catering for events big and small and making bespoke cakes to fit any occasion.  Here is a delicious recipe for Pork Fillets with Orange and Star Anise Sweet Potato from the talented chef:

Pork Fillets with Orange and Star Anise Sweet Potato

250g pork fillet cut in half
2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp crushed chilli
½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp crushed black pepper
20ml olive oil
20ml butter

  • Pre-heat oven to 180ºC. Mix all the spices with half the olive oil.
  • Pat the fillets dry and spread over the spice blend. Marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  • In a pan bring the rest of the oil to a medium heat ensuring the pan is hot before searing the pork fillets until both sides are brown.
  • Sear one side a little longer to form a crust.
  • Add a spoon of butter and baste before putting the fillets in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Remove, baste again and set aside to rest.

For the Sweet Potato

250g sweet potato, chopped into pieces
Juice and peel of one orange
2 star anise
1 tbs honey
30g salted butter
60ml cream
250ml water
20ml oil
Salt and pepper to taste
⅛ onion

  • Chop the sweet potato and slice the onion.
  • Sautee sweet potato and onion in the oil with salt and pepper.
  • Add boiling hot water, orange peels and star anise.
  • Once tender add the cream, butter and the juice of the orange and simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Take out the star anise and orange peels.
  • Blend and pass through a sieve.

For the Pickled Carrots, pearl onion and Tender Stem Broccoli

250g baby carrots
250g tender stem broccoli
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup water
60g sugar
1 cardamom pod

  • Blanch carrots and tender stem in salted water.
  • Drain and set aside.
  • Add vinegar, water, sugar and cardamom pod to a pot and bring to a boil before pouring over blanched vegetables.

Garnish

Crispy vegetable chips from your local shop

For the Red Wine Sauce

250ml beef stock
120ml red wine
4 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of sugar
25ml of cold diced butter
5ml mustard

  • Deglaze the pork pan by adding red wine and beef stock and heat until liquid is reduced by half.
  • Add thyme, chopped garlic, sugar and mustard and simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the butter.
  • This will thicken the sauce.
  • Add salt and pepper if you desire but there should be flavor from the pork seasoning in the pan.

To assemble:  Using a tablespoon, spoon the puree just off centre of the plate and drag along to form a smear. Add a little sauce in the middle of the plate and place pork on top. Do not hide the vegetables or group them in one area of the plate but use a zig zag pattern (see picture) to create a nice pattern. Add the pickled onions and crispy vegetables last.

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