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Monday, September 14, 2009

"Leftover" Cooking

Sometimes it's fun to see if you can cook "for free" to use up leftovers or ingredients you already have on hand. Instead of going grocery shopping, look in your well-stocked refrigerator, freezer, or pantry and see what ingredients you have on hand, then create a recipe to use them or do a Google search for recipes using the ingredients you have on hand.

Today we had some leftover pork tenderloin, about 1 to 1.5 pounds, already marinating in some
Annie's Naturals Shiitake & Sesame Vinaigrette salad dressing, that needed to be cooked right away so it didn't go to waste. Did a Google search for pork loin recipes and found this one:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed chicken broth
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed beef broth
3/4 cup peach preserves or apricot preserves
1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped, with about 1 or 2 teaspoons of the sauce
juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
salt and pepper, to taste
2 pork tenderloins, 1 to 1 1/2 pounds each

Preparation:Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan. Sauté the onion until tender and yellow in color. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute longer. Add the chicken and beef broth, preserves, finely chopped chipotle chile with adobo sauce, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir the cornstarch and water mixture into the sauce and continue cooking, stirring, until sauce boils and is thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Heat oven to 400°.

Trim pork tenderloins; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Sear the pork, turning to brown all sides. Put the skillet in the oven and roast the pork to about 160° F on a meat thermometer, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Heat sauce until it begins to simmer. Slice tenderloins and arrange on a serving platter or individual plates. Spoon a little sauce over the slices and pass the rest at the table.Serves 4 to 6.

I adapted the recipe to use what we had on hand and to make it quick and easy to prepare. I sliced the pork tenderloin into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. I placed the slices a couple at a time into a gallon zip top bag and used a meat pounder like this to flatten the slices into thin paillards. I dredged the pork loin paillards in flour seasoned with pepper and browned them over medium high heat in a little olive oil in a skillet for 3 or 4 minutes per side. I then removed the pork loin paillards to a plate and covered them with aluminum foil while I prepared the sauce.

I used only about half the amount of pork in the recipe, and since I opted to dredge the pork in flour I didn't use any corn starch. Where the recipe calls for a can of chicken broth and a can of beef broth, I instead used 6-8 ounces of boiling water into which I dissolved a Knorr chicken bouillon cube. The other ingredients in the recipe I added to taste. I didn't have any peach or apricot preserves; however, I had fig jam left over from a Tapas recipe. It was a great substitution, adding just a hint of sweetness to the sauce.

Simmer the sauce over medium high heat until it reduces and thickens a bit. Then reduce the temperature to low, place the pork paillards back in the sauce, and let them re-heat for a few minutes.

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