Pork Tenderloin with Miso Maple Pan Sauce

Get your autumn pants on, y’all. Fall is, without a doubt, my favorite season. People may rave about summertime cooking (sure, there’s a lot of produce), but I am never more inspired than when I see the grocery store fill up with squash and apple cider. Once the weather cools down a tad and I can acceptably turn the oven on again, one of the dishes that re-enters our regular dinner rotation is roasted pork tenderloin. I grew up thinking that all pork except the pulled and bacon varieties were universally dry and devoid of flavor. I believed this falsehood up until a few years ago when I developed this recipe and learned that pretty much anything from the top half of the pig (think blade steaks, the loins, and all of the chops) are much more appropriately cooked to a tender and succulent 145°F (medium rare) rather than a chewy 160°F. Try one perfectly cooked, succulent pork tenderloin and you’ll never go back to “well done” pork again.

This particular dish was inspired by the latest episode of Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway’s excellent Home Cooking podcast, where Samin mentioned a miso-maple dressing and I immediately started dreaming about the possibilities. I added some sauteed aromatics to create the sauce, and Dijon and white wine vin to lighten things up. The sauce is savory without being heavy and bright without being tangy. It could totally be customized with fresh minced ginger along with the shallots and garlic, finely chopped thyme stirred in at the end, or apple cider instead of water for a sweeter glaze. I could see myself serving this at a dinner party, but it’s perfectly quick and easy for a weeknight dinner too. Overall, a 10/10 meal.

Pork Tenderloin with Miso Maple Pan Sauce

Makes about 6 servings

Ingredients

Pork Tenderloins

  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 pork tenderloins, around 1.5 lbs each*
  • Salt & pepper, to season

Miso Maple Pan Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. white miso paste
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • Parsley, to garnish (optional)

Preparation

Pork Tenderloins

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven (preferably around 12 inches in diameter) over medium-high heat.
  2. While skillet heats, pat tenderloins dry with paper towels and season them all over with salt & pepper. You’ll use around 3/4 to 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper, depending on the size of your tenderloins.
  3. Place both tenderloins in the skillet (curving them to fit as needed) and reduce heat to medium. Sear until deeply golden on three out of the four sides, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Turn tenderloins onto their fourth/final side and move pan to oven.
  4. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature at the thickest point of the tenderloins reach 145°F. If you have a wire probe thermometer, now’s the perfect time to use it. If you don’t, now’s the time to get one**.
  5. Remove the loins from the skillet, cover with foil, and let rest while you make your sauce.

Miso Maple Pan Sauce

  1. Heat the skillet over medium heat and add 3 Tbsp. butter. Once butter is melted and foamy, add shallot and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until very aromatic and beginning to turn translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and add water, maple syrup, mustard, miso, and vinegar. Stir to scrape up any remaining fond from the bottom of the pan and to fully combine the sauce.
  3. Cut pork against the grain into 1/2-inch thick slices and serve drizzled with sauce. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley if desired.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this pork with a dark greens salad (kale, diced apples, and dried cranberries would be great here!), chilled homemade applesauce, or broccoli slaw for some freshness. To embrace the autumn feel, add roasted potatoes/sweet potatoes, crispy Brussels sprouts, or buttered orzo to your plate.

Notes

*2 pork tenderloins typically come in 1 package at the grocery store, so this recipe is designed for that size. If you buy your pork from a butcher counter and/or have tenderloins that are bigger/smaller—that’s fine! Just adjust the final oven time a few minutes more or less as needed to hit that 145°F internal temp.
**My probe thermometer is hands-down my favorite kitchen tool. It seriously improves all your roasting, candy-making, and frying experiences. I would never consider making a Thanksgiving turkey without one. I’ve gone through several Polder Classics over the years and highly recommend them for a cost-effective option. If you’re looking for the highest quality, my recommendation is the ThermoWorks ChefAlarm.


