Wednesday, November 12, 2008

on pork

I understand that we were all raised with pork fear.
I know that you were told you'd get worms if your other white meat was even sort of undercooked. Click on this link and pay close attention to the freezing instructions.
This works really well for my family because we buy our meat in bulk locally and have to freeze it in dinner sized portions.

I cook my pork to 150-155 degrees and let it rest for about 10 minutes under some foil. It generally adds about 3-7 more degrees during this rest period leaving me with a juicy tender piece of pork instead of a tough overcooked hunk of yuck. Please don't be afraid. You are really, really selling yourselves short.

Okay, that said...if anyone knows where I can get my hands on some cougar meat, hit me up.


thyme for a friday night fall feast

Its damp. Damp, dark, dreary, chilly and windy. On Friday it was raining in the house. We needed a hearty soul satisfying feast. Whats more feasty than herb stuffed pork tenderloin, rich smashed parsnips( aka smarshnips),buttery asparagus, and warm fresh bread? Nothing, I say! NOTHING. On Thursday night I chopped up fresh thyme, rosemary, a couple cloves of garlic, a pinch of salt and mashed it altogether with a fork. I laid out two cleaned and trimmed (all silver skin removed) pork tenderloins that I kind of flattened with my hand in a dish and smeared the herb and garlic mixture all over one side. I stacked one on top of the other and tied with kitchen string at serving sized intervals. This sat in the fridge all night only to be removed about an hour before cooking time so it wouldn't be so chilly when it hit the pan.

I seared this on all sides in a little bit of oil in the cast iron skillet
and dropped into a 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes. Internal temperature on removal should be about 150. Set this pork aside and as it rests the internal temp will go up a few degrees. In the pan drippings add some chopped shallot and a little garlic. This cooks for about two minutes before you hit it with white wine and scrape the bits off the bottom...cook this down. Let the wine pretty much go away before you add some chicken stock and let it all cook down. Add a little salt and pepper to taste and you should be good to go. This is a super easy meat sauce recipe that can be used in all sorts of contexts.

I cut my loin along the strings tossed them away. I doused it all in the sauce and holy crap.
I mean, really... look.

While the pork was cooking I peeled and chopped my parsnips.

Parsnips are sooo rich a little goes a long way. I chop these all the way to the top discarding the ends. If you use a really large parsnip you may want to cut out the tough center and just use the surrounding less fibrous parts. ( I typically just stick to a little bigger than carrot sized parsnips to avoid the extra work.) Boil these up in salted water or stock, vegetable or chicken, doesn't matter. It doesn't take long to cook these tender. Drain, add a pat of butter, salt and pepper.
and SMASH! I use a potato smasher. I don't put them in a food processor and I do not blend. These are parsnips... a beautiful rustic root that is begging to be rough smashed and enjoyed.
So do it.

They don't look like much... I know, but they taste like a million easily made bucks.

So to finish it all up we had some asparagus with a little butter and dill, which is pretty self explanatory.

Oh yeah! To finish it all up and really bring the feasty aspect all the way home...

(click on this it. its amazing bread)
Friday's bread. With rosemary. Yum.

We are getting a new roof come Thursday...I wonder what we should celebrate with?