Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dinner and Drinks: Seared Pork Tenderloin With A Mushroom (beef) Demi-glace (And Extra-Special Secret Bonus Recipe Inside!)

It's been a while since I posted any recipes (or much of anything, to be honest). No particular reason; I'm just a busy man what with fixing up the house, being a dad, fighting crime, etc.

However, I still try to find time to cook and this Friday was no exception. I like to buy those huge pork tenderloins that go on sale at the grocery store once every couple of months or so because, hey, five pounds of pork tenderloin for $7. I cut it up into smaller portions for freezing. Some of it goes into a bag marked "stir fry", but some of it I cut into inch-and-a-quarter slabs. Like a pork filet mignon.

Since it's been a while since I posted one of these, I thought I'd turn a double play (baseball season!) and let you in on a 100% original recipe for potato pancakes.

Seared Pork Tenderloin with a Mushroom (Beef) Demi-glace and Potato Pancakes

For pork:

black pepper
chili powder
1 tbsp olive oil

For potato pancakes:

4-6 medium potatoes
1/2 stick of butter (melted)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder

For mushroom (beef) demi-glace

8 oz mushrooms
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cups beef stock
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp salt
1 tsp tarragon

Note: I strongly urge you to read this whole post before starting. There's a lot going on and some of it should overlap if you want everything to come out at roughly the same time. There's also some stuff about oven-safe skillets and other things that may sound boring at first. But if you've ever put a skillet in an oven only to find out it was meant for the stove top only, you know it's important.

Season the pork on both sides with the spices listed. If you cut your tenderloins as thick as I do (again, about and inch and a quarter), be generous with the spices.

Let's get the sauce started. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Once it's melted, whisk in the flour until smooth. Put the pan back on the burner and increase the heat to medium. Add the stock, wine and spices. Stir well and add the mushrooms. Use whatever kind you want. I had portobellas on hand, so there you go.

Once the sauce starts to boil, reduce heat and simmer. The sauce should thicken as it simmers, so stir frequently. If it starts to get too thick for your liking, add small amounts of beef stock until it reaches the desired consistency. The longer it simmers, the better it will be, so let it simmer on as you prepare the rest of the meal.

Now to the pork. If you have really thick tenderloins, pre-heat your oven to 350ยบ. If your pork loins are more like pork chops, you can finish them on the stove, so forget about the oven.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it just starts to smoke. Turn the heat down to medium, or be prepared for (1) burned tenderloins and (2) a very greasy stovetop. Immediately add the tenderloins to the oil, pressing down firmly for a couple of seconds. This will help make a nice sear.

Thick cuts: Cook for about 3 minutes on a side, making sure your sear looks good before you flip 'em. Once seared, move the skillet to the oven (make sure your skillet can be used in the oven -- if not, transfer the contents of the skillet to an oven-safe baking dish). Cook for another 8-12 minutes or until it reaches desired doneness.

Thin cuts: Cook until the sear looks good. This shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes or so. Flip when the sear looks good and repeat on the other side. Reduce the heat to medium-low and finish the cooking process.

Now onto the potato pancakes. A note on the potatoes: russets work just fine. I happened to have red potatoes on hand, so I used a few more as they're pretty small. Peel, wash, and grate the potatoes into a mixing bowl. You may notice that there is a lot of liquid in the potatoes. You can squeeze them and pat them dry with paper towels if you like. I've found that there's still a lot of liquid when it comes time to make the cakes, so I don't bother. But you do what you want; you have the power here.

Add all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. I use my hands, but again, you do what you want.

Heat enough oil in a skillet to cover the bottom 1/2 inch over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, take a handful of the potato mixture and squeeze out the excess liquid. Form into small cakes (they should be about the size of hockey pucks). Place in the oil and fry until the bottoms are golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and repeat. Once they are done, put them on some paper towels to soak up any excess oil.

I had a glass of a 2010 Cupcake Vineyards Malbec with this meal. Okay, I had a glass while I was preparing it too, and a glass afterwards to celebrate how well it all turned out. It was a lot fruitier than a lot of the malbecs I've tried, but overall it was pretty decent. Generally if I want something that fruity I get a zinfandel though. Still, for $11 it was not bad at all. Very smooth. I would recommend something a little spicer for this meal though.