Maple Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloin.

It’s finally getting nice and hot outside, so I wanted to make something we could do on the BBQ. We haven’t had pork in a while, and one of my

Finished Meal

Finished Meal

favourite cuts is the tenderloin–and it’s great on the grill. Only yesterday we had a thunderstorm warning, so I decided to roast it instead. The recipe below was inspire by one I found on http://www.allrecipes.com, for Maple Marinated Pork Tenderloin.

The recipe is simple, and you can follow the link for details. Basically, the marinate consists of maple syrup and dijon mustard with some garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Let the meat marinade for several hours. I let it go overnight, then turned it over in the morning to soak again until I got home from work. Be sure to use some of the marinade to baste it, and definitely be sure to leave it in the fridge.

The recipe above is for the grill, but it’s easily done in the oven as well. Pre-heat the oven to 350° F, and put the meat in a shallow pan. You can drizzle it with some more of the marinade, but it should be discarded or cooked after that; after eight hours of soaking, it’ll be filled with bacteria. Cooking it will kill the bacteria, so if you use “raw” marinade to baste the pork while it’s cooking, make sure you give it long enough to cook. I played it safe and discarded it.

The recipe also called for a glaze, but I decided to make some from scratch instead of reducing and cooking the marinade as suggested. It’s the same recipe as before: maple syrup, then a dollop of mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Only this time, I brought it to a boil and let it boil for about a minute. This reduced the sauce to make it nice and thick. If you draw a line in the pan with a spoon, the glaze should be thick enough that the line stays. Note the picture below: that line was there for several minutes, perfect for a nice thick glaze.

Cook the tenderloin for between 25 and 35 minutes, checking to see when it’s done. It’s pork, so it should be cooked all the way through; you can use a meat thermometer, but we just cut into it. When it’s done, slice it into medallions and drizzle with the glaze–not too much, it’s pretty sweet! We added some roasted veggies and edamame for a complete meal.

The vegetables were easy. I boiled the potatoes and carrots for about two minutes, then drained them. While they were still hot I added a couple tablespoons of butter, and about a tablespoon each of rosemary and fresh dill. Mix it up and put it in the oven when the tenderloin has about ten minutes left. Easy!

As for the Maple Syrup–store bought is fine, but we lie to make our own. It’s incredibly simple.

Just put sugar and water in a pan and bring to a boil–the ratio is always one part water to two parts sugar. Once it boils clear, take it off the burner and add some maple flavouring–or, actually, any kind of flavouring you like. (Use almond extract instead for some tasty syrup for your waffles!) Once it cools, you’ll have a moderately thin syrup; boil it just a tad longer and it’ll thicken easily. Also, if you do equal parts sugar and water and forego the flavouring, you’ll have Sugar Syrup, a perfect sweet addition to any cold, hot or alcoholic drink because it dissolves immediately.

Now, after all that, I should assure you: the dish above looks a whole lot more complicated than it actually was. All of the prep–aside from the initial marinade–was done while the tenderloin cooked, so the meal was on the table in about 40 minutes. Perfect supper for a rainy day!

James

 

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Easy Curry Chicken

Serve over rice

I’m a big fan of Indian food–though I’ll admit I don’t have much experience cooking it for myself. On my list of things to learn to cook are some good traditional Indian dishes–paneer, aloo jeera, aloo gobi, and a litany of others. We’ll get to it some day.

In the meantime, my mother-in-law has a great and very simple recipe for curried chicken. Both of us were tired from a long week at work last night, but this only took about half an hour to whip up–and most of that waiting for the rice to cook.

We used one chicken breast and ended up with three servings–lunch the next day!–but you could use two with the same proportion for the rest of the ingredients, and have a larger yield. You’ll need:

  • Chicken breasts, cut into large-ish chunks
  • Onions
  • Flour
  • Cooking oil/butter
  • Vegetables (optional; cut into chunks)
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp dried dill (or a healthy handful fresh)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Cup chicken broth

Dredge the chunks of chicken in flour, and brown it lightly on all sides in a skillet. You don’t want to cook it too much right now! Throw in the chopped onions and saute until they’re transparent.

At this point, I realized we didn’t have any onions–so I cut up some sweet peppers and tossed them in instead. You could add pretty well any vegetables you want; carrots, cauliflower, etc. Peas would go great with this recipe, though I’d put them in not long before it’s served so they’re nice and crisp.

Once everything is browned and sauteed, sprinkle the mixture with the curry and dill. Add more or less to taste. If you’re using dried dill, remember to crush it in your hand before putting it in the pan; this should be done with all dried herbs, as it allows the oils to get through and improves the flavour. Also, when using dried herbs the general rule is to use three times as much as fresh–but play with it according to your tastes.

After adding the spices and herbs, add your broth and mix well. Simmer, covered, until the chicken is done. This is where most of the cooking takes place; if you cooked it too much while browning, the chicken will absorb less of the flavour from the spices, and won’t be as tender and juicy.

Once the chicken is done, add your mayonnaise. You could use plain yoghurt as well; the idea is to thicken the broth to make a nice sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. At this point, I turned up the heat to full for a minute or two, letting the water boil off to make an even thicker sauce.

Serve hot over rice. We added some sliced almonds–why not?

This is one of those dishes where you can play around with the recipe any way you like. Add more vegetables; toss some toasted almonds in there, and so on. We tried cooking the rice with tumeric, but didn’t add enough, so we’ll try more next time. We also both decided that next time we try this, we’ll be adding some raisins for a nice touch of sweetness.

James and Olivia

Garam Masala Chicken

Olivia has a recipe for a really nice Indian Spiced potato salad, and we’ve been looking for the perfect pairing. We thought to bar-b-Que tonight, but changed our mind when we found this recipe for Garam Masala Chicken at Allrecipes.com.

It’s a simple recipe, and we had all the ingredients at hand–what could be better? So we defrosted the chicken, thinking to do a half recipe (we normally freeze chicken breasts in portions for two).

Unfortunately, we only had one chicken breast. So rather than do a quarter recipe, we decide to get creative.

I won’t reproduce the original recipe here; suffice it to say that we followed it most of the way. The main change was that we cut the chicken into strips, rather than cooking it whole. This reduced the cooking time from twenty minutes closer to ten–which also meant the vegetables were more crispy, the way we prefer them.

We still did a half recipe, but added more veggies instead of the second chicken breast. I imagine that we could have substituted the chicken for more chick peas as well, but we had enough in the salad.

We browned the chicken on both sides, then added the spices and water and let it simmer covered for a couple of minutes. Then we added the sweet peppers; after letting them soften a touch we threw in the rest of the vegetables, and another half teaspoon of masala. We kept adding water to make a sort of sauce with all the spices, and ended up using enough water for a full recipe. We boiled the water to let our “sauce” thicken, just enough that it coated everything nicely. A bit of tossing around, and we were done!

The altered recipe worked well for us, though I’m sure the original is great too. Next time we’d add a bit more salt, a bit more masala, and probably put the tomatoes in just before the dish is finished-nobody likes a mushy tomato.

James