Monday, March 9, 2009

What's cooking: Tomatillo pork

I know things have been a little quiet here at Figs in terms of food. i am well aware that stealing from bees is not exactly making dessert. But there's a good reason: Company is coming, and I've been busy pulling things together.

On Thursday, my kitchen will be featured on jen's use real butter KITCHEN TOUR. I must really love her to be willing to reveal the chaos that is the Fig kitchen, especially following the presentation of her immaculate and orderly kitchen. It looks like adults live there; a sense of calm comes over me as I scroll through the pictures. Mine sort of looks like a preschool. Not calm. Oh well, that's the point, right? Different people, different lives, different kitchens—we all make good stuff. What will that woman think of next?

So I should MAKE something, right? I have been cooking, just not posting anything. Enough with that. Here's a recipe I made up to deal with a vexing little problem: What to do with a pork tenderloin. They're so convenient: no trimming, quick cooking, nicely shrink wrapped to go in the freezer. And sort of boring. And small. Husband often eats almost all of one, then gazes wistfully at the rest, and asks "Is that my lunch?" You could make two, but they're sort of expensive. So the challenge was to give it some zing and stretch is out. See, the recession can be fun!!

I also tried to keep this recipe simple. I love Cook's Illustrated but am constantly exasperated by their instructions to put this in the pan, cook it, remove it, put that in the pan, . . . In this recipe you keep piling things in a single pan.

I paired the pork with one of my favorite items from the produce market, the tomatillo. Although it's related to the tomato, you can get good tomatillos now, long before the first tomatoes appear.

The fennel is optional. We've had it at our produce market lately, so I've been putting it in everything, but it especially complements pork.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pork tenderloin, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into one-inch cubes
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
half a bulb fennel, diced (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound (or more) tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, and chopped
1 cup chick stock (or more as needed)
several spoonfuls sour cream or plain yogurt
Jalapeno Tabasco sauce, to taste
salt, to taste

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add pork and cook until the cubes have a good brown crust. Add onion, celery, and fennel and saute until tender. Add garlic and continue cooking for another minute. Add tomatillos and saute until tender. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until pork is tender and flavors will blended. This can sit on the back of the stove for quite a while.

Remove from heat and stir in sour cream or yogurt. Season with Tabasco and salt to taste.
I served this with brown rice, cooked in chicken stock, and pinto beans, topping it with diced radishes and cilantro. A green salad completed the meal.

I've also made this with leftover carnitas, since a pork shoulder is much more meat than we can eat for even several meals. This makes great leftovers and freezes well.

Don't forget to come marvel laugh at my kitchen on Thursday! See you over at jen's.


annechovie said...

Looks amazing! You are making me very hungry!

Purple Flowers said...

Sure looks good. I love leftovers, and I bet this is a great leftover dish!

Bob said...

I am going to tell you this secret, because I need to share it with SOMEONE. Try mixing chopped tomatillo's with fig preserves and using it as a marinade. I also toss in some goya sazon. You will thank me for this later....