Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Simple Premise - Amazing Flavor

Good evening everyone! Last week we finally dove into the delicious world of Omaha steaks. This week, we're continuing to sample the world of high end meats - but we're moving away from the steak and into a whole new category: pork. Ever since we're reintroduced pork to our menu, we've had great luck with some very tasty recipes. Now that we're upgrading the pork to these high quality cuts of pork loin (pictured below) I'm anxious to see what sort of results we can achieve. Let's get cooking!

The Recipe: Roasted Pork With Lentils
Original Recipe Found In: Food Network Magazine - January/February 2012 Issue

What You'll Need:

3/4 Cup Dried Griend Lentils
3/4 Pound Cubed, Peeled Butternut Squash
2 Bay Leaves
2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
6 Sprigs of Thyme (Leaves only)
1 Large Pork Tenderloin (1 1/4 Pounds)
2 Tablespoons Breadcrumbs (Panko preferred)
2 Slices Bacon (Chopped)
4 Shallots (Thinly sliced)
1 Stalk Celery (Diced)
1/2 Cup Dry Red Wine
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley

Begin by preheating your oven to 450 degrees. In a medium sauce pan, add the lentils, butternut squash, bay leaves and 2 1/2 cups of water. Place the sauce pan over medium high heat and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pan and cook for 25 minutes until the squash is tender and the lentils have plumped up in size. (Be sure to drain any excess water and fish out the bay leaves before serving)

This combination of two great, earthy flavors will really add to the base of the dish. There's a lot of deep flavor in lentils, as we've found out before, and butternut squash is well known for its deep earthy flavors. Add that to the dijon, pork and bacon and you're building quite a flavor profile.

Speaking of the the pork, begin preparing the pork by combining the mustard and thyme in a small bowl. Brush the mixture over the pork and place the meat on a large baking sheet. Cover the pork with the bread crumbs and place the baking sheet in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the center of the tenderloin registers 145 degrees.

While you're pork is cooking, combine the shallots, bacon and celery in a medium skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the bacon is crispy and the shallots have turned golden brown. This should take about 5 to 8 minutes. Finally, add the wine and cook until it is completely incorporated and evaporated - this should take an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and set this mixture aside.

Remove the pork from the oven and let rest on a plate (loosely tented with foil) for 5 minutes before slicing and placing upon the lentil / squash mixture. Spoon the bacon shallot mixture over the pork and serve.

The Results:

This dish is both cheap (lentils, squash and pork are all very affordable ingredients) and amazingly simple. The resulting flavor, however, was anything but simple. Deep earthy undertones greatly complimented the zesty pork and the bacon / shallot topping added another layer of depth to the entire flavor profile. This dish is certainly a great way to start of a week. The best part is, it's low fat and low calorie, coming in at about 450 calories. Healthy, easy and tastes great? You can't beat that!

That's all we have for you this evening. Maggie takes to the kitchen tomorrow night to cook up a dish she's been searching for a long while. Tune in tomorrow night to see what she has cooking. Until then,


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