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Good day, everyone. I hope we’ve all gotten past the never ending Winter and can now focus on Spring time and the Summer ahead. And baseball. And beer. And grilling. And beer.
As we get closer to Summertime I find myself wanting to spend less and less time in the kitchen with a stove heating up the goddamn house. I don’t mind the oven on for a little while during the warmer months but I will be FUCKED if I’m gonna slow roast a turkey or some such shit during the summer. That’s Fall and Winter time shit right there.
Today I’ve got a meal that only requires about 30 minutes of “in oven” time. This meal can also qualify as a pretty quick weeknight meal as well.
Today we are making garlic/rosemary pork loin, mashed potatoes, a marsala cream sauce and – hold your dicks kids – Thai style green beans. Oh fuck yes. Lookit this shit right here.
I know, it’s about damn time I stepped up my side dish game.
In fact, this entire meal lends itself to a little freelancing, a little personal enhancement, a little chance to elevate our skills and dazzle the fuck out of our dinner guests.
Let’s show off a little today shall we?
On the surface you could say “Hmm, pork loin, mashed potatoes and green beans. Nice” and ordinarily you would be correct. Tasty, simple and rock solid delicious.
But what if?
What if we gave a little tweak, an embellishment, a little je ne sais quoi to EVERY part of this meal. Bring some big flavor to the pork, enhance the potatoes by increasing the richness factor. What if we decided that the side dish could not only be elevated but could be so damn tasty it could be the featured dish?
Fuck hypotheticals, we’re going after this shit today.
Garlic/rosemary pork tenderloin.
(1) 1 1/2 – 2 pound pork tenderloin.
4 cloves of garlic minced.
Some fresh rosemary chopped – about a tablespoon or so.
1-2 tablespoons of mustard. I used a mix of spicy brown mustard and dijon.
Salt and pepper.
1/2 tablespoon of hot Hungarian paprika.
2 tablespoons of olive oil.
What is elevated about it? The balance of the mustard, paprika, the shitload of garlic and the fresh rosemary, that’s what.
Have you ever fucked around with a pork tenderloin? You know, the center cut? When you grab a package it looks something like this…
Hey! I can fuck around with that! Then you open up the package to find…
There are two of them in the package!
Holy shit it’s bonus day!
We just need the one today so wrap the other loin in plastic wrap, then in foil, write the date on the outside and sock away in your freezer for another day.
The tenderloin is the very lean center of a sirloin pork chop. There’s not a lot of fat, it doesn’t have the same porky fatness that fattier cuts of pork do but it lends itself well to flavor enhancement. Tenderloins are also notoriously easy to overcook but we’ll address that later.
Would a tenderloin that has been seared with salt and pepper and then cooked in the oven be tasty? Sure. But we’re here to impress today. To blow some damn minds.
We’re going to step the fuck up!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Get out a non-stick skillet for the searing – yes we are building a sauce from the drippings later. First of all let’s season up the loin with some salt, pepper and Hungarian paprika.
I love hot Hungarian paprika for some meat searing action. Pork, beef, whatever, this shit just works. Get a nice coating on there and let’s get ready to sear.
Add the olive oil to the preheated skillet and get the tenderloin on the sizzle.
Sear for about 3-4 minutes per side.
If the tenderloin is basically round then how many sides does it have?
Fuck if I know. Four?
Just sear the damn thing will you? We don’t want to go more than 4 minutes per side because that’s where overcooking can happen.
When seared, remove the loin from the skillet and let rest for a couple of minutes.
Now comes the flavor enhancing.
Once again, today I was able to use herbs directly from my herb garden.
Rosemary this time. That’s it on the right.
Chop up your garlic.
Next, take the seared pork and cover all over with the mustard. Use your hands and get it over the entire surface. Once coated with mustard apply the chopped garlic and the rosemary. Just like the mustard make sure you get complete coverage.
This will be wrapped tightly in foil,
placed in a baking dish and cooked in the preheated 350 degree oven for 30! THIRTY minutes. Set a damn timer. This is a lovely cut of meat, don’t overcook it and turn it into a flavorless hockey puck.
I know most of you have this deep seated – and heavily instilled – phobia about making sure pork is cooked completely. While I do respect that and by no means want anybody to contract a food borne illness, most of those fallacies can be traced back to farm raised pork, not the fully processed and controlled pork that we get today. Granted pork that was raised on farms where the pigs could root around in shit and other unsavory bits did lend to a potential food problem with under-cooked pork. Today’s pork is a lot more user friendly and less unclean than pork from days past.
That being said, if you want to be sure the pork is cooked through, use a meat thermometer and be sure the pork is cooked to 150 degrees. No more than that. We’re walking that fine line between tender/juicy and hockey puck remember? It’s an easy line to cross too.
Look at that banner again.
You may notice that the pork has a light shade of…pink? Fuck yes it does! Trust me. This is goddamn delicious and perfectly cooked through. Fork tender, still juicy. Good God!
