Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lunch Week 2: Roasted Pork Loin with Kabocha Squash and Broccoli

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: Roasted Pork Loin with Kabocha Squash and Broccoli
This is a relative healthy lunch but really delicious as well. Each of the individual ingredients are quite tasty on its own. They also provide a nice range of textures and flavors for a complete meal. I definitely did not feel bored of this by the end of the week.

First, the pork. Tenderloin is one of the leaner cuts of an animal. It's located on the back and sandwiches the spine. The loin is fairly large. However, the tenderloin is located within the loin. It's smaller and even more tender. Many chefs cut this piece out specifically for specials. The tenderloin may be lean but provides lots of flavor.
However, to add more flavor, I used Hoisin sauce. It's sweet plum like sauce that's really thick. However, a little really does go a long way. So I wouldn't smother it meat with the Hoisin. It would be overpowering. I like hoisin sauce best with pork. I usually use it as a dip for suckling pig.
So here are my tenderloins that I've seasoned with salt, pepper, oil, and hoisin. Into the oven at 375oF for about 30-45 minutes until the instant thermometer reads 170oF.
And this is what the pork looks like when it's cooked through. A nice slight char on the outside from the hoisin sauce. But the meat is very tender and the sauce sweet. Let the meat rest for about 15 minutes before slicing into it. It helps keep it juicy.
And this is what a slice looks like. As you can see, it is fully cooked through because it is completely white. However, the crusted outside added such great flavor.
Next up, the kabocha squash. This vegetable is Japanese and is in season usually during the winter months. Similar to acorn or butternut squash, it's skin isn't really edible but the yellow/orange flesh is sweet and tender. I think it's best when roasted.
I sliced it in half and this is what it should look like inside. Take a spoon and scrape out the soft pulp and seeds.
Then slice it in half again to form a wedge. Season with salt, pepper, and oil. Then into the oven at 375oF for about 30-45 minutes until the wedges have softened enough to bend easily.
Here, you can see that they're roasted nicely with some caramelization of the pulp. Let cool enough to handle safely with you hands. Then take a spoon and scoop out the flesh from the skin. Discard the skin but chop up the flesh.
The squash should be sweet and slightly starchy. Honestly, I like acorn and butternut squash better. However, a little splash of soy sauce made this really good. I liked the contrast of sweet and savory.
And now the broccoli. I learned of this cooking method from the Feisty Foodie. She always talks about roasting broccoli and I tried some of her dish last summer. I really enjoyed it! So I went ahead and did my version of it (my healthier version). Here I have some broccoli florets that I seasoned with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and oil. Into the oven at 375oF for about 20 minutes until the broccoli starts to char.
Here they are cooked and delicious. They look some of their moisture but that just means it's intensified flavor. The seasoning really adds a lot of oomph to a normally bland vegetable. If you want more oomph, add some cheese which is Feisty Foodie's style. Also, did you know that broccoli is very high in calcium and vitamin C? Yeah, it's pretty darn good for you.
I really enjoyed this lunch because it was really fulfilling and packed a lot of flavor. I was definitely satisfied and happy.

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