PORK TENDERLOIN ROULADE WITH PUMPKIN AND PECANS

This is a super simple recipe, but one that looks like you spent a considerable effort to bring to the table. I made it sous-vide, but you don’t have to do it this way, I offer alternatives for stove-top cooking. You can also use chicken breasts instead of pork, I made it both ways, not sure which one I prefer, I think the pork makes it easier to roll and looks a bit more tidy in the end. So that’s the one I picked to highlight today.

PORK TENDERLOIN ROULADE WITH PUMPKIN AND PECANS
(adapted from The Essential Sous Vide Cookbook)

2 pork tenderloins (about 1.2 pounds each)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup canned pumpkin purée
¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
2 tsp Southwest spice mix (I used Penzey’s)
3/4 cup chicken broth (divided)
¼ cup apple cider
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon flour

Heat the water bath to 150°F.

Butterfly the pork tenderloins and use a rolling-pin or a meat mallet to flatten the meat to about 1/4 inch thick. Protect them with a plastic wrap and sprinkle the meat with a tiny amount of water before pounding. Season with salt and pepper all over.

In a small bowl, stir together the pumpkin purée, the pecans, the Southwest mix, and a smidgen of salt. Spread half the filling on each piece of meat, leaving a ½-inch border around it. Roll up each pork tenderloin jelly-roll style, starting at the narrow end, and tie with kitchen twine (use 4 or so pieces to cover the extension of the roll).

Pour ¼ cup of chicken broth and the apple cider into the bag. Add the roulades, and seal using the water displacement method. Place the bag in the water bath and cook for 5 to 6 hours. Remove the roulades from the bag, reserving the cooking liquid (pass it through a sieve if you prefer a smooth sauce in the end). Place the roulades on a paper towel–lined plate and pat them dry.

In a medium ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the pork and brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.  If needed, add a bit more oil to the skillet, add the flour, cook it for a couple of minutes, then add 1 cup of chicken broth plus the reserved cooking liquid. Cook until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove the strings from the meat, cut in slices and serve with the gravy.

For non-sous vide cooking: make the roulades and start by browning them on all sides on a skillet with very hot olive oil. When golden brown, add the chicken stock and apple cider, cover, and simmer gently until cooked through, making sure the liquid comes at least to half the height of the roulades. Depending on the thickness of the roulades, it will take 45 minutes to 1 hour. Baste the roulades and turn them around on all sides during cooking.  Once done, reduce the cooking liquid by boiling, or if you like more of a gravy consistency, do the flour trick as described in the recipe.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The temperature for cooking pork is a matter of taste. I’ve mentioned it before, we don’t care for pork still pink in the center, so I always go for 150F. You should do what suits your taste. The sous-vide has two advantages, the flexibility in time – you can even push the cooking time a bit further, if needed – and the way it keeps the roulade shape during cooking, even though it is not vacuum-sealed. Of course, the texture of the meat is perfect when made sous-vide, but you can still get a very nice meal on the stove-top, it just takes a bit more of tending during cooking. You don’t want to over-cook the delicate meat, or leave it uncooked in the center.  As I mentioned, I also used chicken breasts, and the rolled effect is not as nice, but it still tasted great. For chicken breasts, I reduced the cooking time to 4 hours, and used 148 F. Probably not much difference from 150F, but that’s what I did.


I love to find uses for canned pumpkin puree, because I often use some in a recipe and have leftovers staring at me later. Yes, it freezes well, but there is a limit to the number of little packages one can keep track in the freezer. I rather open a can, use it all up, and move on. When I made the recipe a second time, I did not even toast the pecans and it was still very nice, so a few shortcuts here and there don’t hurt. The sous-vide is perfect for working days. I can prepare it all the evening before, leave the bag in the fridge, set up the water-bath at lunch next day, and arrive home to a nice, almost effortless dinner. A couple of side dishes, and we are set.

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CHICKEN KORMA-ISH

Chicken Korma is a classic Indian recipe, but due to the considerable amount of liberties I took with this classic, I must be upfront about it in the title, to avoid the Food Police coming after me.  For starters, I cooked it sous-vide. I know, what was I thinking?  But I tell you, the perfect texture is worth it. Perhaps you are familiar with the concept of velveting meat before stir-frying? It is widely used in Chinese cooking and does wonders for chicken breast, pork tenderloin, or shrimp, typical types of protein that will often dry up when submitted to the intense heat of the wok. Chicken Korma is not a stir-fry, but the improvement in texture offered by the gentle cooking in the water-bath made me think of velveting. To add insult to injury, I omitted several spices that make Korma a Korma. There you go. Rebel. My middle name. Inspiration came from this recipe at Anova Culinary, a great source for sous-vide cooking.

chicken-korma

SOUS-VIDE CHICKEN KORMA
(inspired by Anova Culinary)

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 shallot, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup cashews
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Fresh cilantro, for serving

Set the sous-vide to 150°F (65°C).

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, salt, ginger, garam masala, curry powder, cinnamon, turmeric and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender. Add the cream, yogurt, cashews, lemon juice, and honey. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Combine the pureed sauce with the chicken in a large zipper lock bag. Seal the bag using the water immersion technique and place in the water bath. Set the timer for 2 hours to 3 hours.

