Just the title is a tasty mouthful, no?
Since starting culinary school, I’ve actually cooked (I mean, really cooked) at home less than ever. You may have noticed, since I’ve had fewer posts about elaborate, fancy or otherwise unusual meals I’ve concocted. I’m just too exhausted!
At the tail end of a restful Spring Break, I got the vibe again last week. Here’s what I came up with on a total whim, after grinding some coffee late Saturday night for the next morning’s cuppa before church.
Wide-Eyed Pork Tenderloin w/Maple Red Eye Gravy and Matcha Salted Egg
- 2 Pork tenderloins
- 4 fresh, large eggs (preferably free range), or 1 for each diner
- 1/4 c. whole coffee beans, any unflavored variety (I used Kona Cloud Coffee, medium roast)
- 1 T. whole peppercorns (black, red, or a variety)
- 2 T. dried onion flakes
- 1 T. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. Ferneau Seasonings (or Old Bay, or a few dashes of paprika, fennel seed and garlic powder)
- 1/2 cup apple juice or water
- 2 T. orange juice concentrate
- 1 T. pure maple syrup
- 1/4 c. half and half
- 1 T. cornstarch
- Matcha salt for sprinkling (available at Park Hill Pantry)
Trim silverskin and large pieces of fat from the tenderloins. Rinse and pat very dry with paper towels. Place in a dry baking dish.
Place coffee beans, peppercorns and dried onion in a coffee grinder or (preferably) a spice grinder.
(I used my coffee grinder but promptly washed it, so my coffee wouldn’t be oniony!) Grind the mixture until fine. Place in a small bowl and mix in the kosher salt and Ferneau (or other) seasoning. Using your hands, press the mixture over all surfaces of the tenderloins.
Heat a large nonstick skillet with about one tablespoon of olive oil. When hot, sear the tenderloins, one at a time, turning after about one minute on each side. Look for a crisp, dark sear without being burnt. (Even a little burnt will be OK.)
At this point, you can store the tenderloin overnight or up to 24 hours in the fridge. This allows the flavors to infuse into the meat, and also allows for my favorite Sunday morning food trick — the slow cooker.
Place the loins into an 8 qt. slow cooker. Whisk the orange concentrate into the apple juice or water and pour it in. Cover and set to high for 4 hours or low for 8. I did mine on high, and when we got home from church, the loins were beautifully moist and tender, even at the higher temperature.
When they’re done, remove the tenderloins to a platter and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes. This makes them easier to slice without shredding that beautiful, dark crust. Meanwhile, dump the juice left in the slow cooker into a small saucepan. (If you trimmed the loins well, don’t worry about skimming fat, but you can if you want.) Heat the juices to a simmer. Whisk the cornstarch into the half and half, then stir into the juices. It will thicken quickly, so whisk constantly until smooth and the consistency you want. It should be plenty seasoned from the crust, but taste it at the end and see if it needs any salt or pepper. At the very end, add the maple syrup and whisk smooth. (If you don’t have the real stuff, I’d rather you just left it out.)
While your gravy is heating (or holding), cook one or two eggs over easy or medium in another nonstick skillet, or poach ’em if you know how. After the flip (or extraction from poaching water), sprinkle with matcha salt and freshly ground pepper. Repeat until you have one egg for each diner. Then go apply for a job as a short order cook.
Slice the loin, top with gravy, and serve with the egg and a nice salad. Yummers.
As usual, let me know if you try this, and send me photos!