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More Porchetta

dsc_2156-1600x1200The other half of that pork belly I bought back from Behrmann’s.  I bought an additional small tenderloin to wrap up inside.  I butterflied it and pounded it flat and gave it a smear of  the same rub as I used the last time:  Rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic, fennel fronds, toasted black peppercorns and fennel seeds all processed into a paste with a little olive oil.dsc_2154-1600x1200I did the rub on the meat side and a salt/baking soda rub on the skin side and left it to dry in the fridge, skin side up, for 2 days.  I set it out on the counter at room temp for a couple of hours this morning, then rolled it up and tied it.  It spent 4 hours in a 300 oven on a rack.  I pulled it and drained the fat from the pan, cranked the temp on the oven to 500, and gave it another 30 minutes or so, checking every 10.  It’s a wonder it didn’t set off the smoke alarm.

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Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin

20161105_1638041600x1200I bought a pork tenderloin at  the store today, it seemed pretty big – I thought it was two packed into the same bag like they do.  Nope!  I decided to do the sous vide thing because tenderloins are so easy to overcook doing them the regular way.  I set my circulator to 150 degrees and left it in for 3-1/2 hours.  No marinade, just salt and pepper, and I enclosed a sprig each of thyme and rosemary.20161105_1757501600x1200It came out with just a bare hint of pink.  I’m pretty old school and a bare hint is about all I can tolerate despite assurances that 145 degrees is the new, safe, temperature for pork.  The Serious Eats guy has a pretty good take on sous vide pork here.  They have a pretty good color chart, 150 degrees is considered medium well done.  I made a simple pan sauce by reducing some of the liquids that collected in the bag and adding a pat of butter.  It didn’t really need anything, juicy as it was.20161105_1738151600x1200I can’t get enough of these fried potatoes.  I par boiled them for five minutes then cooled them in running water.  Dry them on a towel and fry them in duck fat if you can  get some, you will not be disappointed.

Greek Pork Tenderloin Gyros

20161021_1710341600x1200Sliced some of that tenderloin thin and warmed it under the broiler for a another take on gyros.  Pretty good!  Much garlic!  I will take the occasion to complain about Kroger’s store brand Greek yogurt.  Too thin, funny texture, didn’t taste as good, won’t buy that stuff again.

Greek Marinade – Pork Tenderloin

20161020_1557121600x1200We saw this on one of our TV shows, the diner guy chopped a pork tenderloin into smallish pieces, put them into a small hotel pan, and started adding marinade ingredients.  I scribbled them down as best I could because we had just bought a tenderloin and this looked like a great recipe:  Olive oil, lemon juice, lime juice, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.  He said cover and refrigerate for a week.  OK.  We nearly forgot it because it was in the basement fridge but we got it out in time.20161020_1621181600x1200I wish I had let the grill heat better but I was afraid to overcook the meat.  I brushed it with garlic oil while it was on the grill and that really flared up.  I did manage to get a touch of brown on there.  It was really tender, and the garlic was prominent.  I think the long marinade in lemon/lime juice had o lot to do with tenderizing it.20161020_1621281600x1200I served it over a bed of wild rice with a side of Brussel sprouts and corn sauteed in duck fat.

Sammich Pr0n – Pork Tenderloin

DSC_1864 (1600x1060)Pork tenderloins, pounded thin, make for fine sammiches.  I floured this one, dipped it in egg, and then into bread crumbs.  Fry in a half inch of 325 degree oil – too hot and the bread crumbs will burn.  They will cook pretty quickly being all thin like that.  I stirred sambal chili paste into mayo for the garnish spread on it but you can use whatever suits you.  I had no lettuce or there would be some on there, shredded just so.

Brussels Sprout Salad

DSC_0238 (1600x1060)I found this recipe while looking for salad ideas and decided to give it a try.  It’s pretty good, not change your life good but it is a nice change of pace.  My mandoline doesn’t like the little fiddly jobs so I used a knife but it went pretty well, I didn’t do a whole lot of them.  I added a packet of Splenda to mine, and a splash of rice vinegar because I thought it needed just a tad more tart.DSC_0239 (1600x1060)The meat of the menu was this pork tenderloin all pounded thin and breaded.  I ate mine with a little chili sauce.  The plate was rounded off with more of that loaded potato salad.  I made a different batch with red potatoes this time but otherwise about the same.  I did drop a glob of yogurt in with the sour cream and mayo for the dressing.DSC_0240 (1600x1060)

