The Naked Lion Brewing Company is based out of Memphis but for now, their products are actually brewed in La Crosse, Wisconsin. There's been a lot of local coverage on this beer. I grabbed a sixer of the Copper Flask at the grocery store and decided to give it a try. Despite the dark color, it is a lager and should be enjoyed cold and in a glass roughly similar to mine in the photo (or directly from the bottle--there's more variety in beer glasses than wine glasses, but at the end of a long day, it's not that important). Amazing flavors of molasses, cloves, and oranges. Savory and not bitter. More alcohol than you're used to in a draft of Bud Light, but you don't really taste it. I'm going to go ahead and call this early in the season: BEST BEER FOR THANKSGIVING. It's available at a few local haunts like the Flying Saucer and the Young Avenue Deli. I picked it up at the Schnuck's in Cordova. Go on, give it a try and support your local entrepreneurs!
Since I'm begging for fall weather and the attendant cuisine of the season, I decided to make a variation of an Argentine stew called carbonada criolla. One way of serving is to stew all the meat, fruits, and vegetables together and then serve it in a hollowed out pumpkin. I had a small pumpkin, and decided to braise a pork loin and use the vegetarian stew as a topping for the sliced meat. This mix combines flesh scraped from the inside of the pumpkin, fire roasted tomatoes, corn, caramelized shallots, and chopped nectarines. The pumpkin was roasted in a cake tin for thirty minutes by itself (with some salt and pepper inside), then filled, covered with the pumpkin lid, and roasted for another twenty minutes or so.
The pork loin was cooked in a blend of the Copper Flask beer and some chicken stock along with a few sprigs of rosemary and lavender from the kitchen garden. While I really loved this dish and found the mix of fruits and vegetables to be quite charming, my dinner companions were going back for seconds and thirds. It's amazing that the pork chop--so often miscooked into a dry and bland shingle--can seem like a special treat when cooked whole in loin form. Plus it's like a buck-fifty a pound. You don't have to break the bank to enjoy juicy, flavorful pork.