Thursday, January 21, 2010
So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it, unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided. So my lunch for the week: Stuffed Pork Loin and Polenta These past couple of weeks have been cleaning out the freezer week. I need to use up all the leftover frozen meat in the freezer before making that big journey to Costco to stock up again. So I dug around and found 2 packages of pork tenderloins. Great! These are lower in fat and very easy to make. They work well in the oven. So I defrosted them while I worked on the other components. I wanted to add as many vegetables as possible without it being too veg heavy. So for the filling, I used mustard greens and roasted red peppers. For the mustard greens, I washed them, cut the tough ends off, then roughly chopped them into pieces. I sauteed them in oil with salt and pepper until wilted and soft. For the roasted red peppers, I just bought a small jar. When the pork was completely defrosted, I split them in half so that they can be filled with the veggies. They were quite small so I tried to split them as wide as possible. As a last minute decision, I cut some brie into strips and added that to as part of the stuffing too. First, I seasoned the meat with some salt and pepper. Then, I placed the mustard greens down, then the peppers. And lastly, some cheese. I cut some kitchen twine to tie up the whole thing. Six strands seems to work the best. I tied up the middle first, then the ends, and then the rest. I made sure everything was wrapped tightly. Lastly, I seasoned the outside of the meat and oil them well. I placed them in a roasting pan for the oven set at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. This would probably take less time if you're only making 1 pork loin. Here, I'm making 4. When the loins are cooked through, I take them out to rest on a carving board. Look at those juicey stuffed pork loins. Now the polenta. I took some stock that I had frozen. I melted then boiled it. When it was at a rolling boil, I liberally salted it for flavor. This is the only time you'll be able to season the polenta properly. Salting it afterward will just make it salt and not savory. When the salt is incorporated, I slowly add the polenta while whisking away furiously. This helps prevent lumps and allows you to control the thickness and the consistency of the polenta. However, I had a little mishap. While I was pouring the polenta into the stock, the bad tipped over and a large amount fell into. What resulted was lumpy, thick polenta. Not good. Although the flavor was good, the texture was not. Next time, I'll ask for assistance with the pouring. I take the drippings in the pan and heat them up again on the stovetop. While that reduced slightly, I added some white wine and boiled the alcohol out. Lastly, I added some cooked mushrooms. The sauce was awesome. To be honest, this was my first time cooking with wine. And I don't know why I haven't been doing this years ago. I love the taste. It's so good. As the polenta cools, the stuffed pork loins should be cool enough to slice. First, snip all the strings off. Then slice the pieces into 3/4 inch pieces. It should be really pretty inside with the mustard greens, roasted red peppers, and yellow brie. So here's how the plating went. First, the polenta, then some extra mustard greens. Next, the sliced pork, and a few spoonfuls of the mushroom and wine sauce. This is so good. Yum! The wine sauce really adds a nice touch to everything. I could just eat the sauce on the polenta. But the pork is so good too. Not too bad for cleaning out the freezer.