Let’s get to the rest of this meal.
I’m not going to go too much into the mashed potatoes since we’ve covered that many times but I will tell you how we “leveled them up.”
Remember a few weeks ago when we had sauerbraten and German potato dumplings?
It was at that time that I discussed using a ricer the next time I made mashed potatoes.
Well I did.
Here’s how it worked.
Clean and rinse the potatoes and put them in a pot of water with enough water to cover by about an inch. Bring to a boil and cook whole for 45 minutes. Let the potatoes cool and the skins will peel right off.
Press them through a ricer. This thing?
Once riced, put the potatoes in the bowl of your mixer, add in 2-3 tablespoons of butter, a good splash of heavy cream – yes we have another use for cream coming right up – add some salt and pepper and mix for 2-3 minutes.
Smooth, no lumps to be found and the butter and cream deliver a richness and texture that is just goddamn amazing.
We’ve got a lovely meat item and a pile of smooth mashed potatoes, could this use, dare I say, A GRAVY?
How about a more genteel “sauce” to serve over this?
Marsala cream sauce with mushrooms.
8 ounces of sliced mushrooms. White, brown, baby bellas would all work.
2 tablespoons of butter.
2 tablespoons of minced shallot – about 1 small to medium shallot should do.
4 cloves of garlic minced.
1 tablespoon of flour.
1 cup of dry marsala.
1/4 cup of heavy cream.
1/4 cup of chicken stock. Beef stock would be fine also.
1/2 tablespoon of dried thyme.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Get out a medium sauce pan. Scrape the browned bits from the pan that you seared the tenderloin in and get it in the pan. Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter and then add in the mushrooms and shallot.
Cook down for 5-6 minutes to cook out some of the water from the mushrooms. Next sprinkle the flour right over the top of the mushrooms and stir. Add in the garlic and the marsala and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Next we will add in the stock and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Lastly in goes the heavy cream.
Put in the thyme and season with the salt and pepper. Let this simmer on low for a few minutes until the sauce tightens up and reduces by about 1/3. When finished this will be gently layered over the pork and the potatoes giving the dish a rich brightness and a tangy, garlicky goodness from the sauce. This is the difference between cooking something and preparing something incredible. The little touches make all of the difference.
Now how about a vegetable side dish that will blast your diners right in their goddamn taste buds and will leave them stunned, amazed and damn near speechless?
Thai Style Green Beans.
Have you adventurous eaters sampled Thai green beans in your culinary travels? Called Pad Prik Kingh or Prik King?
[pause for dick jokes]
They are crispy, salty, spicy and delicious and can indeed be served as a main dish. If you haven’t tried them then the next time you have Thai food, remedy that. You will be happy you did.
1 pound or so of fresh green beans.
Harken back to this photo.
Another tablespoon of minced shallot.
4-5 cloves of minced garlic.
1 tablespoon of minced ginger.
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1/4 cup of chicken stock.
1/4 cup of chili sauce – no you aren’t allowed to substitute with sriracha.
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flake.
Salt to finish.
1 tablespoon of peanut oil – if you don’t have it use canola or olive oil.
Clean and rinse your green beans.
Use a knife and remove the stems from each end of the beans.
Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Cook the beans in the boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Remove the beans and put them immediately in an ice bath to shock them and stop the cooking process.
This allows the beans to retain their bright green color during the rest of the cooking process.
Get out a skillet or wok and get that fucker to medium-high heat. Add in the peanut oil.
When the oil is hot, add in the shallots and the green beans and saute for 3-4 minutes until the beans start to get crisp and are just starting to brown. Next add in the garlic and ginger.
Cook for about a minute until the aroma starts kicking you right in the dick. Next add in the stock and the soy sauce. This will cook for about 5 minutes or until the beans reach your preferred level of doneness. Cook longer if you like a softer bean.
Finally add in the chili sauce and the red pepper flake and stir fry for just a minute or so until it all starts coming together.
Dump the contents of the skillet onto a plate, sprinkle salt to taste over the top and serve immediately.
This may become your favorite side dish and nobody could blame you. It’s hot and crispy and salty and the heat, oh yes, the heat. Then it’s got a big hit of garlic and ginger and the texture is rich and slightly sticky and I better stop describing this before I need to change my dainties.
Served together today’s symphony will look something like this.
The pork is tender and juicy enough that it can be cut with a fork. The potatoes are rich and satisfying, the green beans will disappear before you can bat an eye and the soul-pleasing marsala cream sauce just makes the entire meal sing.
Every single element has been enhanced to make a sum much greater than all of the parts.
Make any element here or make them all.
It’s time to step up your game and become the culinary goddamn legend you were meant to be.
It’s your destiny!
Thanks for being there folks.
I’ve got an interesting new wrinkle for you next week and it should be – interesting?
And I got a free shirt!
Have a great Sunday.