Truth be told, pork isn’t my favorite protein. I like bacon and there’s nothing I like better in my lasagna than Italian-seasoned ground sausage, but things like pork chops really don’t sing to me. No matter which way I’ve prepared pork, it’s just meh to me unless I dress it in some type of sauce… Which kind of defeats the purpose in my opinion. A well-cooked protein should be able to stand on its own without adornment, right?
Maybe not. Maybe that’s the beauty of such a mild protein like pork. After all, I don’t take this issue with tofu. Tofu’s whole job is to absorb any flavor its cooked and/or marinated in. Maybe then, my second issue with pork is how it’s so very easy to overcook. The only thing worse than overcooked chicken is overcooked pork. It’s just as dry, and so tough to boot! Like chicken, there’s not much to resuscitate overcooked pork. You can only hope to smother it with something good and have a glass of water standing by.
Overcoming this issue means practicing with different cuts and maybe buying a better meat thermometer. I have a simple meat thermometer that I got cheap at a grocery store, but after using it twice, I’m starting to doubt it’s accuracy… It’s from a good brand, but for anyone I’ve cooked for; if you ever received overcooked chicken from me, I am wholeheartedly sorry and a little ashamed that my reputation has been a little tarnished.
After making stuffed pork chops last week for St. Patrick’s Day, I had a good bit of stuffing left over so I packed it away in a freezer bag to freeze for later. I don’t ordinarily recommend this due to the possibility of cross contamination, bacterial growth, etc, but I was able to estimate my usage for the pork chops and not contaminate the entire batch. I don’t like waste and the same page that the pork chop recipe was on, also gave a tip for stuffed pork tenderloin. so win-win!
The recipe called for a 3-1/2lb tenderloin, but the biggest cut in the meat department at my local Sprouts was only 1-1/2lb tenderloins. This actually worked out better for us since for now it’s just the two of us (plus my dislike of pork…) Instead of having my butcher butterfly the tenderloin, I decided in advance I would do this myself. This wasn’t out of any sort of bravado on my part. The store was still in the thick of the recent COVID-19 hysteria. Despite the kind insistence on the butcher’s part, I spared him the trouble.
Using a sharp knife to create a long, deep incision down the length of the tenderloin was rather easy honestly. A couple of long, smooth strokes was all it took. It even left me ample time to shred some Somerdale St. Patrick’s Day Cheddar to mix into the stuffing. I firmly packed the tenderloin cavity with the stuffing-cheese mix and wrapped strips of bakers twine at 1-1/2in to 2in increments before tying them off tight in an effort to keep the stuffing contained.
I heated a little oil in my Lodge cast iron and seared the tenderloin for 2min on each side and placed it in a sprayed baking dish. I baked the tenderloin for 35min until a thermometer in the stuffing registered 140°F. I allowed the tenderloin to rest for 15min while I prepared buttermilk mashed potatoes with more of that creamy Cheddar added. After all this, did I enjoy the tenderloin since enjoying it in a new light? Truthfully, it garnered rave reviews from The Mr, but me… It was still just meh. It still needed something.
Acting upon the advice from a coworker and The Mr, the following evening I threw together a glaze for the leftovers. I scooped about 1/4c of Sprouts Mango Pineapple Preserves into a warm frying pan with about 1/4c of hot chicken broth. When this was nice and bubbly, I hit the mixture with 2tbsp of heavy cream and 2tsp of honey. I allowed this to reduce before drizzling on the remaining reheated tenderloin. I can’t begin to tell how this made the difference. ALL the difference! So for future reference, this may be the only way I will likely be enjoying pork from now on.
What is your least favorite protein?
Currently Reading: Good Housekeeping Magazine, May 2017 issue