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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Honey Sesame Pork Tenderloin

My lovely cousin, Shelley Sheppard, submitted this recipe for the cookbook, and it sounded so delicious. I love every ingredient that is in this dish --- and we all know I love pork. I love it so much that I feel like the need to write a haiku about it:
Cooked, cured, smoked
I love it all so.
My dear swine.
Here are the ingredients:

1/2 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. grated fresh ginger
1 T. sesame oil
1 - 1.5 lb. pork tenderloin
1/4 cup honey
2 T. dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sesame seeds

First, mix the soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame oil in a large plastic bag. Marinate tenderloin in it for at least 2 hours, preferably all day. My ziploc bags were too small, so I went with this plastic container. I put the pork in the marinade before I went to sleep, so it was very well-marinated when i cooked it for dinner the next evening. This picture is kind of gross, but I figured I'd show it anyway. I would normally write what I think this looks like, but I am trying to get you to cook this, not throw up.
Preheat oven to 375. Combine honey and brown sugar in a shallow bowl. Speaking of "honey" and "sugar," I've been in a bad habit of calling people this at work lately. I am pretty sure it's considered inappropriate, possible even flirtatious, at the office but it's just fun to say it with a southern drawl, a la Scarlet O'Hara. Do it! See? Told you so.

Remove tenderloin from marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Roll tenderloin in honey mixture, then roll in sesame seeds. Shelley wrote that she normally leaves off the sesame seeds, but since I had them in my cabinet, I figured I would use them.

Roast in a shallow pan for 20-30 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 160. You can also grill it, which is what Shelley does. Unfortunately, there is no grill in my apartment, so I had to take a trip to Oven-City. Let the meat rest a while after taking it out of the oven or off the grill to let the juices redistribute. This is one of the hardest things to do, but you should do ANYTIME you cook meat. I know how hard it is not to cut it right away and dig in, but seriously, don't! You'll lose all the delicious juices...and then you'll be sad. Like, cry like a baby sad.

Don't be frightened by the picture below: No pans were harmed in the making of this meal. It's just "suga" and "hunay" - an overnight soak and it came right off.

I served this wish some squash and some leftover rice from the night before. It was very flavorful, but I think the tastes of the grill might make it a bit better than the oven, so if you have that option, go with the grill. Also, I would toast the sesame seeds next time to add more flavor.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chicken Andouille Gumbo aka Who Dat!?! Gumbo

I made this a few weeks ago when the Saints won the NFC Championship , so I figured that I should make it again for Superbowl. So now, of course, I consider this gumbo to be lucky, and have a feeling that you'll be able to find me every Sunday this fall in my kitchen stirring a roux.

I totally forgot to take the ususal pic of ingredients, so I'll just list them out here.

5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1/2 pound andouille or other smoked sausage, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (I used beef smoked sausage because that is all I could find)
1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) chicken, cut up (I am a big fan of chicken thighs - they are cheap and sooo much more flavorful than boring old chicken breasts)
1 1/2 quarts water
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 can whole tomatoes, drained and squeezed
handful of frozed diced okra
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (I didn't have any, so I just skipped this)
Hot cooked rice

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add sausage and cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.

Add chicken pieces to pot and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. As mentioned in ingredients, you can use chicken pieces, but I prefer just thighs. They are perfect for this gumbo.
See? All nice and brown.

Add water and bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.Remove chicken from pot and cool slightly. Remove meat from bones, discarding skin and bones; shred meat into small pieces and set aside.

Now, time for the roux. Go to the bathroom and then pour a glass of wine. You'll be here for a while.

In a skillet over medium heat, mix remaining 3 tablespoons oil with flour and cook, stirring constantly, until roux turns dark brown, about 30 minutes.

This is how it looks in the beginning:

After 15 minutes:

The final product: a nice dark brown roux:

Now don't be an idiot like me and try to turn around and watch tv while making the roux. I now have lovely second degree burns on 2 of my fingers. Of course, there was no time for a pity party, or else I might have burned the roux!

Add onion, celery, green pepper, and garlic and cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add mixture to Dutch oven along with bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Add chicken and sausage and simmer 15 minutes longer.

When you have about 7 minutes left, throw in a handful of frozen okra. Don't put it in any earlier or it will get all slimy....ewww.

Remove from heat and stir in green onion and parsley; adjust seasoning if needed. Let gumbo stand 10 to 15 minutes. To serve, mound about 1/3 cup rice in each soup bowl, then ladle about 1 cup gumbo around rice.

Oh yeah, at some point, you should have cooked some rice. I listed some of my favorite additions to flavor gumbo below. I have a love for all things spicy, so if I am serving this to anyone besides myself...and you should - it's so good - I usually keep it pretty tame and let each person add extras as they see fit. Since I used okra, it natually thickens the gumbo, so file isn't really necessary...but if you decided to omit, you might need it.

Look how pretty? And soooo good.And like I meant, LUCKY! Congratulations New Orleans Saints, Superbowl XLIV Champs!