As promised, a recipe from last week’s CSA meal-plan:
We built a deck last week. To be more accurate, my parents built a deck while we schlepped stuff around and dug holes for footings and garden beds. The point being, we expended enormous amounts of physical energy in activities outside our norm, and were pretty hungry while having zero energy for cooking. As a solution, one of the easiest dishes I know how to make: roasted pork tenderloin. It’s tender and succulent, and difficult to overcook if you watch it carefully.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, with a cast iron skillet inside.
- Prep your vegetables: I chose carrots and fennel cut into three-quarter-inch pieces, tossed with olive oil, sea salt, and fresh black pepper.
- Prep your tenderloin:
- Rinse it off, pat it dry, and trim away any silverskin.
- Slash it deeply in a few places and stuff the slashes full of minced garlic scapes.
- Drizzle the pork with a bit of olive oil, then massage a mixture of salt, pepper, and sweet Hungarian paprika into the meat.
- Pull the hot skillet from the oven; nestle the pork and veg into the pan, and pop it back in the oven for twenty-five minutes or until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees*.
- At the twenty-five minute mark, remove the pork to a carving board: tent it with foil and let it rest for ten minutes while the vegetables continue cooking, then slice it.
* Full disclosure: Clay swears by the instant-read meat thermometers, but I always determine doneness by color and texture. 160 is a little too shimmery and pale pink for my taste, so I generally end up slicing the pork, laying it over the top of the veg, and tossing it back into the oven for a few minutes to be really “done”.
During the twenty-five minute roasting time, prep the chard.
- Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. I dislike the stems so compost them, but you could chop them into small pieces and cook them, as well.
- Prepare a seasoning mix of salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and sliced scallions.
- Prepare braising liquid – a one-cup measure of chicken stock** and wine.
** I didn’t realize until most of the way through prep that my stock was frozen solid, so I strained off a bit of broth from leftover wonton soup and mixed it with an equal measure of pinot noir. It worked a treat.
Set a skillet over medium heat on the stove, and melt some bacon drippings in it. (If you don’t keep bacon drippings in your fridge, butter or olive oil will suffice but the final dish will be less flavorful.) Toss the chard and seasonings in the melted drippings; allow the leaves to wilt slightly. Add the braising liquid, lower the heat, lid the pan, and let it be for three to five minutes, until the greens are fully wilted. Remove the greens to a warm dish, then reduce the remaining liquid until it’s the consistency of a sauce; drizzle over the wilted greens.
Serve slices of pork over a small bed of wilted greens, alongside carrots and fennel. It’s an aromatic and filling plate, for sure – so much so that all four servings were eaten and the dishes were washed before I thought to take a photograph. Next time…
We used all of the fennel and all of the chard from last week’s box in this dish, along with 1/5 of the garlic scapes and 1/2 of the scallions. The volume fed four adults with hearty dinner portions and no leftovers.