Friday, December 26, 2014

Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Shallots

Believe it or not, there was a time when a pork tenderloin was only a few dollars. Boy, do I miss those days. Today, one will pay upwards of seven to eight dollars for one!

Pork tenderloin was one of my favorite meats to prepare. Quick and easy. Lean and nutritious. A cinch to pop on the barbecue. (I've included links to my favorite recipes at the end of this post.)

When I saw some in the grocer close-dated and marked down to four bucks, I grabbed the two that were left. One I just seared and baked. But I wanted to be a bit more adventuresome with the second one.

If you don't like star anise, use a bit of Chinese Five Spice instead--maybe 1/4 teaspoon. This had lots of flavor going on. I paired it with plain white rice.

Don't let it marinate for more than two hours. I like my pork just a bit rosy in the center--about 145 F. degrees on an instant-read thermometer. 


  • 1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce (I only use Lee Kum Lee)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 small garlic cloves, pressed or crushed and minced very fine
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme flakes, lightly crushed
  • several shakes smoked paprika
  • 1/2 small star anise, slightly crumbled or 1/4 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
  • 1, 1.25 lb. pork tenderloin, silver skin removed
Mix the first eight ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste. Re-season to taste remembering most of the marinade will cook off. Place tenderloin in a plastic bag and add marinade. Massage a bit. Place in refrigerator and marinade for at least one hour and no more than two.

When ready to assemble and bake have the following prepared:

  • 4-5 ounces white mushrooms, sliced (about 4-6)
  • 2 - 4 tablespoons or so of sliced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon flour mixed with--
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2-4 tablespoons dry white wine (or stock)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (a good nob)
  • Pre-heated oven at 400 F. Degrees

Heat an an oven-safe pan (about 7-8 inches) over medium heat until hot. Add a bit of butter and olive oil. Remove tenderloin from marinade. Shake a bit but do not dry it off. Add to pan. Is fine to curl it around the pan the sides of the pan. Sear on four sides until brown. You are not cooking it, just browning the outside.

Add the dry white wine and butter to de-glaze the pan. Allow alcohol to cook off a minute or two. Add sliced mushrooms and shallots. Continue turning the pork as mushrooms cook a bit. When mushrooms begin to give off their juices, add some of the flour/stock mixture. You probably won't need all of it and will want to add more half way through the cooking process.

Transfer pan to oven. Bake for about twenty minutes, adding more stock mixture if necessary after about ten minutes or so. Roast until instant-read thermometer registers 145 F Degrees. Remove from oven. Tenderloin will continue to cook in hot pan. OR ... after removing from oven ... transfer tenderloin to serving plate/board. Tent with foil for about ten minutes before carving. Add a bit more butter/stock/wine to drippings in pan with mushrooms. Place on low heat on a burner. Stir. Combine. Taste.

Carve tenderloin into 1/4-inch slices. Place around rice. Drizzle rice with pan drippings or a bit more soy sauce. Top with mushroom mixture.

Lovingly, serves two. Piggishly, one. Frugally, three. Anorexically, four.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary and Garlic

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Hobo Soup with Hamburger and Vegetables

I had forgotten this recipe was waiting in the wings of my "new post" file. I know I harp on and on about soups. But, honestly, they they are surprisingly, even amazingly, easy to prepare. They are nourishing. They use the most humble and inexpensive of ingredients. For some reason, people seem intimidated by making soups. Really, it's just about chopping and dumping. What could be easier?

I love the two vowels ... "o" and "u" supported by the the consonants ... "s" and "p." To me, soups are like poetry ... they insist on inspiration and creativity ... how to use what you have on hand ... how to understand ... your own experience ... ingredient by ingredient ... word by word ... Potatoes? Add it in. Or pasta. This is your poem. And, yes, you can do it. You will do it. And, trust me, all the flavors will rhyme.

This was a hearty and satisfying soup dashed together with ingredients I had on hand. (Had I bit of green pepper, I would have used it.) I love the canned combo of corn with okra and tomatoes. (Heated by itself, it's fun to put over white rice with a bit of shrimp and ham on the side.)

I suppose this is best categorized as a "hobo soup," which is any soup thrown together by opening up some cans. I enjoyed the simplicity of a veggie stock. I felt both chicken and beef stock a bit too overpowering. Don't omit the fennel, it's what raises humble hamburger to a kind of Italian-sausage level. The cream mellows all the flavors. I sprinkled each bowl with a liberal amount of smoked Gouda. Any cheese would work as well. Or none.

Served with a hefty chunk of crusty bread for soaking, sit back and enjoy your poem. As with any soup, this just gets better a day or two later.

  • 3/4 cup ground beef
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 3-4 medium garlic cloves, smashed, skins removed, sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 rib celery, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste --- several squirts from a tube
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme flakes
  • 2 pinches dried red pepper flakes--or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1, 14.5-oz can corn/okra/tomatoes
  • 1 can rinsed, seasoned butter beans
  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 1 good teaspoon beef granules ...
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Cheese for garnish
  • 1-2 tablespoons cream

Add a bit of olive oil to a stock pot. Add chopped onion, sliced garlic cloves, sliced carrots, and sliced celery. Sweat just until soft. Move to side of pot and add the ground beef along with the fennel seeds, thyme flakes and red pepper flakes. When brown, mix in the veggies and tomato paste. Cook for about one minute or so. Now add the can of corn/okra/tomatoes, seasoned butter beans. Mix through. Finish by adding the veggie stock, beef granules and smoked paprika. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a slow simmer. Cover. Continue to cook for about 45 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the cream and mix through. Re-taste for seasonings. Serve with grated cheese on top.