Although this is not an Irish meal, this is a gratuitous St. Patrick’s Day Irish picture.
Tonight, Shepherd’s Pie is happening, fittingly, but last night, this happened. It would be remiss of me to keep it a secret. I did, however, use Irish Cheddar in the grits-does that count?
It started as a clean-out-the-fridge ingredient use-up type meal. Frozen pork tenderloins, an easy rub, an already open bag of cornmeal, last week’s Brussels sprouts…some Bourbon (yes, Bourbon). It ended as one of the best home-cooked meals we’ve enjoyed in a while (or at least a week due to the inordinate and uncomfortable amount of eating out of late). This is often the case that my favorite meals result when I have to open the pantry and say “hmmm?”
Coffee-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon Pomegranate Glaze, Cheesy Grits and Chard-Brussels Sprouts Hash
Slightly adapted from Chow.com, Food Network and Dinner: A Love Story (for the Bourbon glaze and the hash)
For the Pork
- 2 pork tenderloins
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the glaze
- 1/4 cup Bourbon
- 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon ginger powder (or fresh grated ginger!)
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For the grits
- two cups whole milk
- two cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cornmeal (I used finely ground)
- 4 oz. white cheddar, grated
- 4 tablespoons butter
- several grinds fresh black pepper
For the hash
- 4 strips bacon, chopped (optional)
- 1 package Brussels sprouts (about two cups but whatever you have), trimmed of outer leaves and sliced thinly
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, rinsed, dried and chopped
- 1/4 chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon (or more to taste) balsamic vinegar (aged, if possible)
- 1 tablespoon or so dried currants
- 1 tablespoon or so toasted pine nuts
- salt and pepper
Since this meal has so many steps allow me to offer a timing suggestion. First prepare the pork and the rub. While the pork is resting at room temperature, slice the veggies for the hash. Get the grits started, then put pork in oven. Prepare the glaze and keep on a low simmer until meal is finished. Once the pork comes out of the oven and is resting, finish your grits and make the hash. Now, for the pork…
Preheat oven to 450°. Trim the pork of fat and the silver membrane. Dry with paper towels. Mix the rub spices in a small bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the pork, and with your hands rub the spices to completely cover both of the tenderloins. Allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the meal. Place pork in a roasting pan and roast for 10 minutes, then flip. Roast for another 8-10 minutes or until the pork reaches 160°. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Meanwhile, start the grits by heating the milk, water and salt in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium-high flame. Keep a close eye since boiling milk can be a huge mess. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and slowly whisk in the cornmeal until incorporated. Turn heat to low and cover, stirring every few minutes with the whisk. After about 20 minutes, add the butter, cheese and pepper. Whisk until smooth and serve.
To prepare the glaze, place all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thick. Serve over the sliced pork.
The hash is best with the bacon, which I didn’t have this time so I’m saying it’s optional. However, if you have bacon, by all means use it. It is, not surprisingly, better with bacon. Heat olive oil over medium flame and add the bacon (or skip this step and jump right to the onion). Sauté until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain and add the onion. Sauté the onion about 5 minutes or until soft and add the chopped chard and shaved Brussels sprouts. Sauté until wilted and lower the heat. Add the balsamic vinegar, pine nuts, currants and reserved bacon. Season with salt and pepper and keep on low heat until ready to serve.