Perfect Pairings: Pork tenderloin stew is rich in flavor
Tribune Media Services
Pork tenderloin has all the virtues – it’s small, convenient, quick-cooking and low in calories – that a Two’s Company cook could want in a main-dish ingredient, with one exception.
Billed as “the other white meat,” pork tenderloin ranges in flavor from mild to bland, depending on your expectations. The cut requires more than simple roasting to yield a robust, meaty taste.
Experts recommend adding punch to pork tenderloin by marinating it, rubbing the meat with a spice blend or topping the finished meat with a sauce.
I also like using pork tenderloin in a stew. It’s easy to cut into chunks, has little waste and absorbs whatever ingredients it’s cooked with. Unlike tough meat cuts that require hours of simmering, pork tenderloin is not improved by more cooking.
Supermarkets often feature pork tenderloin on sale. Stock up. If you like stews, as I do, buy several tenderloins when you can get a good buy. Cut the meat into cubes and freeze in 8- to 12-ounce portions. Remove the pork to the refrigerator to defrost the night before you plan to prepare it.
Use the recipe that follows for a delicious dinner or as a guide to create your own pork stew dishes.
Pork Tenderloin Stew
1 small (3/4-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
1⁄4 cup flour
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 (14.5-ounce) can roasted, diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 poblano chile, cored, seeded and cut into 1⁄2-inch chunks
1⁄8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1⁄4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon crushed dried oregano
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
1⁄2 cup chicken broth, heated, optional
Place pork in a plastic bag. Add flour and shake well to coat. Heat oil in Dutch oven or large, deep skillet. Add pork and brown over medium heat, about 5 minutes. Drain liquid from tomatoes and pour into Dutch oven. Scrape up any browned bits. Add tomatoes, beans, chile, crushed red pepper flakes, scallions, salt, oregano and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour. Check stew after 30 minutes. If mixture looks dry, add broth, stir, simmer, covered, for 30 minutes longer. Makes 2 servings.
Most people don’t think of pork when they think of stew, but its ability to absorb the flavors of the stew will surprise you. This is a fairly simple stew with a variety of flavor profiles in it. There are a couple of directions you could go in pairing a wine for this dish, but I would recommend a full bodied Zinfandel. Just over the hill in Amador County, Renwood Winery makes several great Zinfandels in many styles. Because of the tomatoes in the stew, I would stay away from a big tannic Zinfandel. Renwood makes a very good fruit forward Zinfandel that is light on the tannins yet rich and robust in flavor. Their Fiddletown Zinfandel at between $20 and $25 a bottle is the perfect choice for this stew. It has hints of pine and cedar on the nose with lush, vibrant fruit flavors on the palate. It is aged in small oak barrels and finishes with nice holiday spice, hazelnut and vanilla notes. This is a quick and fun winter meal to prepare, so grab a bottle of Renwood Fiddletown Zinfandel and enjoy.