Pork that is brined is fantastic.. almost can’t beat it, except for an exceptional steak. The below gets you started on a great dinner for your family and to try something new. If you don’t have pork tenderloins, you can substitute pork chops. I would say 4 thin chops or two thick chops for the recipe below.
Brining anything adds more moisture and flavor to meats.. the end result is juicy and wonderful. If you don’t have time for the brine, just be very diligent in checking cooking times and temps. This holds true for chicken as well.
Lets get to it!
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh oregano
2 TBS salt
3 TBS sugar
3 Cups water
1 TBS peppercorns roughly crushed
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 or 2 9oz Pork Tenderloin(s)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and rough chop (1 TBS jared or powder)
1 TBS dijon mustard
2 tsp Fresh Thyme (1 tsp dried)
1 tsp fresh oregano (.5 tsp dried)
2 pinches of salt
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp cardamom
2 tsp cumin
1 tbs paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
2 TBS olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low salt low fat chicken stock
1/2 cup cream (lite, heavy, milk, or sour)
Any remaining rub
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS butter
1 cup of rice per tenderloin. Follow directions.
start steps 1 – 9 about 2 – 48 hours in advance depending on your time schedule. Once steps 1 – 9 are done, this is a fast week night dinner. You can save time by skipping steps 1 – 3 and 5 – 6 and using the shorter time for step 9.
- Mix all of the brine ingredients well in a Ziplock bag and let sugar and salt dissolve
- Add in the Pork Tenderloin(s)
- Squeeze out the extra air, ziplock and let sit in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours or over night for best results. You can skip this step if you are short on time, however, brining adds a lot of moisture to the pork helping to prevent dry pork if you happen to over cook it slightly.
- Put all of the Rub ingredients into a food processor/chopper and mix until all ingredients are combined and garlic and ginger are minced. Set aside or put in fridge if longer than 2 hours before needing it.
- ONCE BRINING is COMPLETE:
- Remove pork from brine. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel. Discard brine.
- Take a sharp knife and cut slits all over the pork.
- Take 1/2 of the rub and massage it into the pork being sure to get it into the cuts made. Add additional rub if needed. Save the remaining for the sauce.
- Let sit at room temperature about 1/2 hour or in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Be sure to bring to room temp 1/2 before cooking.
- About 15 minutes before cooking, pre-heat oven to 425 degrees and prepare rice according to the package instructions if serving over rice. Total cooking time for the pork is about 25 – 30 minutes.
- Heat a cast iron or oven proof skillet on the stove over high heat.
- Add 1 TBS olive oil and1 TBS butter and heat until foam subsides. Reduce heat to med-high.
- Sear pork on all sides (about 1 minute on each side).
- Put in oven and roast. After about 10 minutes, flip it. Put it back in for another 10 – 15 minutes (you need to check it one or two times after the 15 min mark) or until the meat thermometer reaches 150 degrees when placed in the center of the meat and the meat is nice and brown on the outside. Once you remove it, it will continue to cook longer.
- Pull out of the oven. Remove the pork from the pan, and put on a cutting board to rest. RESIST the urge to slice into it. If you cut into it too early, you will loose all of the great moisture you worked so hard to gain.
- In the mean time, add the wine and chicken stock to the pan to release the bits and flavor on the bottom of the pan (no need to really turn the burner on yet as the pan will be smoking hot).
- Stir in remaining rub ingredients and saute over med heat for about 2 -3 minutes. Add in the cream. Let simmer and reduce slightly for another 2 minutes, and taste. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper
- Slice pork, serve over rice and spoon the sauce over the pork.
Great side dishes are steamed broccoli, asparagus or green beans. This pork and sauce have so much flavor you don’t need to add much to the vegetables or rice.
If you happen to have left over rice, you can use it here. I happened to have about 2 cups of left over white rice from a chinese take out earlier this week. I added it to the sauce in step 17. YUMMM!
OTHER RUB OPTIONS:
Pork works great with many flavors. This is one idea for a rub. The same brine above can be used for many different rubs and the same basic sauce recipe can be used as well. Always remember pork can be salty, so use salt sparingly. You can always add to the sauce if needed. Other ideas for rubs are:
Teriyaki: 2 TBS of teriyaki sauce, 1 tsp fresh ground pepper, 1 TBS diced, powdered or jarred ginger, 4 garlic cloves, 1 TBS sesame oil, 1 TBS olive oil. Blend all in a chopper/food processor or blender. Rub over pork and let sit at least 30 minutes and up to over night.
Garlic Mustard: 3 TBS dijon mustard, 7 cloves garlic, fresh pepper, pinch of salt, 2 TBS fresh dill (or tarragon, oregano, thyme), 2 TBS olive oil. Blend all together, taste and adjust seasonings.
Curry: 2 TBS curry powder (hot or mild or somewhere in between, up to you), 3 cloves garlic, 1 tsp cardamom, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tsp ground cumin, 2 tsp tumeric, 2 tsp salt, 2 TBS olive oil, 1 tsp paprika, 2 tsp ground mustard, 1 tsp coriander. Blend all together, taste and adjust seasonings.
If you don’t have the individual spices, you can just stick with the pre-blended curry powder, garlic, oil and use some dijon mustard.
Rosemary and Garlic: Yes, garlic in about everything. Why not – it is sooo goooooooooooood. So on to the list of ingredients: about 3 good sized pinches of rosemary – fresh or dried. a pinch of salt, 2 tsp fresh ground pepper, 2 TBS olive oil. Blend all together, taste and add additional salt if necessary. A little Dijon works here too.
Those are just a few ideas. Let your imagination go and try different things. Always taste the rub first and go light on salt until you taste. You can always add more salt in the sauce. That is your better bet.
If you have questions or alternative ideas, I would love to hear them.