Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Spicy pork tenderloin

This is kind of like the spicy cashew chicken I've made before, but this time with pork tenderloin, which is often on sale at stores I frequent. I love pork tenderloin, whether as a schnitzel or, in this case, a Chinese-takeout-inspired dish. This will make four modest servings, two servings if you're ravenous and don't like rice, four if you add more veggies and eat it over rice.

You'll need an ovenproof skillet, saute pan or wok.

One pork tenderloin (usually there are two in a package, each about  1-1/4 pounds each -- it isn't necessary to be too exact). 
Soy sauce
Worcestershire sauce
Honey or brown sugar
Vinegar -- rice wine or red wine are both nice
Fresh ginger
Sweet Red chili sauce -- buy the good stuff in the international food aisle
Canola oil or peanut oil

Veggies: I used onions, baby leeks and mushrooms. You could easily add carrots, broccoli, peas, etc.

Mix together about 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 T honey or brown sugar, 1 T canola oil, 1 T vinegar, about 12 peppercorns, two chopped cloves of garlic and a teaspoon or so of grated fresh ginger. (While you are preparing the garlic and ginger, make enough for the sauce below)

Remove as much of the "silver skin" and fat (there shouldn't be much) from the outside of the tenderloin as you can. Slice the pork about 3/4 inch thick.

Put the above mixture in a zip-lock bag with the pork for at least an hour.

Meanwhile, clean and chop whatever veggies you are using.

Make the sauce. The approximate formula is:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce 
  • 1 T worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbs. ketchup
  • 1 to 3 Tablespoons of sweet chili sauce (start with 1).
  • 4 Tbs. vinegar -- rice wine if you have it, but any kind will do
  • 2 to 4 Tbs. honey Start with 2, then add more if needed after you taste the sauce.
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. (or more) grated fresh ginger
But taste it and adjust to your tastes.

After an hour or two, take the pork out of the fridge and dredge the pieces in cornstarch. Shake the pieces so that there's not too much excess cornstarch, only what will stick to them.

Heat a little canola oil in a heavy skillet or saute pan or wok. You don't need a lot of oil, just a tablespoon or so.

Saute the pork until golden brown on each side but not cooked through and remove to a plate. In the same pan, saute the veggies, starting with the "hardest" ones first (i.e, carrots take longer to cook than mushrooms.) They don't have to be "done," just softened up a bit. While you're doing this, set the oven to 350 degrees.

When the veggies have softened a bit, put the pork on top of them, pour the sauce over them. Then pour about 1 cup water or even chicken stock into the pan from the side so you don't wash the sauce off the top of the pork pieces. (If you add the water to the sauce first, it also won't stick as well to the meat.  We want it to stick to the meat so that carmelization will happen in the next step. But we want the additional liquid so that as the next step happens and the sauce thickens and condenses, we will still have enough sauce.)

Now, put the oven-proof skillet (or whatever) into the pre-heated oven and cook for 30 to 40 minutes. 

If you like rice, make rice. Or quinoa or couscous. 


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About Me

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This is me enjoying a limoncello in Rome on the last night of our trip to Italy. Funny thing is, I don't really like limoncello that much, but thought it would be great in a dessert. And wouldn't you know, The Barefoot Contessa just did a great fruit salad with limoncello. So now I can't. Oh, well.