June 6, 2019
Pork tenderloin is a great solution when you need a quick dinner idea—it’s lean, tender and extremely versatile, and its long, slender shape makes it cook fast. Pork tenderloin does well with a wide range of marinades, so if you like to plan ahead, try storing one or more in a heavy duty zip-lock bag in a simple marinade in the freezer—the marinade will protect the meat from freezer burn, infusing it with flavour as it waits to be pulled out for dinner. If you like satay, cut the meat into cubes or strips first—more surface area means more flavour penetration, and small pieces will thaw more quickly. Thread them onto soaked bamboo skewers and cook them on a baking sheet under the broiler or on a preheated grill for just a few minutes, and you’ve got dinner or a tasty snack.
Leftover pork tenderloin is perfect for repurposing—and if you’re cooking for only one or two, a single tenderloin makes dinner one night, with leftovers for fried rice, tacos or pork baked beans the next. If you’re looking for something a bit different, Vietnamese caramel pork is divine—it’s sweet and tangy, and can be spicy if you add a pinch of chili flakes or squirt of sriracha. The sugar will caramelize, seize into clumps and remelt—by the time the pork is deep golden and cooked through, it will be bathed in a deliciously sweet sauce. Serve it with steamed rice and veggies.
Vietnamese Caramel Pork
1/2 cup sugar
1 pork tenderloin, cut into thin, inch-long strips
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated ginger
pinch red chili flakes
2 green onions, chopped
steamed rice, for serving
Set a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and sprinkle the sugar over the bottom. Cook until it starts to melt and caramelize, and stir to help it along. (Don’t worry if it clumps—it will remelt.) Add the pork and stir to coat. Continue to cook for 5-10 minutes, until the meat is opaque and starting to caramelize. Stir in the fish sauce, garlic, sesame oil, ginger, chili flakes and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, for 10-15 more minutes, or until the pork is deep golden and cooked through. Stir in the green onions (reserve some to sprinkle overtop, if you like) and serve with steamed rice.
- Julie Van Rosendaal
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