Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Heritage Pork Tenderloin with Crispy Sage & Soft Polenta

Two days until Christmas!  Are you ready for it, divas?

I'm still holed up in Floyd, enjoying some quality time with the family.  We went to see "Avatar" yesterday, and oh my god, I have to digress into a nerdilicious rant here for a moment!  It surpassed even my lofty expectations, and when I say lofty, I mean it - I'm obsessed with 3D and have been waiting years to see this darn movie.  The movie is incredible and works on every single level.  Despite the hoopla over the 3D, this is by far the most soulful work that Cameron has ever put out, and it's perfect for the holidays.  The Wine Lover is already plotting a return trip to see it again on Christmas Day.

Best Picture anyone?

You heard it heard first.  This is the movie that should win it all, so I'll be rooting for it.

Now onto food!  

We're leaving the realm of the vegetarian (sorry all my lovely veggie readers) and moving back into meat!  I made this dish using Healthy Family Farms, CSA's Milk-Fed Heritage Pork, which is the most incredible pork into which I've ever sunk my teeth.  Forget the chicken-tasting other white meat that haunts your grocery store, this is rich, meaty, succulent, full-flavored pork that tastes the way pork used to taste before the meat industry got their hands on it and bred all the flavor out of it decades ago (they tried to make it more like chicken).  Healthy Family Farms' pork is also all natural, with no hormones or antibiotics, and raised on small family farms.

Soft Polenta with Crispy Sage

To make this dish, I simply herb-crusted and pan-roasted the thin slices of tenderloin, and served them over a soft polenta studded with chopped sage, and topped with a fried sage leaf.  Oh, wow, this was delicious!  The soft polenta with sage complimented the flavor of the pork.  I'm headed to Harvest Moon today with The Original Diva, hoping to procure some local Bright's Farm pork chops to make for dinner.  I think I just might have to serve them over polenta!

Heritage Pork Tenderloin with Crispy Sage & Soft Polenta
Serves 4 people

4 pieces of pork tenderloin (pork chops would also taste delicious)
2 tbsp herbs, such as rosemary, sage, parsley, thyme, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
4 sage leaves
salt & pepper

soft polenta:
1 cup corn grits
3 cups water
1/2 cup parmesan reggiano, grated
2 tbsp sage, chopped
salt & pepper


To make the polenta, place the water and corn grits in a small pot and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent clumping.  Reduce heat to simmer and continue stirring until the grits thicken (about 20 minutes).  Stir in the parmesan and sage, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, rub both sides of the pork with the herb mixture, garlic and olive oil.  Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat the grapeseed oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.  Quickly, fly the sage leaves in the oil until crispy (about 2-3 minutes).  Set aside to drain on paper towels.  Then, add the pork to the pan.  Cook until golden brown (about 5 minutes), and then flip and cook on the other side for a few more minutes.  Once the pork is cooked through, remove from heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

To plate, place some of the soft polenta on a plate and top with a crispy sage leaf.  Then, place a piece of pork on top.  Enjoy!

Source for Ingredients:

milk-fed heritage pork tenderloin from Healthy Family Farms, CSA (Hollywood Farmers Market)

organic sage and corn grits from Whole Foods

parmesan reggiano from Trader Joe's

Music on Tap:

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Live Anthology (4 discs)

This set was an early Xmas gift from The Wine Lover, who took me to my first Tom Petty concert when I was in high school, one of the best shows I've seen to this day!  I've been listening to it on heavy rotation all week long, and I think The Wine Lover has been going with it for a month solid. It reminds you of what an incredible, and in some ways, underrated band they really are!

Here's a description from Amazon:

The Live Anthology is a multiple-disc set of recordings drawn from thirty years of live performances. The collection brings together material from 1978-2007 culled from hundreds of hours of live concert recordings covering every era of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' tours and represents the best tracks as chosen by producers Tom Petty, Mike Campbell and Ryan Ulyate. The producers made no fixes or overdubs, letting the newly mixed original recordings showcase the invention, spontaneity, craft, and the musicianship that has made Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers among the most celebrated live performers of their time.


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