Celebrating Freedom!

I finished my final policy paper and law exam yesterday afternoon and decided to celebrate by making a huge feast for Alex, Mark, and Sarah for dinner. I had fun scavenging through our bookshelves rediscovering old cookbooks and recipes that I hadn’t seen or made in years. With all the rain yesterday (it followed me from Seattle), I was in the mood for pork tenderloin and roasted root vegetables. My old Joy of Cooking was the perfect resource for the dinner I had in mind. I made a Pear, Walnut, and Endive Salad with Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with a Pan Sauce of Leeks, Orange, and Rosemary. On the side, we had roasted veggies – carrots, brussel sprouts, and sweet potatoes. All three courses were winners and quite simple to prepare – just watch the pork so that it doesn’t get too cooked or well-done.

Pear, Walnut, and Endive Salad (6 small servings or for 4 people who really like greens)

  • 4 belgian endives
  • 2 large bunches of watercress, tough stems trimmed
  • 1 large Comice pear or sour apple, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 12 ounces Gorgonzola

Arrange everything in a salad bowl and toss with a fresh vinaigrette of garlic, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, shallot, mustard, and olive oil.

Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin (4 servings)

  • 2 pork tenderloins (8-12 ounces each)
  • 1.5 tsp butter
  • 1.5 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Pat dry the tenderloins and season with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over high heat and brown the pork well on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium and cook through, turning once or twice, until the thermometer inside reads 155F (you could probably do 152-153 since it continues to cook once you remove it). Remove to a plate and cover with foil for about 5-10 minutes. Pour off almost all of the fat and continue with the pan sauce below.

Pan Sauce with Leeks, Orange, and Rosemary

  • 1 small leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 2 2-inch strips orange zest (or use microplane – 2 tsps zest)
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp minced parsley

Over medium heat, add the leeks until they just start to soften. Add the orange juice, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen the tasty bits from the pan. Add the broth, orange zest, and rosemary, stirring until the sauce is reduced by about half. You can discard the zest and rosemary but I kept it all in there. Season with salt and pepper and then add the butter – swirling, not stirring, until completely melted. Serve over the roast and sprinkle with parsley. Enjoy!