Straightforward But Oh-So-Delicious Pork Green Chili

I have a public service announcement for everyone who loves tender, shreddy pork as much as I do: if you don’t already know about the magic of country-style pork ribs, now is your time to wise up. They’re cut from the shoulder region—the same area where the quintessential but inaptly named “butt” comes from. Instead of devoting an entire day to roasting one of those 10-lb. shoulder roasts, you can have the same succulent meat in only a few hours with the smaller country-style ribs. Ever since a friendly meat counter clerk tipped me off to this info last year (and unwittingly changed my entire life), they’ve been my go-to choice for one of my fave cold-weather meals: green chili.

This recipe is simple and super forgiving, making it a wonderful dish to throw together on a cold afternoon at home. The cooking time is relative to the size of pork ribs you have, so err on the side of allowing for more cooking time (up to 4 hours). If the pork gets super tender before that, you can always turn the oven down to 175°F to just keep it warm until dinnertime. If you have nice and gelatinous (mmmm) homemade stock, this is the perfect use for it. If not, don’t trip! Just use a higher quality store-bought stock. Last thing: I typically have a tub of frozen green (and red, for that matter) chopped New Mexico Hatch chiles in our freezer at all times, and they work really well here. If you’re lucky enough to have fresh roasted chile stands in your area, then 3/4 lb. skinned and finely chopped mild Hatch green chiles would be even better.

Straightforward But Oh-So-Delicious Pork Green Chili Recipe

Makes 4-6 servings
Active cooking time: 30-40 minutes
Total cooking time: 3-4 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. bone-in country-style pork ribs (approximately 3 large “ribs”)
  • Kosher salt, to season
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock (homemade if possible)
  • 1 (13 oz.) tub frozen roasted and chopped mild Hatch green chiles (like Bueno Foods brand), thawed
  • 4 tsp. corn starch
  • 4 tsp. water
  • 1 large Russet or Yukon Gold potato, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (optional)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 Tbsp.)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Season your country-style ribs generously with salt on all sides (you’ll use around 1 tsp.).
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven (3.5 qt or bigger) over medium-high heat. When oil is hot but not quite smoking, add pork and sear until golden brown on all four sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. You should start to see fond (little golden bits) starting to build on the bottom of your pot after your first or second turn. If not, increase your heat slightly. If your oil or smoking or your fond is getting darker than the color of honey, turn your heat down to medium.
  3. Remove seared pork and set aside on a plate. Add onions and garlic to pot and stir to saute. If there is no oil left in your pot, add another Tbsp. or so to get everything lightly coated. Cook onions for 3-4 minutes, or until they are aromatic, translucent, and just beginning to brown.
  4. Pour in stock and stir to gently scrape up the fond from the bottom of the pot. Add green chiles and bring to a simmer. Place pork ribs back into the pot, submerging them in the liquid if possible. Cover pot and place in oven.
  5. Cook for 2-2 1/2 hours, or until pork begins to feel tender when squeezed with tongs.
  6. In a small bowl, combine corn starch and water to make a slurry mixture. Gently stir slurry into green chili, along with potato (if using). Cook in oven for an additional 1/2-1 hour, or until potatoes are tender, liquid is slightly thickened, and pork falls apart when squeezed with tongs.
  7. Carefully remove any pieces of bone (they should easily pull apart from the from meat) and pieces of un-rendered fat. Use tongs to squeeze/shred the pork into bite-sized chunks. Stir in lime juice and season with additional salt to taste if needed.
  8. Serve the green chili with guacamole, shredded cheese or crumbled cotija, cilantro leaves, thinly sliced radishes, and/or tortilla chips. Or ya know, don’t—it’s just as delicious without adding anything extra.

Notes

This recipe could also be made using a slow cooker instead of the oven, but don’t skip the searing and sauteing! Follow the first 4 steps, but place the liquid and ribs into your slow cooker. Cook on low for approximately 4 hours or high for 2-3 hours, or until pork is falling apart. Add the potato during the last hour of cooking if desired.

Leftovers are delicious when topped with an egg and served with a toasted tortilla for breakfast the next morning.

Beef & Barley Stew

Being the farmer’s daughter has its perks. My dad raises grass fed beef, so my freezer is often loaded with the best ground beef, roasts, and even a few steaks (if I can get my hands on a filet mignon, I’m a happy gal). I grilled every chance I got this past summer. That, combined with the fact that I haven’t been back home to Kansas in a few months (sorry family!) means that my meat supply is seriously dwindling.

