I’d like to start this post out by giving a shout out to Lilly at Lilly Sues Bites & Brews. She was so kind to nominate us for the ‘Versatile Blogger’ award a few weeks back while we were on vacation. I remember looking at the post, and the first pictures I saw were of her pouring wine into a coffee cup (AMAZING) and spreading cheese on crackers – wine and cheese and crackers are one of Dave and I’s top 3 favorite meals (even though it should really just be a snack, we make a meal out of it many nights). And then I went on to read more, and found that in addition to blogging about delicious food and restuarants and recipes, she’s kind of into beer, like a lot. She even has a “Beer” tab on her blog with all these beers, categorized by style that I am dying to try! Some I (and Dave) have never even heard of. And I wanted to wait until it was fully appropriate to thank her. And I’m pretty sure “Cooking with Beer Week” is the perfect time! So thank-you Lilly – you’re a beer connoisseur that I aspire to be like!
Now onto the recipe – pork is one of those meats we don’t dabble into much. Not because we don’t like it, but because eating chicken 5 nights a week is SOOOO fun! (hence this blog – branching outage). I honestly really enjoy pork dishes – a nice breaded pork chop (“It’s shake n’ bake – an’ I haelped!”) or a nice cut of lean tenderloin, marinated in something yummy. After making this, I realized that I really gotta give Porky Pig and his body parts some more playing time. When I saw this recipe (also from Women’s Health Magazine – holla at the delicious Beer recipes ladies!) I thought “Oooooeeeee that sounds amazing! And it uses beer! sold!”
I remember at Thanksgiving, my mom decided it was time to try ‘brining’ the turkey because she’d heard so many good things about it. And I watched her as she shoved the 30-lb bird in this ginormous plastic bag of brine thinking to myself “She is cra-cra” – but, after doing it myself in this recipe, I gotta say I’m a believer in brining. The pork tenderloin was sooooo moist and juicy, and the flavors of the brine really gave it so much more dimension than a regular old piece of pork.
Beer-Brined Pork Tenderloin with Beer-Mustard Sauce
*From Women’s Health Magazine
2 cups plus 1 1/2 cups low-hops lager or pilsner
3 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2-3 lbs. pork tenderloin (or you could use chops)
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp canola or vegetable oil
2 shallots, diced
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp grainy mustard
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp black pepper
1) In a container large enough for tenderloin to lie flat, add 2 cups water, 2 cups beer, kosher salt, and sugar. Place tenderloin in liquid and add more beer or water to cover the meat. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours (I actually did it overnight), flipping once if possible.
2) In a saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups beer, broth, honey, balsamic vinegar, thyme, mustard, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high, and simmer for 8 minutes, or until reduced by about half. Stir in cornstarch and continue simmering for 2 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
3) Remove tenderloin from brining liquid, pat dry with paper towels, and season with black pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cut tenderloin into slices and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F. Let rest for 5 minutes and serve topped with beer-mustard sauce.
The outcome was a moist (I know – I’ve used this word twice and I hate it too – but sometimes it’s just necessary) and juicy pork tenderloin topped with a tangy sauce where the beer and mustard flavors were evident, but ever so subtle. I could see this dish being perfect in the fall, after a long day of apple picking or leaf raking, and you chow it down while an apple pie cooks in the oven and you carve pumpkins by a nice warm fire (can you tell I’m anxious for fall?)
Or, ya know, on an 85 degree hot and humid summer day – either way it’s a delicious keeper!
Thanks for sharing your loins with us Porky