Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pork...the other white meat.

(Larry ~ this post is full of food pictures and recipes. Go back to work.)
Ashley raises show cattle and then sells them at the FFA auction every May. Sadly for me, Tim and Ashley are meat and taters people. Neither of them are overly picky, but if we have beef in our freezer there isn't a reason to purchase meat at the supermarket. (With the cost of groceries right now why would I add to my bill?)

I enjoy grilled chicken, and occasionally buy chicken breasts to grill, but for the most part, we eat beef. This past summer, we bought a pig from the FFA auction. (Actually it was our second year buying a pig - I just didn't know anything the first year.) This year, I was more selective with my cuts when I was talking to the processing plant. So, when I reached into my freezer with my eyes closed (I do that to surprise myself with what I'm going to have to create for dinner.) I pulled out a pork tenderloin. I've never cooked or eaten a pork tenderloin. Sounds like fun.
The first recipe I tried was a pecan crusted tenderloin. It needs to be fried, so I was a bit hesitant. (I don't like to fry my meat, but it was a new recipe and I wanted to try it. In order to fry meat you usually have to touch it. The actual touching of meat grosses me out immensely. I don't buy a whole roasting chicken because I have to touch it with my hands, and then I can't eat it. It makes my stomach roll. OOhh - way off topic.) The pork turned out really good. We had it for lunch today, and the leftovers were equally good.

Then tonight (Sunday), I fixed the other tenderloin (there were 2 in the package). I simply roasted it. (I had to buy a roasting pan! I've been married for 16 years and I finally bought my first roasting pan. I was so excited. It worked great by the way.) Here are the recipes with instructions, my commentary, and pictures! (I love pictures. We went on a picture walk today. More on that later.)

Pecan Crusted Pork Tenderloin
I found this recipe online. (I know, I'm suppose to be going through my cookbooks...) By Diana Rattray,
Pork tenderloin is coated with a mixture of chopped pecans, bread crumbs, and seasonings.
1 to 1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons water
1 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules or base
(I actually used twice the amount of bread crumbs and pecans as was suggested.)

(I didn't have bread crumbs available so I substituted stuffing mix. I just put it into a Ziploc baggie, and pounded it with my mallet until it was a bit smaller.)
(I also don't use veggie oil ~ I use olive oil in all of my recipes. The one shown in the photo is mild enough to use all of the time.)
With a sharp knife cut tenderloins into 1/4-inch slices. With a meat mallet gently pound each slice to about 1/8-inch thickness.

In a shallow bowl or on waxed paper, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk the eggs and water. In another shallow bowl or on waxed paper, combine bread crumbs, pecans, and parsley.
Dip the tenderloin pieces into flour mixture, then into the egg mixture, then into the bread crumb and pecan mixture, coating well.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook tenderloin pieces, 1/3 or 1/2 at a time, until lightly browned on both sides and cooked through. Add more oil as necessary.
Place browned tenderloin on a warm platter or tray and keep warm while cooking remaining pieces.

(I put mine in the oven at the lowest setting to keep them hot.)

Add the 3/4 cup water and chicken bouillon granules to the drippings in the skillet and bring to a boil, stirring to loosen browned bits; continue to boil for 1 minute. Pour over pork.

(I did something wrong with the gravy. I thought it was gross, but Tim said it tasted fine.)

Serves 4. (Served way more than 4 at our house...)
I made garlic mashed potatoes and corn to serve with the pecan medallions. Everything was yummie!

Roasted Tenderloin

(OK - the original recipe is Tenderloin with Peppers, but I didn't have peppers in the house tonight. Oops - slight variation. No biggie ~ unless you are trying to look up the recipe. The pepper gravy sounded really good. We will have to try it next time.)
1 Tbsp veggie oil (not me ~ I used EVOO ~ Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed (I minced mine)
1 tsp dried basil (my addition ~ basil is not in the original recipe)
1 pork tenderloin ( about 1 pound)

Mix oil, thyme, basil, and garlic; brush over pork tenderloin. Place on rack in shallow roasting pan. (I added 1 Tbsp of water to the pan. I don't know why - the recipe didn't call for it, but it just seemed like a good idea. Remember, I've never roasted anything before.)
Insert thermometer horizontally so tip is in center of thickest part of pork. Roast uncovered in 325 degree oven until thermometer registers 170 degrees. (I only went to 160 degrees.) It will take about 1 hour.
Serve with rice and salad. Again, this meal was yummie!
This recipe came from my collection of cookbooks, Betty Crocker's Cookbook, 6th Ed. (1986)

Not being a "pork person," I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome of both of these meals. The roasted tenderloin is a healthy way to eat pork, and it was very moist. It was probably my favorite, and while it was baking/roasting/cooking (whatever) it filled the house with the aroma of fresh garlic. (I love garlic.)

Try one ~ or both! ~ and let me know what you think.

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