When I did my regularly scheduled freezer search to plan dinners for the week, I found the short ribs, roasts, and cubed stew meat that I had been squirreling away for when the weather turned chilly. Since it basically snowed the entire last week of October, I felt like a slow-cooked barley stew was totally deserved.

Although I hadn’t ever attempted to put barley in the slow cooker, this came together super easily. It only took a few hours for the grains to soften and the meat to be perfectly cooked, tender but not shred-y. I used my old trick of adding honey along with the crushed tomatoes to help minimize the flavor of canned-ness (you know what I mean). With all the hearty flavors involved, this stew really benefits from the splash of red wine vinegar and fresh parsley at the end—so don’t skip ’em!

Beef & Barley Stew Recipe

Makes about 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil (use only if following oven method)
  • 1 lb. cubed beef stew meat
  • 1 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 small yellow or white onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 8 cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • Salt & pepper, to season
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Chopped parsley, to garnish

Preparation

To make in a slow cooker:

  1. Add stew meat*, barley, vegetables, garlic, canned tomatoes, paprika, herbs, and honey to slow cooker. Pour stock over and season generously with salt & pepper. Stir to combine.
  2. Cook until barley is softened and stew meat is tender, about 2 to 3 hours on high or 5 to 6 hours on low.
  3. Finish the stew with a small splash of red wine vinegar (this helps brighten up all the flavors). Season to taste with salt & pepper and serve with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.

To make in the oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat canola oil in a Dutch oven or large oven-safe pot over medium-high heat. Add stew meat in an single layer (cook in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding) and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per side.
  2. Remove stew meat from pot and set on a plate. Add vegetables and garlic and saute until beginning to soften and brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add barley, tomatoes, honey, paprika, herbs, and stock. Season generously with salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring to combine.
  4. Cover pot and place in oven. Cook until barley is softened and meat is tender, about 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Finish the stew with a small splash of red wine vinegar. Season to taste with salt & pepper and serve with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.

Notes

*For extra flavor, sear the stew meat as directed in Step 1 of the oven method before adding to the slow cooker.

This recipe is also published on redgerfarms.com, where my family sells all natural grass fed beef.


Pumpkin Juice | Harry Potter Recipes

Preliminary note: I in no way condone J.K. Rowling or her hurtful anti-trans sentiments. I believe in the power of stories and that books belong to their community of readers. I have made a commitment never to purchase merchandise, materials, or access to experiences (like Harry Potter World) that may financially benefit J.K. Rowling in anyway.

One of my favorite Harry Potter-inspired recipes I’ve ever made is pumpkin juice. I know! It’s not one of the all-stars that comes to mind when you think of wizarding treats, but it always stuck out to me. In the books, it was commonplace—it was on the table of every meal and served ice cold, similar to how we drink apple or orange juice. But how in the world is it even made? Can you actually juice a pumpkin?

Okay, I didn’t even try to juice a pumpkin. As I discussed in the pumpkin pasties post, I don’t really think fresh pumpkin is the way to go when we’re looking for concentrated flavor. So I turned again to canned pumpkin puree… plus a secret ingredient that not only bumps up the color but also adds earthy sweetness. Can you guess it? It’s carrot juice! Don’t knock it till you try it. Even the pre-bottled stuff from the cooler of the produce section adds a vegetal freshness that significantly brightens up the canned puree and complements the squash flavors.

The carrot and pumpkin, combined with apple cider, get all mingled and infused as it sits together in the fridge for a few days. Then, unless you like a thick drink, it’s a quick strain before you can pour your very own goblet of bright orange pumpkin juice.

For me, this version is a surprisingly perfect match for what I’ve always imagined. I’m truly shocked that no other recipes I’ve seen online use carrot juice. Most seemed to be “copycats” for the Universal version, which uses apple juice, apricot puree, sugar, and spice flavorings. Since the books describe pumpkin juice as a year-round drink, I forewent adding any autumnal spices like cinnamon and allspice. If you want those flavors, use a spiced cider or sprinkle in a pumpkin pie spice blend to taste at the beginning so that it gets nice and infused too.

