I exalt pork tenderloin: its serene, boneless ease. The “Thai Quivering Tenderloins,” from allrecipes.com, were indeed fantastically moist; the sauce peanutty and spicy.
I set aside 8 hours to marinate my tenderloins. For me, that’s the ultimate in hands-off food prep. After that passive amount of time, I just put them in the oven. My tenderloins reached 160 degrees in 37 minutes. The sauce — a collection of orange juice, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, cilantro, garlic, brown sugar, peanut butter, and ginger root — was spicy enough to keep away from my youngster. The kid was happy to use ketchup.
I also made “Camino’s Fried Farro with Dark Greens,” from Off the Menu: Staff Meals from America’s Top Restaurants, by Marissa Guggiana. A basic concept of grain + green. Does farro really need to be roasted? Well, not really. After that (unnecessary) 10-minute step, I simmered the farro for 30 minutes, until it achieved its pleasant barley/rice texture.
How do you feel about broccoli rabe? We all enjoy it. It’s not broccoli, but rather a hearty green that’ll do whatever you want a hearty green to do. I loved the freeform toss of herbs at the end. I went with flowery, perplexing marjoram and defiant basil. This was a side dish with stature.
Pork Tenderloins (2 lbs.) = $17.34
Broccoli Rabe (1 bunch) = $2.22
Marjoram (1/2 handful) = $1.04
Basil (1/2 handful) = $2.12
RECIPES: a substantial, winning meal
PREP TIMES: eight hours to marinate pork; 37 minutes to bake pork; farro is ready after less than an hour of prep and cooking
TASTES: moist pork is dressed with a spicy peanut sauce; toasted farro is supported by hearty broccoli rabe and assertive herbs
Next time, I will cook the ambitious “Cacciatore Butter-Stuffed Chicken” and “Lemon & Peas Pasta” (recipes below), adapted from the February 2012 issue of Cuisine at Home. See my showcase when you return to my site soon.
Cacciatore Butter-Stuffed Chicken
Cuisine at Home, February 2012
1 cup diced cremini mushrooms
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. dry red wine
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and softened (8 Tbsp.)
2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp. minced lemon zest
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6-7 oz. each)
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
Mince mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, garlic, and rosemary in a food processor.
Saute vegetable mixture in 1 Tbsp. butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, season with salt and pepper, and cook until moisture evaporates, 15 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook until dry, 2 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine and cook until dry, 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl; cool to room temperature, 15 minutes.
Mash 1 stick butter, vegetable mixture, basil, and zest in a bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Spread filling onto plastic wrap into a 4-inch square; wrap, chill, until firm 30 minutes, and quarter.
Pound chicken breasts to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick, one at a time, inside a resealable plastic bag with 1 tsp. water using the smooth side of a mallet. Place the bag on a kitchen towel to cushion the chicken during pounding. Avoid pounding breasts too thin to prevent holes or torn edges.
Stuff chicken breasts by placing a quarter of the filling in the center of each pounded breast. Fold the end of the breast over the filling, tuck in the sides, then continue rolling until the filling is covered. Tightly wrap the stuffed breast in plastic wrap, then repeat stuffing and wrapping with remaining breasts. Chill breasts at least one hour, as long as overnight, or freeze until just firm.
Bread the chicken by first dredging in 1/4 cup flour, then dipping into the beaten egg, and finally rolling in the panko breadcrumbs, pressing to coat. At this point, the crumbs need to adhere to the chicken. Wrap the breaded breasts in plastic wrap and chill to set the coating, at least one hour or up to 3 hours.
Fry all the stuffed breasts until browned on both sides in 1/2-inch of canola oil heated to 375 degrees, 5-7 minutes. After browning, transfer breasts to a rack set over a baking sheet and transfer to the oven preheated to 450 degrees. Roast stuffed breasts until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the chicken registers 165 degrees, 15-20 minutes.
Lemon & Peas Pasta
inspired by Cuisine at Home, February 2012
2 cups dry fregola and orzo pastas
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
Salt and black pepper
Cook pastas in salted water according to package directions; drain.
Stir peas, butter and zest into pasta; season with salt and pepper.