Friday, February 4, 2011

Actual Cooking: Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Sauce

So after dealing with the third and fourth snowpocalypses in the last 3 weeks, I'm finally getting caught up (as promised) with some of the actual cooking I've been doing, starting with the sauteed pork with mushroom sauce I made almost 2 weeks ago, based on a recipe from James Peterson's Cooking, which was one of my first acquisitions after I started putting food-related stuff on every gift list.

I didn't feel quite up to breaking down a whole pork loin and packaging the portions I didn't need for one meal for later use¹, so I wimped out and bought a package of boneless pork loin chops, leaving me with three somewhat larger pieces of meat (for two servings) instead of the smaller noisettes called for in the recipe. In addition, my market didn't have any of the wild mushrooms that the recipe says can "make this an especially elegant dish," so I settled for the readily available cultivated white mushrooms for both the sauce and the garnish. I guess I'll have to cook this recipe again in the future, and go for the more "elegant" version.

In the meantime, it was quite tasty. I did learn that my electric glass-top stove is apparently hot, because Hi heat got the surface of the pork browned in about half the time the described procedure suggested, and without getting the interior fully done; I ended up finishing the meat in the oven. In future, I'll interpret "high heat" in recipes as 8 or 9 on my stove's dial.

Even with plain, inelegant mushrooms, the mushroom sauce was delicious, and easy to make: coarsely chopped mushrooms simmered with a couple tablespoons of meat glaze, a little water, and a half cup of heavy cream, then pureed in a blender, thickened back on the stove, and finished with salt, pepper, and a bit of wine vinegar. A yummy, meaty tasting sauce which has the excellent feature (when cooking for a gluten-sensitive partner) of being self-thickening without any need for flour or a flour substitute.

After resting the pork, I sliced it (on the bias, like they do on TV!), plated and sauced the slices, added some sauteed mushroom slices as a garnish, and served it up with a side of rice. (I had bought some fennel, which I'd planned to braise as an accompaniment, but I bailed on that at the last minute; more about the fennel in another post.)

In the end, it wasn't really quite the same dish the recipe promised, but it was a hearty meal that managed to impress the Lovely Bride™, and made me feel at least marginally like an actual cook... and I call that success!

¹ This business of buying primals and portioning them for future use is a project I want to tackle in the future, both because I think it might save some money, and because I want to get more intimately familiar with the ingredients I use.

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