Sunday, September 30, 2007

More fall food

Tonight's Menu

  • pork with leeks and apples
  • crusty French bread
  • steamed broccoli
Tonight's dinner was totally an experiment. It was one of those use-what-you-have kind of deals. Luckily it turned out delicious!

I had this pork tenderloin, right? And while I really like my usual method of preparation, it gets a little boring if I make it that way every week. So what I did instead was cut the tenderloin into medallions about 1 to 1.5 inches thick. I did NOT pound them since I was planning to cook them in liquid. I just salted and peppered them and then browned them in a hot skillet with EVOO to give them a nice crust. Then I removed them from the pan and set them aside for a bit.

To the still-hot pan I added one leek that I had chopped (cut off the root end and the dark green bits, halve it lengthwise, give it a good wash, then cut into 1-inch sections) and stirred that around for a bit until it released some fragrance (being sure to scrape up the brown bits from the pork). Then I added one apple (I used a Fuji -- it's what I had) that had been peeled, cored, and chunked. Stir, stir, stir -- just to get a TINY bit of color on the leeks and apples.

Then I added the pork back into the pan and poured in a bottle of Hornsby's hard cider. You could also use regular apple cider, apple juice, or even white wine, probably. I stripped the leaves off of a few (like half a dozen, maybe) sprigs of fresh thyme and added those in, then covered the pan and simmered it all for about 15 minutes, which is how long it took to heat up the bread and steam the broccoli. After 15 minutes I uncovered the pan, cranked up the heat, and let the liquid reduce down to almost nothing. Then I seasoned it with a bit more salt and pepper (after tasting), et voila!

A couple of notes:
  1. Don't use too much thyme. You want just a hint of it, but you don't want it to dominate the dish.
  2. If you're using a less-tender cut of meat, increase the simmering time accordingly and don't add the apples until about halfway through. Otherwise your meat will be tough and/or your apples will be mushy.
  3. When you reduce a liquid like you do in this recipe, don't salt/pepper until the end. Otherwise those flavors get concentrated as the liquid reduces. Always taste before you season! The fact that I had seasoned the pork before browning meant that this dish needed very little additional salt at the end. If I'd salted without tasting, or salted before reducing, I would have added WAY too much.
Okay! Enjoy!

1 comment:

alosha said...

nice suggestions, thank you!