Showing posts with label tarragon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tarragon. Show all posts

Friday, June 23, 2017

Pork Tenderloin with Tarragon-Mustard Sauce

A few years ago my daughter introduced me to pulled pork, which quickly became a staple in our household. And we’ve always eaten pork chops, with or without bones. But somehow I missed the tenderloin phenomenon (despite a wealth of delicious recipes presented here on MLK)—which is kind of like the pork chop with all the outsides removed. It’s small, so it cooks quickly, and it’s a good size for two people.

I went hunting for recipes (I do that a lot), and as usual didn’t find one that was quite right. So I improvised—again. (My husband hates that. If he likes a dish, he wants a recipe, and he’s not happy when I tell him I made it up.) I did need a bit of guidance on timing, because overcooked pork tastes and chews kind of like an eraser. Don’t worry—you can cook pork to just past pink without worrying about trichinosis or whatever. If you’re worried, used a meat thermometer (but ignore the old cookbooks that tell you to cook it to 165 degrees, because by then it’s too late. The USDA recommends 145 degrees these days.)

Pork Tenderloin with Tarragon-Mustard Sauce
Ingredients: The Pork

one 1-1/2 pound pork tenderloin

1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup whole-grain mustard (brands differ—some are coarser than others, so use your favorite)
2 Tblsp olive oil

Dry the pork tenderloin and season with salt and pepper. Whisk together the mustard and olive oil. Using your hands (latex gloves in the kitchen are wonderful!) rub the mixture all over the pork. Let it sit until the pork reaches room temperature, about half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the pork on a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Place it in the oven for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and cook for another 10 minutes (if you have a thermometer, test the internal temperature). Remove it from the oven, set it aside, and cover it loosely with aluminum foil.

Ingredients: The Sauce

4 Tblsp unsalted butter
3 Tblsp minced shallot
1/2 cup chicken broth
2-3 Tblsp Dijon mustard
1 cup heavy cream
2-3 Tblsp chopped fresh tarragon
   (or use dried if you can’t find fresh,
   but reduce the amount)

In a saute pan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the shallot and cook slowly until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Whisk in the mustard and the cream and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tarragon and taste for seasoning, adding salt and/or pepper as needed. 

To serve, slice the pork tenderloin into pieces (you can choose how thick you want it), place on a warm plate, and spoon the sauce over it. (Don’t feel guilty about all that heavy cream—the pork itself has very little fat.)

I'm between books right now. I'm working on four series (and one from each should appear in 2018), including one that's entirely new. I'm plotting/researching/writing all of them at once (it's sooo easy to get sidetracked on Google!), but you've all seen the only cover I have for any of them at the moment (A Late Frost, Orchard Mystery #11, coming November 2017).

So I'll give you a treat that I discovered while hunting for something else entirely. This is an image from a trade journal from 1889: it's my great-great-grandfather Silas A. Barton. (I have only one photograph of him, but I recognized him immediately when I opened the page.)

But there's more! My research on municipal electrification (for a coming book) revealed the interesting fact that the company for which Silas was treasurer and manager founded the gas and electric company in my current home town--and I've been writing checks to great-great-grandpa's company ever since I moved here. Small world, isn't it?

Have you readers found happy surprises when you weren't even looking? Writers, has a chance discovery changed the course of one of your books?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tarragon Chicken

by Sheila Connolly

This is one of my favorite quick and simple dishes that looks fancier than it is.  It is derived from a recipe by my idol, Julia Child, in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (did I mention I have three copies?  One is falling apart, but the others are too clean to use—go figure).  For years it was my go-to company meal, because it didn't require too much attention, so I could socialize with my friends instead of worrying about cooking.

Before I jump in, a word about chickens.  Recently I watched an old (black and white!) episode of Julia Child on my local PBS station WGBH, where the show originated.  Julia reduced a whole chicken to pieces, and declared that it would serve eight.  My, how times have changed!  Does your market offer only monster chickens?  Or chicken breasts that weight well over a pound each, even minus the wings?  You will notice that here I cook only two breasts, which is more than enough meat to feed three of us, with some left over for the cats and for a nice chicken salad sandwich the next day.

For this recipe Julia specified a 3-pound bird.  Around here that's a large Cornish Game Hen (which is really a small chicken, folks).  It doesn't matter for this recipe—use whatever you have, as long as  it all fits in your covered casserole dish. Dark meat, white meat, or a mix—all fine.


1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
2 Tblsp butter
1 Tblsp cooking oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh or dried tarragon

Pat dry your chicken pieces and sprinkle all sides with salt, pepper, and tarragon (use lots!).  Melt the butter and oil together in your casserole and sauté the chicken pieces until they are lightly browned.  Remove and set aside.

1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced (you will notice the ones here are not orange—I happened to have some pretty ones on hand, so I used yellow and red ones)
Salt and pepper
Fresh or dried tarragon

Add another tablespoon or two of butter (if needed) to the pan and sauté the sliced onion and carrots slowly without browning (about five minutes).  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and tarragon.

Return the chicken pieces to the casserole and cover.  Cook over low heat (if you cook it too fast it toughens) until the chicken is cooked through. (I usually just poke the breast pieces.  If they have stopped jiggling and stiffened, they're cooked but still juicy.) This should take no more than half an hour, although the timing will depend on how many pieces of chicken you have in your casserole.  You could also put the whole thing in a preheated 325 degree oven for the same amount of time.)

When the chicken is cooked, take the chicken pieces out of the pan and set aside, keeping them warm.  Add a cup of chicken stock to the vegetables in the pan and scrape up the tasty stuff on the bottom.  If you want to thicken the sauce, take 2 Tablespoons of dry sherry and mix in one Tablespoon of cornstarch, and dribble it into the sauce, stirring steadily, until you reach the consistency you want. 

Add some more tarragon and a tablespoon of butter, stir one last time, and there you are!  Serve with white rice.

Bon appetit!