FOOD DAY / WEDNESDAY / COOKING CLASS / PORK TENDERLOIN
TODAY'S LESSON, pork
tenderloin with mushroom
sauce, will focus on
searing and roasting
combination is perfect for a
small, tender piece of meat
such as a pork tenderloin.
First the meat is browned
quickly on all sides at a
high heat, then it is
roasted. The combination
gives the meat a nice
brown crust, which it
would not otherwise
have from its short
This technique works
well for any small piece
of meat, such as a veal or
To accompany the pork,
we make a sauce from
mushrooms. (For veal or beef
tenderloin, you may want to
use the more-exotic porcini or
morels.) The mushrooms are cut
into wedges, not sliced, to retain
their texture and taste. They are
then cooked over a high heat with
just a sprinkle of oil, which keeps
them from losing their liquid. This
sauce is also a nice accompaniment to
steak or hamburgers. Serve this recipe
with your favorite steamed vegetable and
rice or boiled potatoes.
A digital meat thermometer with a probe is an investment (as much as $35), but
it takes the guesswork out of roasting meat, especially a small tenderloin,
which does not take well to overcooking.
Before you put the meat in the oven, insert the probe into the center. Then
connect the wire that attaches to the probe to the thermometer, which sits on
top of your oven. You can watch the temperature of the meat without having to
open the oven and lose heat.
Instant-read thermometers are less expensive (about $10) but provide more
approximate readings. When roasting a small, tender piece of meat for a short
time, a precise reading is extremely important.
CUTTING, TRIMMING AND SEARING
Cutting the mushrooms: Cut the mushrooms into wedges of equal size; cut small
mushrooms into quarters, larger ones into sixths.
Trimming the pork: Remove and discard the whitish-silver skin and any
visible fat. Remove the flat, narrow tip of meat from each end of the
tenderloin; reserve it for another use, such as a stir-fry.
Searing the pork: Put the meat in the hot oil in the pan and don't touch it
for 2 minutes. If you move the meat before this time, you will destroy the
crust that you want to achieve with the searing process. Think of these
tenderloins as 4-sided (unlike a steak, which is 2-sided). You can prop the
pieces of meat against each other to sear the long narrow sides. Use tongs to
This recipe pairs well with a single village Beaujolais (such as a
Moulin-a-Vent), a Cotes-du-Rhone or a California blend - nothing overly
Pork Tenderloin With Mushroom Sauce
For the mushroom sauce:
1 pound white button mushrooms
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots or garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 plum (Roma) tomato, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1/3 cup (about 2 ounces) chopped pine nuts, walnuts or pecans, toasted
(optional; see note)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/3 cup dry sherry, dry white wine or vermouth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)
For the pork:
2 pork tenderloins (about 2 pounds total), trimmed and halved crosswise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil
1. Clean the mushrooms (brush away any loose dirt and, if necessary, dab
them with a damp towel to remove any remaining dirt). Do not rinse or soak the
mushrooms. Trim and discard the tough bottoms of the mushroom stems but keep
any part of the stem that is still tender. Cut the mushrooms into wedges.
2. Have a baking sheet or platter ready. Heat a large skillet over high
heat for 2 or 3 minutes. Add a couple of mushrooms to the skillet. The
mushrooms should immediately sizzle; if this does not occur, heat the skillet
for another minute. Add the mushrooms to the skillet (do not crowd; you may
have to cook in batches). Drizzle the mushrooms with the oil. (If you add the
oil first, the mushrooms will soak up the oil and lose their texture.) Cook,
shaking the pan occasionally to keep the mushrooms from sticking, until golden
brown, about 3 minutes. If the mushrooms render liquid, the pan is not hot
enough - the heat is too low or the pan is too crowded.
3. Add the shallot or garlic and cook until it becomes transparent, about 1
minute. Remove the skillet from the heat; season the mushrooms with salt and
pepper to taste. (If you add the salt too soon, the mushrooms will render their
liquid and lose their texture.) Immediately transfer the mushrooms to the
baking sheet or platter to keep them from overcooking and set aside. Set the
skillet aside; do not wash it.
4. For the pork: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp knife, trim
5. Cut the two tenderloins in half across the middle. Ideally, you should
have 4 pieces of meat of equal size that will fit in an ovenproof skillet in
which they are neither crowded nor have too much space around them. Season the
tenderloins with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Heat the ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add
the oil. If the oil smokes or burns, the heat is too high. Using tongs,
carefully add the pork to the skillet. Sear the meat, untouched, for 2 minutes.
Turn the meat and sear on remaining three sides until brown, about 2 minutes
7. Transfer the tenderloin to the preheated oven and roast for 8 to 12
minutes. A meat thermometer inserted in the middle of the tenderloin should
register 155 degrees. Transfer the 4 tenderloins to a wire rack and place a
platter underneath to catch the juices. Set the skillet aside; do not wash it.
8. Let the pork rest, uncovered, for one-third of its roasting time before
you slice it. (The meat will continue to cook; its inner temperature should
rise to 160 degrees.) To finish the sauce and pork, have ready the tomato,
nuts, if using, and parsley.
9. Add the sherry, wine or vermouth to the skillet in which the pork was
roasted. (Remember: The handle of this pan will still be very hot.) Place the
skillet over medium heat and cook, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any meat
and dissolve any juices stuck to the pan (this is called deglazing), for 2
minutes. Pour the wine mixture into the skillet in which the mushrooms were
cooked and repeat the deglazing process, cooking for 1 minute.
10. Return the mushrooms to the skillet and add the tomato and toasted nuts
and heat for about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter, if
using, and stir until incorporated into the sauce. Taste and correct the
seasoning accordingly, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.
11. Slice the tenderloins 1/2 inch thick. Add the juice that has collected
from the meat to the mushroom sauce.
12. To serve, spoon some of the mushroom sauce in the center of each dinner
plate and arrange the meat on top of the sauce or fan the slices of meat
around the sauce. Sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately.
Note: To toast nuts, spread them on a baking sheet, place them in a
350-degree oven and toast, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant, 8 to
10 minutes. Watch carefully, because nuts burn very quickly.
For each serving: 423 calories; 58 g. protein; 6 g. carbohydrates; 16 g.
fat; 134 mg. cholesterol; 3 g. saturated fat; 260 mg. sodium; 1 g. dietary