Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tuscan Roast Pork Tenderloin with Garlic and Rosemary

So, I borrowed a page out of M.’s book — who made the most amazing polenta the last time we had dinner at her house — and turned to Cook’s Illustrated for my Christmas Day roast recipe, Tuscan-Style Roast Pork Tenderloin with Garlic and Rosemary.

I originally saw the “preview” of the recipe on-line and since I don’t know how to link my subscription with on-line access, I couldn’t open the recipe.  Having ants-in-my-pants thinking my January-February issue of Cook’s Illustrated would not arrive in time for Christmas, I bought an additional copy of the Magazine while Christmas food shopping at Giant.  I arrived home only to find my subscription copy in the mail.  

Perhaps patience is not my most discernible virtue.  

I should have had confidence that the wonderful folks at Cook’s Illustrated would not let their subscribers down, especially at Christmas, but I wasn’t taking any chances.  I wanted that recipe!!

The crazy cooks at Cook’s Illustrated found a way to make outside of the pork roast brown and somewhat crispy without overcooking the inside meat….searing the roast in a pan after baking!   So simple and clever. BUT, there are many steps to this little rolled piece of culinary magic and you might be templed to say, “oh, the hell with it, I’m just serving the roast right out of the oven.”  DON’T!  It is so worth the work.  My daughters assisted with this preparation due to my Christmas congestion, which is turning into a yearly event.

Please read the recipe all the way through before beginning, especially if timing is key for your dinner party.  There is prep time, rest time, roast time, more rest time, more prep time, searing time and several other oh-so-worth-it steps mixed in between.

BTW, this issue of Cook’s Illustrated also has a recipe named Best Roast Chicken…they never had C.’s roast chicken she made when she last hosted.  That’s the best roast chicken ever!

As you probably have figured out, I’m a bit behind in my posts.

Instead of one large roast, I used two pork tenderloins, pounded thin, slathered with the herb paste and rolled using the same technique as called for in the CI recipe.  Rolling the meat allows the yummy paste to distribute the flavors more evenly.  The lemon zest adds a bright note to the paste and compliments the vinaigrette you’ll make (explaining Arista, which is pork served with juices)….nothing is wasted in this recipe!

Tuscan Roast Pork Tenderloin with Garlic and Rosemary (Arista)
Adapted (a little) from Cook’s Illustrated

1 lemon
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 oz pancetta, cut into 1/2” pieces
White wine (you’ll only need a splash or two)
1 package (2 pieces) of pork tenderloin

Grate the zest of one lemon and set aside. Cut the lemon in half and set aside.  Combine zest, oil, garlic and pepper flakes in a non-stick skillet.  Cook over low-medium heat, stirring frequently until garlic is sizzling and fragrant, a few minutes.  Add rosemary and cook another 30 seconds.  Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer over a small bowl,  set the oil aside and allow the rosemary-garlic mixture to cool in the strainer. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel.

Whirl the pancetta in a food processor (I used my mini-food processor) until a paste forms (it’s more like a soft ball) about 25 seconds.  Add the rosemary-garlic mixture and a splash or two of white wine and process until incorporated, about 20 seconds. 

Pound each tenderloins thin (about 1/2”) and as evenly as possible (a semi-rectangle will form).  Spread half the mixture on each tenderloin, leaving about 1/4” on each side.  Roll each tenderloin like a yule log and fasten with butcher’s twine.  Set both prepared tenderloins on a greased wire rack placed in a roasting pan and refrigerate for at least one hour.  

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.  Position the roasting pan on the middle rack and cook the tenderloins for 1 1/2- 2 hours (until the meat registers 135 degrees).  Remove from the oven, tent with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 20 minutes.

Heat 1 teaspoon of the reserved oil and add the lemon halves.  Cook until cut sides are browned, about 2-3 minutes.  Let cool.  Meanwhile, pat the roast dry and heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil in a pan over a high heat and brown roast on top and sides.  Transfer to a carving board, remove twine and slice.  Now, juice the cooled lemons through a mesh strainer.  Wisk with the rest of the reserved oil and serve with the sliced pork….perfect paired together!

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