Thursday, April 21, 2011

Braised Pork with Rosemary

The other day I was really in the mood to braise something.  I crave braised foods when I want a savory and comforting dish.  If you are nervous about cooking meat, braising is a fool-proof technique for beginner cooks because it's nearly impossible to mess up.  It creates food that is melt in your mouth delicious and uses minimal fat.

Braising is a combination cooking method that uses both dry and moist heat.  This is ideal for lean cuts to become flavorful, tender and moist.  The meat is first browned and is then cooked in a liquid that becomes the sauce for the meat.  The meat should be fork tender but not falling apart.  Braising is also convenient if you are busy.  You can prepare the dish and then let it cook while you go to the gym and get your laundry done.

What makes this bite better?
Pork always gets a bad rap, especially when it comes to healthy eating.  But pork tenderloin has less fat than chicken. Using a cooking method like braising allows you to infuse lean cuts with flavor and moisture without having to use fatty cuts or excess fat in the preparation.  Pork is a great source of lean protein and is also an excellent source of the B vitamins and other nutrients like iron and zinc.  In addition, this dish uses rosemary and sage to add flavor.  Herbs are loaded with phytochemicals and fresh herbs have been shown to pack more antioxidant power than dried herbs.  

Braised Pork Tenderloin with White Wine Rosemary and Sage
1 pound Pork Tenderloin
1 small white onion, diced
2 pieces garlic, minced
Fresh rosemary (5-6 sprigs)
Fresh sage (half the amount of fresh rosemary)
1 cup white wine
Extra-virgin olive oil

Drizzle olive oil and heat to medium-high.  Do not allow the olive oil to smoke.  Trim the tenderloin of excess fat and cut into pieces if necessary to fit into the pan.  Salt and pepper each side of the pork and place in the pan with half of the sprigs of fresh rosemary.  Allow each side to cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.  Remove from the pan.  In the same pan, add diced onion, minced garlic, fresh rosemary and fresh sage and saute until translucent.  Add one cup white wine and stir gently to remove any caramelization that has accumulated in the pan.  Return the pork to the pan and cook uncovered until the white wine reduces by about half.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for at least 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pork from the sauce and allow it to rest for 10 minutes or so.  Slice it and pour the sauce from the pan over the pork.  Serve and enjoy :)

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