"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Braised Pork Loin with Thyme


Pork loin is an extremely tender and flavorful cut of meat with very little fat.  Think of it as a beef tenderloin or filet mignon – it is of the same quality and type.  It is more expensive than pork chops and pork shoulder, but every once and a while good to have.  This recipe takes a bit of time in the braising, but worth it.  The braising gives the basis for the brown cream sauce; the thyme is a perfect complement to the taste of pork; and the prunes add the sweetness that combines nicely with the thyme.

* 1 pkg. pork loin (the meat usually comes in two, long filets in one narrow pack, and the weight is about 2 lbs.  One filet is enough for two people, and this recipe is for that amount) – the filets are kept whole

* 2 tsp. dry thyme

* 1/2 cup cream or half-and-half

* 1 cup (approx.) sour cream

* 2 tsp. Maille (French-style Dijon) mustard

* 1/2 cup medium sherry (Amontillado)

* 10 prunes, rehydrated then cut into halves (to rehydrate, place prunes in enough water to cover, leave for one hour or until soft)

- Heat an iron skillet to very high heat until it begins to smoke

- Rub the filet with olive oil just enough to give it a film of oil, no more; and place in the skillet

- Braise the filet until brown (about 10-12 minutes).  Leave the filet in the skillet on one side for about 5 minutes until the side is brown; turn, same time for the other side

- Turn the heat down and cook for approximately 8 minutes.  You should  NOT cut into the meat to test for doneness until you are fairly sure that it ready to be removed.  The way you tell is the softness of the meat.  Press with your index finger.  If the meat seems soft and gives easily it is not done.  If there is no give at all, it is over done.  If you use a meat thermometer the internal temperature should be 140F.  The inside should be pink and a little juicy.  If it is not done, sear the cut end where you have cut to test.  This will seal the juices in.

- Remove the meat

- Add the cream, sour cream, thyme, mustard, sherry in the skillet stirring quickly.  The skillet will be very hot, and the liquids will evaporate quickly, so put them all in and stir until there is no more bubbling.  Taste for thyme, sherry, mustard.  Add a bit of sugar if too sour. Add salt to taste.

- When sauce is done, add the prunes, cook for another 2 minutes

- Cut the pork filet into 2” pieces.  The pieces will be 2” thick, round about 2” in diameter

- Add the pork and heat the mixture over very low heat for about 15 minutes and serve.

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