Monday, October 26, 2009

Yikes! Where Have I Been? Pork Tenderloin & Warm Brussel Sprouts Salad

Well, it is hard to be a Weekend Gourmet, when you have even less time than usual. Having my husband deployed for a year was a challenge and studying for and passing the Hawaii Bar in the middle of it all (work and child) kept me busy. But I digress.

Getting back to cooking will be fun, now that my husband is home from Iraq and I have someone other than my 5 year old to appreciate a good meal. Tonight, I am making something different that I think my husband will enjoy --- particularly, since he is on a mostly meat and veggie eating plan these days, having lost about 50 pounds, over the past year. Other than the potatoes, this is a low-carb menu.

So, Tonight's Menu:

*Slow Cooked Pork Tenderloin with Onions and Crispy-Fried Sage
*Warm Brussel Sprouts, Celery, Mushroom and Bacon Salad
*Sliced White Potatoes

Pretty gosh darn easy and made with what I could find in my fridge.

For the Tenderloin:
Lightly rub sea salt on one package (2 pieces of meat) Pork Tenderloin. Don't over-salt (the chicken broth you cook the pork in provides additional salt.) Sear over med-high heat in heavy cast iron pot with 1 Tbsp. EVOO until browned on all sides. While pork is browning, chop 1 med. white onion. Remove meat from pan and set aside, saving juices. Add chopped onion and 1 tbp chopped fresh sage to same pan, Saute with an additional TBS EVOO, if needed, until golden. Add meat and juices back into pot and add one box Organic Chicken Broth, scraping browned bits off the bottom of the pan and into the "sauce" with a spatula. Cover and cook on medium heat for 1 hour (Or use slow cooker.) Remove meat from pan and place on serving dish. Broth from meat/onion already should be reduced in pan to about 1 cup. If there is less, add a little water. If more, then reduce, over high heat. Add 1/2 cup of half and half to sauce. Stir. Pour sauce on meat serving platter and use, like gravy, on meat and potatoes. Optional: Sprinkle with crispy sage topping just before serving.

For Crispy Sage Topping:
Finely chop 3 tbsp. fresh sage leaves. Melt and heat 1 tsp butter in a small fry pan on high heat. When butter is hot, toss in chopped sage and fry until crisp, when butter is browned. Remove from heat and spoon crispy sage topping on top of meat. May be made in advance, while meat is cooking.

For the Salad:

Chop and then cook 3 pieces of bacon in a skillet on low heat, until soft but not crispy. Slice and add about 15 medium-sized button mushrooms and 1 TBS butter. Saute for about 5 minutes, until mushrooms have softened and reduced. (If you choose to omit the bacon or butter, you may substitute 2 tbsp. EVOO & add a little bit more salt.) Add 12 large brussel spouts sliced in half, sliced-side down in the pan, with other ingredients covering the sprouts. Turn up heat to medium, cover and cook for about 10-12 minutes. The sliced side of sprouts will carmelize and the rest will steam. Add 1 cup chopped celery. Toss together, cook for a few minutes more until celery is just slightly soft. Lightly salt, to taste. Turn off heat, transfer to bowl and let cool to room temperature. When ready to serve, toss with 3 cups mixed field greens. Eat without dressing or toss with a light balsamic vinegar dressing. Veggie mixture may be served on its own, as well, if you prefer to omit the greens.

The Sliced Potatoes:
Wash 2-3 large baking potatoes. Poke with fork and either Bake for an hour (or if in a hurry, cook in microwave on high for 15 minutes). Slice crosswise, in about 1/3 inch slices, immediately before serving. Drizzle with sauce from meat. Omit the potatoes if you are on a low carb diet.

Serves 6.

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