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Pork is one of my favourite sources of protein. Pork tenderloin is probably my favourite cut of pork. 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 NYC. I cooked it for her a perfect medium temperature and in her words her mind was blown. Ever since then she eats pork tenderloin on a regular basis. That’s defo a win for AnotherFoodBlogger!!
Pork of old!
Growing up (I mean no offense Mum) pork was always cooked well done in my household. To be honest I don’t think 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. Which 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. 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. Mind 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. 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. Pick yourself up some pork tenderloins and get cracking on my recipe below.
- 400 g pork tenderloin trimmed
- 2 kipfler potatoes
- 1/2 red onion sliced
- 6 shiitake mushroom sliced or halved depending upon size
- 1 clove garlic - crushed
- 1 slice panchetta or bacon cut into lardons
- 1 handful spinach
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Par boil the potatoes until tender enough to easily pierce with knife - approx 10 to 15 mins
- Season meat with oil, salt & pepper.
- Mix the honey & mustard together and set aside.
- Sear pork in a hot pan until brown - approx 2-3 mins.
- Place in the oven at 180c for 10-15 mins until internal temperature is 58c/140f.
- Half way through the pork being in the oven, oil the 2nd pan and turn to medium heat.
- Add potatoes and cook for 2 mins until golden brown on one side, add panchetta and cook for a further 2 mins.
- Add mushrooms, onion & garlic. Cook for a further 5 mins or until veg is cooked
- At this point remove pork from oven and allow to rest covered lightly in foil for 4 mins
- Add spinach to pan, remove from the heat and stir. The residual heat will wilt the spinach sufficiently.
- To serve place drizzle of honey mustard on plate, top with vegetable mixture and place the sliced pork on top.
- sharp knife
- chopping board
- frying pan x 2
- serving spoon
- you don't need to season the vegetables much if using panchetta as it is already quite salty
- it's very important to leave the pork rest after cooking so that you don't lose the juices and dry it out
- if you like your pork cooked a little more then leave it in the oven for another 4 mins