An elegant Easter entree anybunny can fix in in hurry
by Paul Thompson
You’re running late fixing dinner. Maybe unexpected guests are about to descend. Or you want a nice dinner at home Easter Sunday, but you’re too lazy to cook. Enter pork tenderloin. It’s available fresh or marinated and its versatility makes it a sure hit.
I like pork. It has a mild taste, ready to be enhanced by sauces and seasonings. Pork tenderloin is perfect for carnivores on low-fat diets. There’s not an ounce of fat on it.
If you’re in a big hurry, or would rather chat than cook, choose pork tenderloin. I select ones less than a foot long, easily enough for four people.
Select a marinated chunk of tenderloin and just pop it into the oven at 350 degrees. They are shrink-wrapped with different flavors at your grocery store. It’s ready and delicious in an hour or less, when it reaches an internal temperature of about 160 degrees. I like to combine the pork with chicken stock, adding spices and fruit. Crossing species is not a problem with me. How else would we have unicorns and smiling shepherds?
My favorite way of preparing pork tenderloin is to brown it on all sides in canola oil, then slice it down the middle half way through for stuffing. Add a 14.5 oz can of chicken stock, half an orange or a whole tangerine, torn up, 1/3 cup dried cranberries and a half teaspoon or more of cayenne pepper.
I’ll load some of the fruit inside the cut before putting the pan, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven to finish cooking. When done, remove the pork and reduce the juices until slightly thick. Strain the sauce and dribble it over diagonal slices of pork tenderloin. Add whatever garnish you like.
Leftovers from this entrée are worth the wait
Served cold the next day, this fat-free roll of pork, sliced thin, with a dab of sauce, tastes almost as good as the night before. When saving the leftover sauce, dilute it with a little water to keep it liquid at room temperature.
This sauce, made with or without meat, adds a spark to other pork dishes, roasted chicken, duck or a leg of lamb.
In Chicago you had to order a leg of lamb several weeks in advance for Greek Orthodox Easter, or hope you got an invitation to dinner. This year Western and Greek Orthodox Easters occur on the same day, April 4th. This Easter, why not get hold of a leg of lamb, roast it and serve this orange/cranberry sauce over it? Or go a simpler route with a fast and easy chunk of pork tenderloin.
Paul Thompson grew up in Longview, Wash., and later moved to Oak Park, Illinois and taught speech and drama at Chicago’s Wright College. Now retired, he lives in Sequim, Wash., where he designs scenery for local community theatre and plays golf.