Wine Cooked Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes

The slow cooker is not to be under rated.  Making the main dish in the slow cooker allows for time to make sides, such as a soup and dessert for a complete gourmet meal.  I have a recipe from a good friend of mine that involves baking pork chops in white wine and chicken broth, the flavor in that dish is something I really love this time of year.  I used some of the basics from that dish to make this crock pot meal.

2013-09-22 19.29.27

Ingredients:

– 2 lbs of pork tenderloin

– 4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin

– 1 tsp red pepper flakes

– 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, center stem removed

– 1 Tbsp butter

– 1 sprigs fresh thyme, whole

– 3/4 cup of white wine (I used a bottle of Chardonnay, which I don’t traditionally like for drinking but it works magic in this dish)

– 1 1/2 cups chicken broth

– 1 red onion, sliced into rings

– 2-3 large sweet potatoes

– Salt and pepper to taste

2013-09-22 14.00.08

Directions:

1. In a large skillet on medium heat, melt butter.  Add garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes  stirring until fragrant.

2. Add pork tenderloin to skillet and brown on all sides.

3. Line the bottom of the crock pot with half of the onion rings, place pork with all of the pieces of garlic, thyme, and pepper flakes on top and fill in the edges of the pot with potatoes.

2013-09-22 14.15.18

4. Top with the rest of the onion and thyme sprigs and pour in the wine and broth.

5. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

2013-09-22 19.13.57

The smell of this cooking was out of this world, something about cooking with wine perhaps.  The pork did not get a chance to rest, as when I pulled it out of the pot it was falling apart, so the moisture escaped to a degree.  I also cooked it for 6 hours, I think it would have been better to stop cooking at 4 hours.  Pour the extra juice from the pot over the pork when serving, if you are feeling ambitious you can make a gravy.  It was also spectacular tossed in with the “Curry Butternut Squash Soup”, the flavors compliment each other well.

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Stir-Fry Stuffed Acorn Squash

Today was the ideal fall day, despite the fact that it is technically still summer.  The air was crisp and cool but in the sun you melt to a comfortable temperature.  This dinner took a little advanced planning and did require a bit of chopping, but worth the efforts.  Anytime I can convince my husband to eat a dinner (and go back for seconds) that is primarily vegetables and lean meat without dairy, grains, or processed foods it is win.  This dinner sort of came together as I was making it, trying to utilize the vegetables in my refrigerator that needed eaten.  This is my best recap of what happened.

2013-09-16 19.30.12Ingredients:

– 2 acorn squash

– 2-3 boneless pork chops ( you can use pork shoulder, pork loin…even chicken or beef), cut into bite-sized pieces

– 5 carrots, peeled and sliced in thin strips

– 5 stalks of celery, sliced

– 3/4 cup of shiitake mushrooms, stem removed and sliced

– 3 Hungarian peppers (I had some red and some yellow), thinly sliced in rings

– 1 1/2 heaping Tbsp of minced fresh garlic, plus 1 tsp for marinade

– 1/2 tsp ginger powder

– 1 bay leaf

– 1/3 cup soy sauce

– 1 1/2 heaping Tbsp of minced fresh ginger

– Infused olive oil (infused with dried chili peppers, garlic, and black peppercorn)

– salt and pepper

– 1-2 dashes of red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. 12-24 hours in advance put the pork in a marinade: 1/3 cup of soy sauce, 1 Tbsp infused olive oil, 1 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp ginger powder, 1 bay leaf.   I marinated the meat in a quart sized zip lock bag so I could remix easily a few times over the course of the day.

2. Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds, then cut into wedges 5-6 per half.  To make the squash easier to cut, I poke holes into it and put in the microwave for 5 minutes to soften it up.

3. Spray the wedges with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, place on pan cut side down and roast at 450 for 15 minutes before flipping and cooking for an additional 15 minutes.

2013-09-16 18.48.43

4. While the squash is roasting get to work chopping the garlic, ginger, peppers, carrots, celery, and mushrooms.

5. In a hot skillet over medium heat add some infused oil to coat the bottom of the skillet and saute the fresh minced garlic and ginger (make sure the pan is not too hot like mine was on the first round, it will instantly burn the garlic and ginger).  You want a light brown with good fragrance before adding the sliced Hungarian peppers.  Cook until the peppers get a little soft, about 5 minutes mixing constantly.

6. Remove the peppers from the pan leaving behind some oil and garlic/ginger as able.  Add more infused olive oil as needed to coat the pan then add the pork, cook until nearly fully cooked.