Pumpkin Juice Recipe

Makes about 4 cups (approximately 5 to 6 servings)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1 1/2 cup carrot juice
  • 3/4 to 1 cup canned pumpkin puree*

Preparation

  1. Combine all ingredients in a pitcher and stir to incorporate. Refrigerate overnight or up to 4 days to infuse juice with pumpkin flavor.
  2. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve or a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Pour into a clean pitcher or bottle and chill until ready to serve. Juice will settle after sitting, so shake or stir before pouring.

Notes

*There’s about 1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree in a 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree. This recipe, along with Curried & Sweet Pumpkin Pasties, uses up a whole can. If you don’t want to make pasties (I get it), you can double this recipe or use the remaining in one of these great suggestions from The Kitchn.


Curried & Sweet Pumpkin Pasties | Harry Potter Recipes

At this point, it feels almost redundant to say that I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I mean, most of my generation is—we grew up reading the series, going to midnight premieres, and living in a worldwide obsession of the wizarding world. As I get older—and way less in favor of the series creator herself—I still find so much comfort and meaning in reading the books and interacting with the enduring fan communities, like that of Harry Potter & The Sacred Text.

I’m rereading the series for the umpteenth time. Of course, I always get extra excited about all the magical food and drinks. A few years ago, I hosted a dinner with friends and made a few inspired treats, intermingled with some British staples of a Sunday roast.

But… I didn’t write any recipes down. I can recall just a few details of a pumpkin juice that tasted exactly like what I imagined or the aspects I wanted to change about the treacle tart. Since I can’t just wave a wand and make all of it appear again, I’ve decided to recreate my versions of the fictional favorites from Harry Potter—starting with how to make pumpkin pasties.

Curried Pumpkin Pasties

Last time I made pumpkin pasties, I came across a post from Bijoux & Bits where she made a sweet variety along with a savory one. The idea stuck with me, and I started thinking about what kind of flavors would be used in a snack like this one. It came to me almost immediately: curry. England has a reputation for their curry houses and tikka masala love—it makes sense that if pumpkin pasties were savory, they’d probably be spiced with an Indian-style curry blend.

So I started with a pie pumpkin (also called sugar pumpkins), which are meant for baking as opposed to the gigantic squashes that we carve up for jack-o’-lanterns. You could absolutely use sweet potatoes or butternut/acorn squash if pie pumpkins aren’t available. It should be roasted just until it’s soft and can be cubed, but not so much that it turns to mush when it’s mixed with sauteed onions and toasted curry powder. After baking, these pasties totally resembled baked samosas, with their super buttery crust and the warm, spiced squash filling. Perfect autumn snack!

I have to be totally honest though: I don’t actually think pumpkin pasties are savory. Although I’d love to think that the kids in the books had a savory, salty snack thrown in with all the treats, it seems like most of the witches and wizards in the books have major sweet tooths. So I made a sweet version as well.

Sweet Pumpkin Pasties

Okay, let me come clean. This recipe uses half of a pumpkin for the curried pasties and a portion of a can of pumpkin puree for the sweet. It’s a crime, I know—now there’s this leftover pumpkin that you have to deal with. Why did I commit this atrocity, you may ask? It came down to my stubborn imagination of a realistic shelf-stable sweet pasty. Pastries with diced veggies in them just aren’t going to stay fresh and edible for as long as ones with pureed fillings potentially could.

I know what you’re thinking: why not just puree the second half of that pumpkin we just roasted? I’ve got an answer for that too. Canned pureed pumpkin is actually made of closely related varieties of squash that have more concentrated sweetness and the “pumpkin” flavor that we’re familiar with, more so than the sugar pumpkins that you can find in stores. Sure, you could totally blend that other half and use it for your sweet pasties—but I strongly prefer the canned stuff when it comes to pumpkin puree. Don’t worry though! The other half of the roasted pumpkin is an excellent addition to cooked grains or pasta, chili, or a creamy pumpkin soup. The remainder of the canned puree can be used to make pumpkin juice or in any of these great suggestions.

For the spices in the sweet pasties, I didn’t want to just sprinkle in some pumpkin spice blend and call it good. I wanted these pasties to be lighter and brighter than the standard pumpkin pie filling. Yes, I did use cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, but the warmer flavors are balanced with zingy ginger and floral cardamom. Make sure you taste your filling—you can always add more of the spices to your taste!