Sammich Pr0n

DSC_0170 (1600x1060)This is made from leftover breaded pork tenderloin that has been sliced and covered with my Awesome sauce, a handful of Italian blend shredded cheeses and then toasted on half a baguette.DSC_0180 (1600x1060)My local Kroger has a decent deli department, they have the usual cheeses and meats and a limited selection of baked goods.  This is made from a bolillo roll that they offer on occasion and is filled out with sliced ham, corned beef, and Swiss cheese – topped with slaw in a vinaigrette dressing.  I toasted the sandwich open faced to get a good melt with the cheese and a nice toasted crust on the roll before adding the slaw.DSC_0187 (1600x1060)You’ve seen most of this before, the meat filling is leftover from the gigli pasta dinner that also had some of this asiago focaccia on the side.  I put this together in the same manner as the ham and slaw sammich above.  The cheese this time is a slice of provolone that seemed more in keeping with the theme.

Sammich Pr0n – Pork Tenderloin

DSC_9996 (1600x1060)I was browsing about over at the Serious Eats house the other day and read an article about these pork tenderloin sandwiches.  It seems that they are a regional sammich, local to the Mid West states, Indiana in particular.  I bought a pork tenderloin just to make them and went through a couple of different breading styles before settling on an egg wash then bread crumbs although a simple dredge in seasoned flour worked pretty well.

Cut the loin into roughly 1/2″ slices and pound them thin between sheets of plastic wrap.  Since this is intended to be a sandwich it’s important that it is thoroughly tenderized, lest you drag the whole thing out from between the bread halves.  You can deep fry them but I just went with pan frying in a good layer of oil.DSC_9994 (1600x1060)When the pork is pounded as thin as it needs to be it really spreads out.  Google around for images of these things and you will note that most times the meat is a lot bigger than the bun.  I wanted to show both sides of this one so you wouldn’t think the sandwich is lopsided.  I’ve seen these dressed out with pickles and tomatoes and catsup and everything else you might see on a basic hamburger.  This one is relatively plain with a few onions and some chopped lettuce.  I used the horseradish cream sauce on this because I had some made and ready but catsup would be the go to condiment for me if ordered in a diner somewhere.

Men Who Cook: Kirk Spencer, Pork Tenderloin Confit

From the Men Who Cook series, Kirk Spencer offers another tasty recipe:

Here’s another fun one to try:

Pork Tenderloin Confit

It’s a three-step process: curing, preserving, and cooking.

Step one, Curing: You’ll do this 12-18 hours before the next step time. Make a curing rub of approximately 1 cup coarse salt and seasonings of choice. For your first run I’m going to recommend about 10 cloves of garlic and 10 sprigs of fresh thyme. Smash the cloves, strip the leaves from the sprigs, and toss with the salt to mix thoroughly. Now in a pan large enough to hold the tenderloin make a bed of half the cure, put the tenderloin on it, and sprinkle the rest on top. Take any that’s loose and pat it on the sides so the whole loin is covered. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator.

Step two, preserving: Set your oven to 200 degrees F (180 F if you can manage it). Melt about two pounds of butter. Remove the loin from the refrigerator and rinse off the salt, then place in a clean oven-proof dish that will hold it. Pour the butter over the top. If the loin is not covered by at least half an inch, melt and add more butter. Put in the oven for approximately 3 hours. (NOTE: You’re poaching this loin in butter.) Two tests for done – the traditional skewer (the meat will give almost no resistance when done) and the temperature test (aim for 165 internal).

The following is optional but explains why this step is preserving, not cooking. Pull the pan out of the oven, let it cool for half an hour, then put meat into a quart masonry jar. Strain the butter through a cheesecloth, and pour enough into the jar to fully cover the loin. Close with a lid, and place in refrigerator. Keep for one week to three months. The flavors will intensify over time, but at three months it’s supposedly getting a bit strong. (I don’t know. I’ve never lasted past a month.)

FINISHING: Two options: For both, slice the loin into medallions. If you’re finishing instead of preserving, you can serve these hot, buttery loin medallions as is. Alternately, put medallions with a bit of the butter in a hot skillet to brown both sides – about two minutes on a side. This can be done with the cold or hot loin medallions. I really like serving these with parboiled and parsleyed new potatoes and red cabbage, but have been known to use buttered noodles (yes, more butter) and a cold pea salad as well.

Confit is a traditional means of preservation. Poach the meat in fat till it’s done, then let the fat solidify around it and store in a cool location. Traditionally you do this with a fatty meat (duck and goose being the most famous) and use its own fat. I’ve discovered that poaching in butter is delicious, too, and works for oh so many other meats.

Use either or neither, and good luck,

Kirk

Thanks Kirk.  For more of Kirk’s recipes and thought on life in general, check out his blog:  Mental Meanderings