7. Add the peppers back to the pan when the meat has just a few minutes left to cook, stir together and let cook for 2-3 minutes.

2013-09-16 19.09.28

8. Remove the peppers and meat from the pan and set aside.  Add more oil to thickly coat the bottom of the pan and saute the rest of the vegetables.  I sprinkled a few dashes of garlic powder and red pepper flakes in with the vegetables.  Depending on how thin you were able to cut your carrots, they will be the longest vegetable to cook.  I covered the vegetables for part of the cooking process to speed the cooking of the carrots.

9. When the vegetables are nearly finished cooking, add the peppers and meat back to the dish.  Stir well, cover, and let cook on medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes to finish cooking and fuse the flavors.

10. Plate with the squash so it can be eaten in place of rice with the stir-fry.

I think in future I would add the mushrooms at the same time as the Hungarian peppers to have more of the mushroom flavor enhance the meal.  Otherwise I was pretty happy with the way these vegetables worked together to make the meal full of flavor without any one ingredient overwhelming the dish.

 

Ginger Glazed Pork

It was feeling a little crisp in the air, so I decided it was time for a “fall” meal.  Obviously I turned to pork and root vegetables, standard.  For the pork I searched around for a recipe that I have used in the past that I got from a friend.  It was something to do with maple syrup, shallots, and mustard, but I couldn’t find it.  I ended up using a recipe I found on the food network site and loosely following it.

2013-09-05 20.10.42-2

Ingredients:

-4 to 6 pork loins about 1 inch thick

-1 heaping Tbsp fresh grated ginger

-2 garlic cloves, minced

-1/2 cup maple syrup

-2 Tbsp mustard

-salt and pepper

-olive oil

Directions:

1. Start by seasoning the pork with salt and pepper, generously.  Try to do this about 30 minutes before you want to put it on to cook.  If it’s closer to room temperature it helps it to cook more evenly (or so says the internet) and not get a ring around the edges (like mine).

2. Heat a large skillet and add olive oil to the bottom to coat the pan.  When it’s nice and hot with little waves in the oil, sear the pork on both sides for 3-4 minutes.  I wasn’t sure if this was the exact amount of time, but you want it to sear and start cooking without being totally done.   Remove and set on a clean plate.

3.  In the hot skillet add more olive oil if necessary to coat the bottom of the pan, then add the garlic and ginger.  Let this cook for 2-3  minutes before adding the maple syrup and mustard.  Stir for about 2-3 minutes before adding the pork back to the pan to simmer for 5-6 minutes, flipping once.

I was having issues with splattering oil and maple syrup, so I put a lid partially over the skillet…this may have interfered with the thickening of the sauce, so I had to cook it a little longer to thicken up.

2013-09-05 20.05.49

For the final plating I used some of the left-over coleslaw from BBQ night and made bacon roasted cauliflower and beets (recipe to come).  I think in the future I will try to marinade the pork in some kind of ginger and and white wine concoction to infuse a little more flavor to the center of the meat, but the glaze makes a nice coating of flavor.

Herb-Rubbed Pork

Making protein during the week is either a well thought out and planned process or a last minute speed-thawing session.  A go-to for me is Lawry’s seasoning salt or Famous Dave’s Rib Rub, but these have a big flavor and can overpower the rest of the meal easily.  Tonight, to go with the rich but soft truffle-oil brussel sprouts (see side dishes section) I wanted a softer flavor to match.  My mother-in-law got me a packet of Herbs de Provence earlier this year that smell amazing, the problem is that I don’t really know what to do with it.  I have used it on meat in the past and did not salt enough, so I thought I would give them another try tonight.

Once the pork pieces thawed out I seasoned them generously with salt, then lightly with pepper, and a medium sprinkle of garlic powder.  Then I put the herbs de Provence on and patted the pork down.

2013-08-29 19.59.16Pre-cooked, post-rub.

Grilling time is a tricky situation in our house.  My husband has slowly become the primary griller, however he needs close adult supervision.   In an effort to not under-cook the pork we left it on a minute or two too long.  It wasn’t totally dried out…but not juicy either.  We cooked it for 9 minutes on each side, probably would have been done around 7-8 minutes on each side.

2013-08-29 20.31.51The final meal was the herb-rubbed pork, truffle-oil brussel sprouts, and a chilled summer tomato and cucumber salad.

             2013-08-29 20.40.44               2013-08-29 20.36.49