Pork is one of my favourite sources of protein. It’s inexpensive and so versatile. From some good old fashioned fried bacon for brekkie, to sliced ham in a lunchtime sandwich with AnotherFoodBlogger’s twist of course (check out my harissa recipe here) or to a whole piece of pork roasted for a family dinner, it’s always a winner. To quote Homer Simpson – “pork chops and bacon, my two favourite animals”!! A good friend of mine never ate pork until she came to visit us in NY and I cooked it for her a perfect medium temperature and in her words her mind was blown. Ever since then she eats pork on a regular basis. That’s defo a win for AnotherFoodBlogger!!
Growing up (I mean no offense Mum) pork was always cooked well done in my household. I have a funny feeling it wasn’t just in my house that we suffered through this. I think it was just the way we assumed it should be cooked back in those days. I still get flashbacks of how a lot of food was cooked back then. Pork chops, lamb chops, bacon ALL laid out onto a sheet of tin foil and popped under the grill. I think the foil was so that we “thought” we could get away without washing the tray until about 5 dinners in and there was just this mound of fat that has “somehow” managed to sneak underneath – can anyone else relate to this or did my family just have terrible habits?? Let’s also give a shout out to apple sauce – what would we have done without it as we chewed dry pork around our mouth wishing we were eating cardboard instead!! Yummo….
Truthfully though, my mum is a great cook. She used to cook lots of great meals for us all like coq au vin, homemade pies and salmon was always a staple (Dad is a fisherman). Saturday was always fillet steak night where “conveniently” my good friend Wendel would just happen to drop by for dinner of steak, mushrooms, onions, potatoes and a good ol’ pack of Knorr pepper sauce. I guess when you have 3 demanding kids all playing different sports, a husband working late after starting his own company and your immediate family in a different country it gets increasingly harder to put out “gourmet” meals everyday. Oh, and lets not forget that this was the time when microwave chips became all the rage so it wasn’t as if she was getting much help from the the large food companies taking over the market!!
I must confess it was only about 6 years ago that I stopped cooking my pork to the point of no return and my mind too was blown. NEVER again will I serve well done pork – well, that is unless I have one too many wines and forget about the dinner in the oven!!
Right, back to pork. For me, the tenderloin (if cooked correctly) is one of my favourite cuts and luckily WAY cheaper than beef tenderloin. Here in Brisbane pork tenderloin is about $9-15 a kg and Beef tenderloin goes for about $35+ a kilo depending upon where you go so that’s some difference right there. The keys to cooking any piece of meat are on point seasoning, hot pan for a good sear and paying attention to the cooking temperature. Check out my article HERE on cooking meat to help you. So next time when cooking pork, if you aren’t already doing so, aim for a nice medium temperature that has just a slight touch of pink through the center – you won’t regret it.
This dish was inspired by a few different meals I have had in different restaurants and in doing so I took ideas from them all to bring it together. It’s a wonderfully earthy dish with the shiitake mushrooms, onions and spinach but that honey & mustard adds a beautiful punch & sweetness. Combined with correctly cooked pork it’s a very simple meal that can be done quickly any day of the week or even for a dinner party. So get yourself down to your local butcher or hit your local farmers market like I do in Brisbane and pick yourself up some pork tenderloins and get cracking on my recipe below.