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Porchetta-esque Pork Tenderloins #EasterinPlace

I usually use holidays to push myself out of my culinary comfort zone and try something new. I have yet to make a porchetta, or roast suckling pig. But, alas!, Easter 2020 equals #EasterinPlace so I haven't been out grocery shopping except for essentials...and we can't have a meal with my parents as they are strictly sheltered in place at their own house. I realized, though, that I did have two pork tenderloins in my freezer. So, I thawed them out and attempted the flavors of porchetta on roasted tenderloin. Success!!

Just bear in mind that you will need to start this dish a day ahead of when you want to serve it as the pork needs to marinade overnight. Otherwise, this dish is surprisingly simple and amazingly flavorful. One of these days, I'll get my hands on a suckling pig and actually make a porchetta. Till then, this will work.

Ingredients serves 6 to 8

  • 2 T fennel seeds
  • 1 t fennel pollen
  • 1 T coarse salt
  • 2 t black peppercorns
  • 1 t dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 to 4 pounds pork (I used two pork tenderloins that were just under 2 pounds each)
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
  • 2 T olive oil + more for brushing
  • 3 organic rosemary sprigs (2 for roasting, 1 for garnish)
  • 1/2 C broth (I used chicken bone broth)
  • Also needed: braiser or Dutch oven, meat thermometer is optional

Stir fennel seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until slightly darker in color and aromatic, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer seeds to spice mill and cool. Add coarse salt, peppercorns, and dried crushed red pepper. Grind to medium consistency; you don't want a powder.

Place pork in lidded dish. Rub garlic all over pork, then massage in the spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the pork to the counter and preheat oven to 350°F.

In a lidded braiser or Dutch oven, heat 2 T olive oil and add the pork pieces. Brown them on all sides for about a minute each.

Spoon the marinade over the top and place 2 rosemary sprigs in the pan with the pork.  Drizzle with 2 T oil and cover with the lid. Place the pan in the oven and roast pork 20 minutes. If you are using a meat thermometer, check that its internal temperature is at least 145°F.

Transfer pork to cutting board and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. In the meantime, put the pan over medium heat. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Simmer until the sauce is thickened and reduced to a sauce consistency.

Thinly slice the tenderloins. Drizzle with the pan sauce and garnish with another rosemary sprig. Serve immediately though, if you have leftovers, this would make a delicious sandwich.


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