M. Andrew Gordon

Seared Pork Tenderloin with Maple Brussels Sprout Slaw

In Main Dish, Sauces, Side Dishes on October 21, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Seared Pork, maple sprout slaw, and white acorn squashLast night I made an attempt at putting together an interesting dinner and while it didn’t quite live up to the expectations I had in mind, there were some good ideas.  Most things needed some extra tweaking, but in the interest of greater culinary education, I’ll write about it anyway.  For those who are new to Just Add Bacon, what I’m trying to do is develop at least one new recipe a week, not necessarily with bacon.  The way I see it, the more I write about my attempts, even those attempts I can’t fully recommend, the more I might get in feedback about how to adjust certain things.

Last night’s dinner was seared pork tenderloin over a maple Brussels sprout slaw with a roasted white acorn squash on the side.  In theory, this wasn’t a bad start.  But the biggest problem was that the strong flavor of the sprouts just overpowers the pork here.  Had I served grilled beef tenderloin or filet mignon or even a skirt steak here, the results would have been far superior.  Beef just has that extra flavor that, in my opinion, pairs so well with Brussels sprouts.  The cranberry BBQ sauce that I glazed the pork with was pretty good, though.

Although it stands to be said that this is not the definitive Collamore Cranberry BBQ sauce, named after its most vocal proponent.  The CC BBQ recipe has been lost to the ages but I intend to recreate it in the coming weeks.  This cheap, five minute version is a perfectly good substitute for a dish like this.

The other downside of the meal was that in the interest of simplicity I parboiled the sprouts – I know that is normal, but to me it just kills the flavor, resulting in a strong cabbage tang.  Not that I have anything against cabbage, but if I’m eating Brussels sprouts, I want to taste Brussels sprouts, which when cooked with a dry heat develop an almost nutty flavor.  So in the future, I will roast or even grill the sprouts before I shred them.  But since it was still pretty good, the recipe is below.

And finally, the squash was good, but the combination of butter, lime zest, triple sec, and tequila that I brushed theWhite Acorn Squashsquash with just didn’t quite do it for me.  I was worried that the tequila might lend a strong, astringent flavor but really, the squash was just a little bit plain.  The lime and triple sec flavors were nice, however, so next time I might try omitting the tequila and adding a small amount of brown sugar to the butter, lime, and triple sec.  I’ll try it again and post here.

So, the pork didn’t quite go with the slaw, the slaw’s flavor was a little off, and the squash was a little plain.  Still, it wasn’t the worst meal I’ve ever had.

Five Minute Cranberry BBQ Sauce

  • 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Combine cranberries, water, and sugar in sauce pan and place over medium-high heat.  Stirring often, cook until mixture begins to boil and cranberries start to pop open.  Keep heat high, stirring.
  2. When all cranberries have burst and sauce has become deep red color, add ketchup, molasses, liquid smoke, and season with salt and pepper.

Brussels Sprout Slaw with Maple DressingMaple Brussels Sprout Slaw

  • ½ lb Brussels sprouts
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  1. Cut stem end from sprouts and cut a deep “X” into the base of each sprout.
  2. Parboil until bright green.  Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
  3. Using the grating disc of a food processor, shred the sprouts.  Shred the carrot.
  4. In small bowl, combine oil, vinegar, and maple syrup.  Add shredded vegetables and toss to coat.
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  1. Do you think there’s a way to make the brussel sprouts slaw with frozen ones?

    • Good question; I guess maybe roasting them for a longer period of time at a lower temperature, say 45 minutes at 300F, might be good. I’m not that familiar with frozen brussels sprouts but I assume they’re like a lot of other vegetables that can get soggy when defrosted. The longer time at a lower temperature seems like it might help dry them out a bit. Let me know if you try it…and good luck!

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