Crimping

Okay, so we’ve made our filling and you’ve already prepared your pie crust (of course!). Now comes the hard part: crimping. I did a lot of research on Cornish pasties for this recipe, and found that there are two crimping styles: the top crimp and the side crimp. I loved the way the top crimp looked, but I think side crimping might be a tad more tradish. I compromised and crimped the savory pasties on the top and the sweet pasties on the side. If crimping by hand isn’t your forte, try the top crimp first as I had an easier time with it. If it’s still not working out, go back to folding them on their side and press the edges with a fork to seal. Don’t stress—do what works best for you!

I’ll be honest, my kitchen was warm on the day I made my pumpkin pasties. I kept all of the pie dough chilled except for when I was working with portions of it. Still, when it came time for crimping, it felt like the dough was “melting” almost immediately. It made getting a good seal on the pasties more difficult and the final product didn’t look as cute as they could have on a cooler day. One small way to avoid getting the dough too warm while you prepare the pasties is to dip your hands in cold water and dry them thoroughly before working with the dough. On the plus side, I made King Arthur Flour’s recipe using my food processor and, even though conditions were less than ideal, they still came out so flaky and buttery. I can’t recommend that recipe enough!

Curried & Sweet Pumpkin Pasties Recipe

Makes 8 curried and 8 sweet pumpkin pasties (16 total)

Curried Pumpkin Pasty Filling

Ingredients

  • 1 small pie pumpkin, about 2 lbs
  • Oil, to drizzle
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 ½ tsp. yellow curry powder*
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the tough stem off of the pumpkin and cut it in half.
  2. Scoop out the seeds** and stringy “guts.” Place cleaned halves on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and flip cut-side down.
  3. Roast on the middle oven rack until a knife slides through the skin and flesh with slight give, about 30 minutes.
  4. Carefully flip pumpkin halves over to allow steam to escape and prevent continued cooking of the pumpkin flesh. Let sit until cool enough to handle.
  5. Remove the pumpkin skin (it should peel off easily when pulled). Cut 1 half of the pumpkin flesh into small cubes, about 1/2-inch (you should have about 2 cups). Reserve the remaining pumpkin half for other uses.
  6. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sweat until transparent and softened, about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring often.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low and add curry powder. Toast until very aromatic, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in cubed pumpkin and honey.
  8. Season with salt & pepper to taste and let cool to room temperature.

Sweet Pumpkin Pasty Filling

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg (or freshly grated on a microplane)
  • 1/16 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/16 tsp. ground allspice

Preparation

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Assembly

Ingredients

  • 2 unrolled pie crust doughs (enough for a double crusted pie)
  • 2 eggs, beaten (for egg wash)

Preparation

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Split each dough into 8 portions (16 portions altogether) and form each portion into a ball. On a floured surface, roll one ball at a time into a 6-inch circle (don’t worry about them being perfectly round). Keep all the dough except the portion you’re working with chilled.
  3. For 8 of the circles, fill with 2 heaping tablespoons curried pumpkin filling. Brush edges of circle with beaten egg, fold, and crimp edges to seal. Keep any prepared pasties chilled until ready to bake.
  4. Repeat with remaining 8 circles, using 2 scant tablespoons of sweet pumpkin filling per pasty.
  5. Place prepared pasties on baking sheet and brush the outsides all over with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. These are best when eaten within a day, but you can store leftovers in the refrigerator and re-crisp in a warm oven.

Notes

* There are so many curry powders. I stuck to a “standard” Indian-style blend (Spice Islands Yellow Curry Powder). Mine was pretty cumin-heavy, so I added 1/2 tsp. coriander and 1/8 tsp. ground ginger to the pumpkin mixture to brighten it up. Feel free to use your favorite bottled or homemade curry blend!
** To roast pumpkin seeds, rinse off all of the pulp and let them dry on a baking sheet. Drizzle them lightly with oil and salt or season as desired. Roast in a 375°F oven until they start to brown, about for 10 to 15 minutes (shaking the sheet every 5 minutes or so). Let cool and get snacking!