Pork with Asparagus, Mustard, and Dark Beer
I asked my friend Chef Jeff what he would do with asparagus and this is what he said: “I know that we would take pork tenderloin and onion and aparagus and sautee, add whole grain mustard and hit it with a dark beer, one of my favorites.”
Hmm sounds like an interesting taste combination … but I don’t have much experience with cooking pork. I remember making a pork roast carnitas when I was a teenager that was so tender it would fall apart–it was excellent just like that but also sooo good in tacos and burritos! But since then my attempts at pork have been dry and dismal. I was more hopeful with this one … I can handle this, right? How can you go wrong with a good mustard and dark beer? (And hey, if it fails, at least I get to drink the beer, right?)
It took me a couple days to get to the store to buy some pork tenderloin and in the meantime, I had lots of questions running around in my head … how should I cut the pork? medallions or chunks? should I add garlic? seasonings? herbs? I have a hard time leaving those things out, so I figured it would be a good idea to include a couple large cloves of garlic, some fresh rosemary, thyme and just a bit of basil. And what to serve with it? Rice? Potatoes? Pasta? hmm …
As it turned out, I was starving for a really good lunch today and I don’t like to eat heavy at night, so I decided to whip this recipe up in the middle of my work day. I was really surprised how quickly it came together–I had the whole dish done in 30 minutes and was back to work. I chopped vegies like a mad woman, gathered my herbs and stoked up my frying pan. I needed something quick for a side, so I opted for something really quick and healthy that I had on-hand: whole wheat couscous.
The pork and herbs: I opted to just slice it horizontally.
Chopped asparagus, garlic, and onion–and yes, that’s the mustard I used. It was the closest thing to a spicy brown mustard that I had on hand.
- 3/4 lb. pork tenderloin, sliced
- A splash of extra virgin olive oil
- A good size handful of asparagus, chopped into about 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 onion, chopped (I used a vidalia because I have a bunch of them for my salads …)
- 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
- About 2 T. of spicy brown mustard (I used The Silver Palate’s Green Peppercorn with Garlic mustard)
- Roughly 1/4 to 1/3 of a 12-oz. good, dark beer. I used a Ranger IPA, but I think something darker like a porter or a stout might be even better.
- Fresh thyme leaves: I think I stripped about 4 – 5 little thyme branches for this dish.
- Fresh rosemary, chopped fine. I used one branch that was about 4 inches long.
- Just a few fresh basil leaves, chopped
- Fresh ground pepper
- Spray the pan with cooking spray, then heat to med-high.
- Once the pan is good and hot, add the olive oil and rotate the pan to spread it around a bit. Add the pork, onion, garlic, and asparagus. Sautee for several minutes until the pork is just cooked through and the asparagus is crisp tender. I lowered the heat to med-low part-way through and covered the pan to seal in the juices while I sliced up some tomato to put in the couscous. Then I turned the heat back up to finish it.
- Add the mustard to the pan and stir well to mix the mustard with the juices in the pan, then pour in the beer and stir till you have a bubbly sauce that is about the consistency that you want.
- Mix in the herbs. Add the pepper.
- Serve with your choice of side dish. I used couscous with tomato, pine nuts, and goat cheese, but I think it would be really lovely over mashed potatoes.