Monday, March 25, 2013

Herb Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Reduction

This week's theme ingredient is herbs, and since I had a pork tenderloin in my freezer waiting to be eaten, I knew some rosemary and thyme would be making their way onto my plate. I've never cooked a tenderloin this way before - the few times I've made one I usually wrap it in puff pastry and do a pork wellington sort of deal. I didn't get much color on the outside cooking at 425 - I think if I repeat this recipe I'd preheat the oven to 500, put the tenderloin in, and immediately turn off the oven, leaving the meat to cook with the residual heat. 

Balsamic reduction recipe taken straight from:

20 oz. ice water
1 oz (2 tbsp) salt
1 tbsp sugar
½ teaspoon dried dalmation sage leaves
4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
2 carrots, sliced
½ large white onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, smashed
Olive oil
1 Pork Tenderloin

In a large pan over medium heat cook the onion, cook the onion, carrots and garlic cloves in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes, until softened. Turn off the heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Pour the brine into a large Ziploc bag. If it’s still hot, toss it in the fridge for an hour. Add the pork tenderloin, and brine for 6 to 12 hours in the refrigerator.

2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Combine all ingredients in a small food processor and blitz a few times to work everything together. Rub all over the tenderloin. Roast for 15 minutes, or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 140-145°F. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Balsamic Reduction:
1 tbsp chopped shallots
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1.5 teaspoons sugar
Olive oil

In a small pan over medium heat, cook the shallots and garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the vinegar, rosemary and Dijon. Add the sugar in ½ teaspoon increments – you may not need the full amount, as different balsamic vinegars have different acidity levels. Taste as the vinegar reduces, and add additional sugar in ½ teaspoon increments as needed. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and reduce for about 20 minutes, until reduced by 2/3rds.

Quinoa Pilaf:
1 cup quinoa, rinsed in cold water
2 cups chicken stock
1 shallot, chopped
Peas (frozen)
1.5 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
Olive oil

In a medium pan over medium heat, cook the chopped shallots in olive oil for a minute, then add the quinoa and toast for 2 minutes. Add the stock, season with salt, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes, until the quinoa grains open up into neat looking spirals. Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus in a pot of well salted boiling water for 5 minutes, adding the frozen peas during the last minute. Drain, and add to cooked quinoa along with basil.


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