Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pork Tenderloin with a Mustard-Tarragon Sauce

This is a post from my old blog. I made this dish again a couple of days ago with the same wonderful results.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with a Mustard-Tarragon Sauce

Fresh Pancetta Green Beans

Scallion and Parmesan Cheese Mashed Potatoes (see recipe below)

Devil's Food Chocolate Cake with Bittersweet Chocolate Icing

Mezza Corona Pinot Grigio
Woodbridge Riesling

The pork came out great. It was very tender and moist. I marinated the pork for one hour before roasting it. For the white wine that the recipe called for, I used a $10.00 bottle of 2005 Woodbridge Riesling.

I'm not a big fan of the licorice taste of Tarragon, but the dijon mustard, butter, and cream definitely balanced it out. The sauce was very creamy and complemented the pork very well. Just remember not to over sauce! A sauce is supposed to complement the meat, not the other way around.

The pancetta green beans were also very tasty. I love pancetta. You might be asking yourself, "what is pancetta"? First off, it's pronounced "pan-cheh-tah". Pancetta is italian bacon that hasn't been smoked, so it has a salty flavor. It's used a lot to compliment vegetables like asparagus and green beans, or to flavor sauces. You can find pancetta behind the deli counter at your supermarket or at the butcher.

In this recipe, it asks you to do the following:
"Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain. Transfer to bowl of ice water; cool 5 minutes."

The method above is also known as "blanching". Blanching is done to stop the cooking process and firm up the flesh of the vegetable. Blanching also brings out the color of the vegetable. Notice in the picture above how green the green beans are?

Next... the potatoes. It's amazing to me that people still don't know how to cook mashed potatoes, or intimidated to cook them. Granted, they are always the first to go at family dinners, and a chunky, dry batch of mashed potatoes can turn your name into Mud with family and friends.

So here's how you make my Scallion and Parmesan Cheese Mashed Potatoes:

2 Lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes
4-8 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter, divided
Heavy Cream
Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Scallions (AKA Green Onions)
Salt and Pepper

Special Equipment:
Potato Masher (DUH!)

Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into large chunks. Make sure that the potato chunks are around the same size. This will make sure that all of the potatoes are done at the same time. Put the potatoes in a large pot, like a dutch oven. Fill the pot with cold water just to cover the potatoes about an inch. Salt the water.

Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes, check to see if the potatoes are done by taking a sharp knife and stabbing a large potato chuck. If the chunk feels tough to penetrate, then the potatoes aren't done. If you are able pierce the potato, and the potato won't slide off the knife, then the potatoes aren't done. While the potatoes are cooking, thinly slice the scallions. I only use the green part.

Once the potatoes are done, drain them and put them right back in the same pot that you cooked them in on medium-low heat. We do this to cook out any water that might be left. You don't want runny mashed potatoes do you? You only need to do this for 20-30 seconds. Keep stirring. Don't fry or burn the potatoes! Turn the heat down to low. In small doses, start mashing the cream and butter into the potatoes.

Remember to taste what you are doing. Remember; you can always add more, but you can't take it away once it's in your dish. Then you're cooked!! Get it!! You're cooked!, eh

Once your potatoes are at the right consistency and taste, then start adding scallions and cheese in small doses. Season with salt and pepper.

That's it! That wasn't so hard was it?

The Chocolate Devil's Food Cake was just out of a box. But I did make the icing for it.

So dinner was a big hit. I used every pot and pan in my kitchen's arsenal. So I made a simple gourmet dinner for under $100.00 total (wine and ingredients), and I had three days worth of leftovers. I kick ass!

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