No more yankie my wankie. Last night was a Scrabble evening with the lovely and talented P-Wo. I had intended to make us some real "man food" with wild animals and booze and other caveman/cowboy accoutrements, but I couldn't turn up any ostrich or buffalo given my restricted range of motion yesterday (I was just hungover and didn't feel like straying far from home).

So instead we get something only slightly less manly: pork tenderloin. This set of flavors is another Mark Miller-based concept, which bridges some seemingly unlikely ingredients very handily...this was one of the best meals I've made in a while.

Thus, I'll go into some detail. The first component is a mushroom and parmesan risotto based on Mara's baked risotto discussed earlier. You basically use red wine instead of white wine, and a little rosemary instead of the sage. And mushroom stock if you've got it.

The sauce for the pork is a tomatillo and smoked chile sauce. I know it seems like we've been hitting the chipotle note a bit too often lately, but when used in small amounts it truly remains a mysterious support element and doesn't wear out its welcome.

The tomatillo itself (photo above stolen from Wikipedia) is a fruit not seen very often in European grocery stores, it's an ancient Mayan/Aztec character whose distribution is mostly limited to the southern USA and Mexico. Its flavor is quite tart and doesn't seem like an obvious match for mushrooms, but I think that the rosemary in the risotto and chipotle in the sauce tie all of this together.

Where did my tomatillos come from? Tjin's down in De Pijp has bottles of Herdez' Salsa Verde for non-extortionate prices. The salsa verde is is basically a bottled tomatillo sauce, to which I add (per 1 cup of bottled sauce): 1 clove of garlic, 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, 1/4 cup fresh coriander, and the juice of 1 lime. Puree these things, and that's the European tomatillo-chipotle sauce I used last night. It's really good.

The pork itself was marinated for a couple of hours in my lazy version of Mr. Miller's all-purpose Pork Marinade. The white stuff on it is shaved goat cheese (not cheese from a shaved goat). BTW, this photo is today's version, the pork was not as well-done last night as it looks here.

I hereby give you: southwestern pork tenderloin in tomatillo-smoked chile sauce with mushroom risotto. Leftovers.


mushroom risotto with parmesan and rosemary


1 cup chopped, sauteed mushrooms of your choice

(I used regular old cremini mushrooms here and it worked fine, but you could also go as exotic as you wanted to)

2 tbsp olive oil
3 shallots, or one small red onion, finely chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups mushroom or vegetable stock
1 tsp dried rosemary leaves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

up to 1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano (we also use pecorino romano sometimes)

Heat oven to 190°C.

In a medium ovenproof saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add rice, and stir until grains are shiny and well coated with oil, about 2 minutes more. Add wine, and continue cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add stock, rosemary, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cover saucepan; transfer to oven. Bake until almost all of the stock is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven and stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese. Replace back in oven.

After 6-8 minutes, remove from oven and serve immediately, topped with grated cheese.

Serves 4 normal people or 2 cavemen.


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