Thursday, January 22, 2009

Quick and Tasty Pork Tenderloin

I used to love pork chops, but these days they are so tough that I end up using a pork tenderloin. It cooks in about 30 minutes, and you can add a lot of flavor with a simple rub. Here is what I did last night.

I used a small tenderloin and I rubbed it with a mixture of chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and horseradish, then let it sit at room temperature while I got everything else ready. Thinly slice some onions or leeks and saute them in a little olive oil. I used some sliced fresh fennel here too, nice but not necessary. When the vegetables are soft and pale golden, scrape the chopped garlic off the roast and to the pan stirring for a minute or less. Put everything into the pan you are using for the roast, preheat oven to 400, wipe out the saute pan and brown the pork loin. When the meat is browned put it on top of the vegetables. Deglaze the pan with some white wine and pour it over the roast, then pour about 1/2 cup of apple juice over everything and pop it into the oven. Cook for about 30 minutes, less if it's tiny. You want the apple juice reduced to a syrup, and the pork still with a tinge of pink to it.

This is good with mashed or roast potatoes. If you are roasting the potatoes, preheat your pan while you preheat the oven. Use baking potatoes cut into quarters or sixths and start them in the microwave. Cook in the wave for about 4 minutes then take your pan out of the oven, add olive oil and the potatoes (watch out for spattering). Salt and pepper them and then roast them until crisp and golden.

This tastes good with some spinach, and apple sauce on the side is a must.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Comfort Food Meal

Oven baked chicken thighs, acorn squash and risotto - a soul warming dinner that can be accomplished in under forty minutes. The risotto is done in a pressure cooker which makes this easy and quick; a perfect solution for a weeknight.

Set the over to 400 degrees, cut the acorn squash in half, spoon out the seeds and place cut side down in 1/4 inch of water.
Bake for 35 minutes.

While this is baking you can set up the chicken thighs. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with olive or canola oil. Whisk 1-2 egg(s) with a bit of water, rinse the thighs and soak in the egg wash. For four chicken thighs, use 3/4 cup of bread crumbs, 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon of tarragon. Remove the thighs one at a time and coat with the bread crumb mixture. Place in the oven when the squash has approximately 15 min remaining - turning once.

Heat two tablespoons of butter in a pressure cooker and saute half an onion that has been minced. Cook for approximately five minutes without letting the onion brown. Add one cup of arborio rice and saute until lightly browned. Add 2 1/4 cup of chicken broth and 1 cup of frozen peas. Cover and let the pressure build, cook for 7 min. turn off the heat and let the pressure off. Once the pressure cooker can be opened, add and stir in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

While the risotto is cooking, the squash should be ready. Remove the water, cut each half to again and brush with a glaze; 1 teaspoon of melted butter with 1 tablespoon of cherry sauce (or marmalade). Place under a broiler for five minutes until nicely browned.


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