Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin

July 11th, 2013

There are more posts coming on our trip to France, but I felt the need to get back into the kitchen at Lake Lure and do some cooking.  I haven’t abandoned France all together because this recipe came from Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.  Pork tenderloin is such a versatile cut of meat.  You can cook it whole on the grill, slice and pound it into medallions, or in this case just cut it into eight even chunks and saute it briefly with flavorings.

Family and friends stayed at our cottage while we were on our trip.  I had left a bag of oranges in the produce drawer of my refrigerator and for some reason they were still there when we got home.  Not wanting to waste them, I found this recipe that puts oranges to a good use.

This was a quick meal to pull together.  I served the tenderloin with couscous and broccoli.  The orange sauce flavored with cardamom was very refreshing.

I had many wonderful meals while traveling, but it is good to be back in my own kitchen cooking the kinds of food that make me happy.


FRESH ORANGE PORK TENDERLOIN (Adapted from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan)

4 large navel oranges
1 large pork tenderloin, about 1 1/2 pounds
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon mild oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 medium onion, finely chopped

Peel 2 of the oranges all the way down to the flesh, then cut between the membranes to release the segments.  Cut the segments crosswise in half.  Remove the zest from the other 2 oranges with a zester or vegetable peeler, being careful to avoid te white cottony pith if using a peeler; if you removed the zest with a peeler, slice the strips into lon thin strands.  Cut the zest into pieces 1 to 2 inches long.  Squeeze the juice from the 2 zested oranges.

Cut a large tenderloin into 8 pieces.  Try to get the thickness of the pieces as even as possible, so they will all cook in the same amount of time.  Pat the slices dry between paper towels.

Put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter and oil.  When the mixture is hot, add the pork slices, without crowding, and brown them for 2 to 3 minutes on each side; season with salt and pepper and cardamom when you turn the pieces over.  Add the orange zest, juice, and onion, season everything with salt and pepper, and give the pan a stir.  When the sauce produces one little bubble, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan.  Cook the pork at the gentlest simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the orange segments, cover, and continue to simmer for 3 minutes more, or until the pork is tender and cooked through.

Remove the lid, and if you think the sauce needs to be cooked down a bit, transfer the pork and orange segments to a warm serving platter and boil the sauce until it reaches the consistency you want.  Taste for salt and pepper and serve immediately.  Garnish with fresh sage or parsley if desired.

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Jambalaya – A New Orleans Tradition

February 16th, 2013

We love New Orleans.  We have been there several times and are always charmed by the food, culinary talent, and history of the city.  We don’t spend much time on  infamous Bourbon Street; been there, done that years ago.  But there is so much more to the city.  One of my favorite shops in The French Quarter is Lucullus.

It is a wonderful antique shop that imports all kinds of French antique cookware.  I have a beautiful copper pot, circa early 1900’s, that I bought from the shop at least 15 years ago.  The name of the shop has great gastronomic significance.  Lucullus was a Roman general and politician in 80 BC.  He was known for his decadent banqueting and interest in food.  Today Lucullan means lavish, extravagant, and gourmet; ie, a Lucullan delight.

There are many wonderful restaurants in New Orleans.  My first food epiphany occurred in New Orleans.  I was newly married and we traveled there to a conference that my husband was attending.  Our friends, John and Georgia, who were also attending the conference, had heard of a small restaurant that was supposed to have great food.  We traveled across a bridge to reach it.  I wish I could remember its name.  It is long gone now.  We just called our old friends and they remembered the name.  It was called La Ruth’s.  Thank goodness for friends whose minds are still sharp.  There were only 30 seats but La Ruth’s was always busy.  Both David and I ordered Trout Meuniere.  Even today I can remember the taste of the buttery lemon flavored fish.  I think that was the beginning of my understanding that food could be a transporting experience.  We both still talk about that meal and have tried to duplicate the experience.  We are still working on it.  But sometimes there is only one first time; impossible to recapture.  I wonder if Julia Child ever duplicated her first experience with Sole Meuniere.

Today New Orleans is home to many culinary legends.  Among them is John Besh, a native son of Southern Louisianna.  He has nine restaurants.  Among them is La Provence in Lacombe, just outside of New Orleans.  Set on picturesque grounds with an extensive kitchen garden, La Provence looks like a typical Provencal auberge.  The stucco, tiled roof restaurant features an antique French bar, a huge stucco fireplace and oak beamed ceilings.  It has a sophisticated menu of French and Cajun inspired dishes.  But the closest thing you can find to Jambalaya would be a Quail Gumbo.  Nonetheless the recipe that I am featuring today is a John Besh jambalaya that was featured in People magazine of all places.

I must give credit where credit is due.  David found this recipe, bought the ingredients and cooked it.  He is still smarting over the fact that I never mentioned that he made the Braised Short Ribs that we had at Christmas.  Jambalaya is a Louisiana Creole dish with Spanish and French influences.  Meats and seafood cooked with rice is reminiscent of the Spanish paella.  The Provencal word Jambon, meaning ham, is more than likely the basis of the word’s origin.  David included both chicken and pork in this dish, along with andouille sausage and shrimp.  It was delicious.

It is good straight out of the pot.  But I “fancied up” the presentation a bit.  I saved some of the shrimp, sausages and sauce separately.  After the jambalaya was done I placed a serving of it in a round bowl, packed it down and then inverted it into an individual serving bowl.  I surrounded it with sauce and sausage pieces and placed three shrimp on the top.  I sprinkled it with snipped chives for a little color.  This makes a lot so it is good for company.

JAMBALAYA (Adapted from John Besh)

3 slices of bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 lb andouille sausage, sliced
3 cups uncooked, converted Louisiana white rice
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2-1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
5 cups chicken broth
1 cup tomato sauce (I used Rao’s Marinara sauce)
1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (More for presentation)
2 cups diced cooked pork and chicken
3 green onions, chopped
Hot sauce

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, cook bacon over medium-high heat until fat is rendered, about 3 minutes.  Add onions, stirring often until browned.  Add green pepper, celery and sausage; cook, stirring often, 3 minutes longer.  Add rice, paprika, thyme and red pepper flakes.

Add chicken broth, tomato sauce, pork, chicken and green onions; bring to a boil, stirring well.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 18 minutes until rice is done.  (Add shrimp after rice has cooked for about 5 minutes into the process.)  Remove from heat.  Seasons with salt and hot sauce.

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Crispy Pork Medallions

November 12th, 2012

There is nothing more versatile than a pork tenderloin.  OK.  Some of you may say that a chicken breast is better suited to imaginative preparations.  But there are so many things you can do with a pork tenderloin;, so many flavor profiles that marry with it.  The added advantage is that it is always moist and tender, as opposed to the tendency of chicken breasts to dry out.

This simple preparation is a snap.  Cut a pork tenderloin into 8 individual pieces, coat with Dijon mustard, bread it in panko crumbs and seasonings and saute with a brief turn in the oven until done.  It remains moist and succulent.

Served with oven roasted butternut squash and green beans, it is one of those meals that I will remember and make again.

The recipe came from Cooking Light.  Today I am making pork tenderloin pulled pork in the crock pot.  If you can’t tell, I am taking advantage of a great sale on pork tenderloins.  I am also working on stocking my empty freezer here in Florida.


2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 8 medallions
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Rub mustard evenly over pork medallions.  Combine panko, thyme parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Dredge pork in panko mixture.  Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add pork; saute 2 minutes or until golden brown.  Turn pork.  Place skillet in oven; bake for 8 minutes or until pork reaches 145 degrees F.  Let stand 3 minutes.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.