When the timer goes off, remove the bag from the water bath. Transfer the entire contents of the bag to a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

served

Comments: We adored this recipe. Period. If you look at the original, you’ll notice I substantially reduced the amount of heavy cream. It was plenty rich this way already, and it had enough sauce in the bag to form a luscious sauce. Of course, if you prefer the extra richness given by more cream, go for it.  I also used fewer spices.  On my second time around, instead of cilantro I sautéed a few cashews until golden brown and sprinkled all over when bringing it to the table. Phil liked the second version even better, I cannot decide.  One thing is certain; this will go in our regular rotation of recipes. If you don’t have sous-vide, simply use a regular pan, saute the chicken pieces (you could velvet them before for better texture), then add the ingredients for the sauce and simmer very gently until cooked through.  Yogurt has a tendency to separate, something that might be a bit more likely cooking on the stove top. Indeed, that is another benefit of sous-vide, with such a gentle heat, the yogurt mellows down gently, without putting up a fight and curdling right in front of your eyes…

secondSecond time around… double cashews, ground in the sauce,
and sautéed for serving…


chicken-korma-from-bewitching-kitchen

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ZAKARIAN’S PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED CHICKEN BREAST

One of the only shows I watch on FoodTV these days is The Kitchen, with Marcela Valladolid, Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro,  and the one and only Geoffrey Zakarian. The crowd has great chemistry together, each person bringing something different and fun to the show. Zakarian offers that touch of class and knowledge, sophisticated without ever being obnoxious, a tricky line to negotiate. Recently he shared a recipe with his characteristic signature: elegant, complex, but not overly fussy.  Chicken breasts filled with ricotta,  wrapped in prosciutto, crisped up on the stove top and finished in the oven. A quick pan sauce beautifully crowned the dish, bringing capers to the party. I have a weak spot for capers, in case you did not notice yet…  As I watched him prepare the recipe, I could not stop thinking that the whole thing would be perfect for sous-vide.  And sous-vide was the path I took. It was O.M.G. delicious. With the most enthusiastic happy dance to go with it.  Of course, if you don’t have the Anova gadget, don’t let that stop you.  I give you the exact method used by Zakarian in the show. However, I tell you, the texture of the meat cooked at that magical 141 F for hours… was superb. Superb!

zakarian-chicken-breast

PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED CHICKEN BREAST
(adapted from G. Zakarian)

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup (about 60g)  sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (divided)
150g ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh sage
1 large egg yolk
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
9 slices prosciutto
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 shallot, finely diced
1/4 cup (60 mL) Verjus (or white wine)
1/2  cup (120 mL) chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter

If using regular cooking, heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Using a small knife, make an incision in the top rounded end of a chicken breast, cutting through the center and to the ends without breaking the sides, to form a pocket for the stuffing.

Combine 1/2 cup of the tomatoes, ricotta, walnuts, sage and egg yolk in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Using a spoon (or place the filling into a piping bag without a tip), stuff each chicken breast with 1/3 of the ricotta mixture. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then lay the prosciutto into sheets of three pieces each, and roll around each stuffed breast. Heat the canola oil in a large, ovenproof saute pan until almost smoking. Sear the chicken breasts on the seam side of the prosciutto, then flip and sear the other side.Transfer the whole pan to the hot oven until the center of the chicken registers 160 degrees F, about 15 minutes.

If using sous-vide method: wrap each piece in plastic, then seal in a foodsaver type bag. Submerge in a water bath set to 141 F for 4 hours. When the time is up, remove the meat from the package, dry well and proceed to browning both sides on the stove top.

For both types of cooking, continue to make a pan sauce:  remove the chicken from the pan, add 1/2 cup of the sun-dried tomatoes, capers and shallots and cook over medium-high heat for 1 minute to soften the shallots. Add the Verjus to deglaze the pan, the chicken stock and cook until reduced by half, then swirl in the butter. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Slice the chicken and serve with the sauce.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

composite

Comments: I had a bit of a tough time filling the chicken. First I tried it as recommended, without a tip in the piping bag, but my bag was too thin, not sturdy enough to force the filling in. I tried with a tip, but the largest one I had was not wide enough and kept plugging with the pieces of walnuts. Since I was going to wrap the pieces with plastic anyway, I ended up cutting a slit around the side, opening the meat like a book, then rolling the prosciutto around. During the sous-vide cooking, it all turned into a perfectly shaped package. If you have a sturdy piping bag, it should work well.

What I love about sous-vide is how flexible you can be with timing. I served this meal for dinner on a super busy Sunday, in which we had no idea when we would be ready to finally sit down to eat. I set the water bath at 3pm and knew that whenever we wanted to have dinner, it would be a matter of 10 minutes to sear the pieces, and make the pan sauce. I had side dishes already made, just waiting to be re-heated. Easy but very impressive dinner.  Meat was perfectly cooked, the prosciutto gets all crusty and salty and tasty. And the sauce… capers are the perfect addition.  Zakarian really knows his way around food, Iron Chef that he is. And his beautiful gray hair only adds to his charm. Partial? Me? You’d think?   😉

About that Verjus: If you don’t have it, use white wine or simply chicken stock.  I am getting more and more fond of its subtle flavor, the way it brings mild acidity to a sauce or dressing.  And, by the way, did you know that a little Verjus mixed with carbonated water is a fantastic drink? Elaine tried it first and raved about it. Some people add sweetener, but we both like it straight. I am very fond of carbonated water with drops of bitters such as Angostura, so I’m not surprised that Verjus pleased me so much.

But, I digress. This is about the Zakarian’s recipe, and you definitely need to try it!  Perfect for a dinner party, you can assemble the chicken before, sear it quickly and bake it. Your guests will be impressed, thinking you slaved away for hours. But truth is, you did not…

prosciutto-wrapped-chicken-breast-from-bewitching-kitchen

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