Mom's birthday - delish dinner for three...
|For weeks I have been thinking about what to make for her birthday dinner. I wanted it to be something special but different from the norm. I came across a couple things that gave me some ideas but nothing that excited me.. until I saw Marianne's recipes for Mushroom Soup and Tenderloin "in Crosta". I immediately invisioned dunking a crispy, herbed bread paired with a tender and juicy slice of savory pork into a hearty broth then barely making it to my mouth before a single drop could hit my plate. My gawd.. it sounded just way too good.|
For the herb garlic rub:
small handfull fresh rosemary leaves
slightly larger hadfull fresh sage leaves
zest of one lemon (this is my addition, I recommend it)
4-5 cloves garlic
small handfull sea salt
Chop all ingredients together until very, very fine--I actually grated the zest and garlic on a microplane and combined it with everything else. Spread out on a large dinner plate and leave out until dry--1 or 2 days. Once dry, you can store this for a week or two in a tightly sealed jar. Lebovitz recommends this for any number of purposes, including mixing it with olive oil and using it as a dipping sauce for bread.
For the tenderloin:
one smallish pork tenderloin
1 french batard (like a fatter baguette)
herb garlic rub
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat some olive oil in a skillet over high heat and sear the pork quickly on all sides. Transfer to a plate. Slice the batard lengthwise and drizzle each half generously with some olive oil. Sprinkle with the herb garlic rub--be careful to not use too much or the bread will be too salty. Sandwich the browned tenderloin between the two slices and wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Cook directly on the oven rack for about an hour and fifteen minutes (the meat should reach 160 degrees and still be pink in the center. Yes, it is done enough). Remove from oven and let sit, wrapped in foil, for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
2 Tbsp butter
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 8-oz. package button mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 6-oz. package cremini (baby Bella) mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 c. homemade chicken stock*
1 c. vegetable stock
.5 c. dry white wine
1 beef bouillion cube
fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
fresh tarragon, coarsely chopped
fresh ground pepper
*The chicken stock I made was pretty thick and viscous, so I chose to mix it with some boxed vegetable stock I had on hand. Feel free to use 2 cups of whatever stock you have instead.
Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat until foamy. Add mushrooms and saute until the excess moisture evaporates and they are golden brown. Mushrooms love to soak up oil, but they do release it, so fight the temptation to add more. Spoon into a bowl and set aside.
I followed Marianne's recipes almost to the T. The only changes I made were cooking the pork until well done, because I know my mother.. she will not put a piece of pink pork near her lips! hehe Then, I couldn't find a french batard, so I chose an artisan roasted garlic bread, which was fabulous and I really think added to the herb/lemon/garlic rub. And finally, just doubling the recipe for the soup because there were 3 of us and I knew I'd want leftovers =)
The tenderloin came out as tender as Marianne promised. The rub for the bread was well worth starting this recipe two nights before the "main event", as my mom and sister can attest to. I had to push them away from my counter where it was resting so that there would actually be some bread to go with the tenderloin. They wouldn't stop tearing off pieces and shoving it into their mouths! And the soup.. it was just so flavorful and EASY and QUICK! I know there are a lot of soups out there that you can whip up in a jiff.. but this soup tasted as if it had been simmering all day long. And wow.. it really did pair well with that tenderloin - dunking the bread along with the meat into the soup was every bit as good as the way I'd imagined it! I added a simple side dish of roasted new red potatoes and zucchini. Slice the veggies then throw 'em onto a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over them along with a good sprinkle of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and snipped chives then toss them with the tips of your fingers before situating them in a single layer. Place the baking sheet on the rack below your tenderloin "in crosta" for the last 40 minutes of baking time, flipping them over once mid-way.
Kids.. run. Do not walk to your kitchen to create these fabulous recipes for yourselves.. your lips will thank you!