Cinnamon Pineapple Pork With Kale Bubble & Squeak

This is an unusual dish, based on a recipe by Peggy Trowbridge Filiponne and modified by me. An orange-coloured sweet and sour sauce is made without orange ingredients by combining yellow pineapple with red capsicum, ginger, cinnamon and chilli. It's not the most obvious group of ingredients, but they produce a surprising result.

Ingredients (2-4 portions)

For the meat:
4 pork medallions
1 tsp course salt*
vegetable oil

For the sauce:
1 medium red bell pepper (capsicum)
1 small pineapple (or 1 large tin of pineapple chunks in natural juice)
1 piece of ginger
1-2 red chillies**
1 quill of Sri Lankan cinnamon (other cinnamon could be used)
1/2 cup of white wine
black pepper
vegetable oil

For the bubble & squeak:
1/2 kilo potatoes (Marris Piper or other dry mashing potato)
1/4 kilo Russian kale (other kale could be used)
1/2 red chilli
1/2 small onion
1 clove garlic

* Sea salt, kosher salt, etc.
**1 hot chilli or 2 of a less hot variety. Type and quantity will depend on your tolerance to chilli.


Start this meal by preparing the potato for the bubble & squeak, which will be chilled and then fried at the last moment.

Peel the potatoes and put them on to boil.

This photo and the picture of the kale below show twice the quantities required for the recipe, as extra bubble & squeak was made for a subsequent meal.

The kale does not need to be cooked yet as it will require only a minute or two in boiling water. Prepare it by thoroughly washing and removing the stalks by hand, setting aside the clean vegetable leaves.

When the potatoes are boiled, drain thoroughly, heat for a minute or two over a flame and mash, adding a little butter. The objective is to achieve a relatively stiff and smooth potato mash. Add a little milk if necessary, but do not allow the mash to become soft.
Now prepare the pork medallions.

Even meat that has been prepared by a butcher will probably have a little residual fat and this should be removed carefully with a sharp knife.

You could also use a piece of pork tenderloin for this dish, slicing the meat into steaks no more than 1cm thick.

Cover the meat and set it aside.
Now prepare the pineapple.

Top and tail the fruit, remove the skin and dice into 1-2 cm cubes.
Next, prepare the red bell pepper.

Remove the core and seeds.

Cut and separate about 1/4 of the pepper, roughly dice it and set it aside. We will use this later in the bubble & squeak dish.

Cut the rest of the pepper into julienne strips.
By this point the potatoes should be nearly cooked and it is time to cook the kale.

Boil some water in a pan and plunge the leaves into the water for a couple of minutes. Remove and taste to check that it is properly cooked. It should retain texture but not be too chewy.
Now finely chop the chilli, ginger and garlic and finely slice the onion.

In this photograph I've chopped the ginger first, but it is a good idea to leave this until last as chopped ginger quickly oxidises and turns a dark grey-brown colour. For the same reason, leave the onion until the last minute as well.

Separate a little of the chopped chilli for the bubble & squeak dish.
Grind the cinnamon to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle and then pass through a fine sieve. You should end up with about 1 tsp of powdered cinnamon.
We are now going to prepare the remaining ingredients for the bubble & squeak and start cooking the cinnamon pineapple sauce at the same time.

Heat a little vegetable oil with a small knob of butter in a pan and add the sliced onion, finely chopped garlic and rough chopped red pepper. Add salt and pepper and sweat over a low heat until the onion is cooked but not browned. You are aiming to cook this mixture but leave some crunchy texture rather than allow it all to go soft and mushy.
Now add some vegetable oil and a small knob of butter to a pan and sweat down the julienne of capsicum. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Now add the diced pineapple, the chilli, ginger, cinnamon and some of the white wine and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
While the sauce is cooking, prepare the bubble & squeak.

Turn the cooked kale into the pan with the onion, garlic, capsicum and chilli and fold together over a low flame until well mixed.

Then remove from the flame and allow to cool, before mixing in the cooled mashed potato. Fold together until well mixed and set aside to cool further.
After 10 minutes of cooking the sauce, the pineapple chunks should be softening. At this point transfer the entire sauce mix to a blender and purée the mix, returning it to the pan to continue cooking.

Repeat the exercise if there are still chunks of pineapple remaining.
Return the sauce to a pan to bring back up to temperature, taste and adjusting seasoning as required.

At this point the sauce should be a golden orange colour, as shown in the photograph. You need to be very careful not to allow the sauce to reduce too much, because this may result in some of the water content separating from the mass of the sauce once on the plate.
Now it is time to cook the bubble & squeak and the pork medallions. Neither of these require more than a few minutes to cook. Heat a little vegetable oil in a pan until it just starts to smoke.

For the best presentational results, use a ring on a small tray or plate and pack the cold bubble mixture into it by hand. Now lift the ring and contents with a flat knife and transfer to the pan. Remove the pan from the flame for a moment before removing the ring, to avoid the risk of burning yourself.

Repeat until all of the bubble and squeak is frying and remove when cooked in the same order. You shouldn't try to cook more than three or four in any given pan/skillet, as this will bring the temperature down too drastically and prevent you from achieving a golden colour in the final product.
Heat some oil in another pan and, when hot, place the seasoned medallions into the pan. Cook for two minutes on each side and then add the pineapple, capsicum and cinnamon sauce. This is effectively a braising method, but a quick braise rather to finish the cooking than a slow tenderising process.

No matter how experienced you are, with pork it's always sensible to check that the juices are running clear by cutting into the thickest part of the meat. If the juices are still pinkish, simply leave the medallions in for another minute or two.

When cooked, remove from the sauce and leave to rest on a plate for 2-3 minutes for the meat fibres to relax.

You might want to take this opportunity to pour yourself a glass of vino.
Here I've simply sliced the medallion into two for presentation purposes for a photo, but it's not really necessary for home cooking.

As you can see from my photo, my lack of concentration due to my genetic inability to multi-task (cooking and talking on the phone) lead to my sauce reducing too much.

It's clearly visible that my sauce had separated during the delay between plating, photographing and eating. So a valuable lesson has been learned here, leave the multi-tasking to the professionals...