Saturday, March 19, 2011

Meat and Potatoes

I've never cooked a pork tenderloin before. I don't even know that I've eaten one before. I don't think my mom ever made it when I was growing up, and it's not the sort of thing I would select off a menu. "Oooh, grilled pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes." It doesn't really get me going. I guess it sounds rather boring, just plain meat and potatoes.

I'm in the process of discovering all that is great about pork. (We already know my fondness for bacon.) But there's something about pork that lends itself to pairing with sweet things, like apples or honey. It's a sultry flavor that isn't quite savory or salty, like a steak or hamburger, but is just loaded with this great fat that lends itself so well to being smoked or cured or ground up into sausage. Except the tenderloin. It's a piece of meat that has no fat in it. There's fat all around it, of course, and some residual flecks make it onto a fabricated piece, but it's just this great soft piece of muscle.

I practiced removing the silverskin on this tenderloin from Wohlner's and didn't mangle the meat as much as I had the first time, though it's by no means an A effort. I followed Ina Garten's instructions for a marinade and then made an integral sauce at the end of the cooking. My sauce class turned out to be fairly handy in the end as I now know some really fancy tricks. Not bad at all for a first effort if I do say so. The green beans and fingerling potatoes are another easy trick I learned from Culinary Foundations. I partially cooked the beans and the potatoes in boiling water and then blanched them with really cold water to halt the cooking process. Then I sliced the potatoes and lightly salted them and sauteed them right before service to get a golden-brown sear on them and to get them all good and hot right before dinner. So simple, but that's what makes it so good.
Herb-marinated Pork Tenderloin: from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
3 pork tenderloins
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
1/2 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

For sauce:
1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons cold butter

Place all the ingredients in an oven bag or large ziplock and let rest for three hours or overnight. Season the tenderloins with salt and pepper and cook in a very large saute pan with the lid on until the outside is seared and the inside is just cooked and reaches about 140 degrees. Remove the tenderloins and let rest for 10 minutes cover by aluminum foil.

Leaving the good bits of marinade and pork in the pan, deglaze the sucs with the vinegar. Add the mustard, stock and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce in volume until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Mount with pieces of the cold butter and season with salt and pepper.

1 comment:

Jess said...

thanks for divulging your secrets - I love that tip about the potatoes and green beans!