Posts Tagged ‘rosemary’

Grilled Rosemary-Fig Pork Tenderloin

October 3, 2011

Pork tenderloin is a favorite in our house, so I make it frequently.  I change-up the flavorings depending on my mood, and sometimes it’s perfect grilled with nothing but a little salt and pepper.

On a recent night I was looking at my overgrown rosemary plant and decided to make use of it.  Rosemary pairs very nicely with pork, and gives it a great Mediterranean flair.  I created a simple marinade from the rosemary leaves, olive oil, garlic, and some fig-infused balsamic vinegar for a decidedly Italian flavor.  By using a ziplock plastic bag in which to marinate the pork, you can easily turn the meat inside the sealed bag, plus you save yourself the trouble of cleaning one extra dish.  And a tip–to easily mix your marinade, put the plastic bag in a large measuring cup and fold it open around the top of the cup.  This makes it easy to pour in ingredients without your bag tipping over and spilling!

The result was delicious, although you have to be careful to keep the grill temperature low, so the sugars in the fig vinegar don’t burn too much ( a little charring is preferable, in my opinion…just don’t go overboard!).  Depending on the size of your tenderloin, the cooking time could vary from as little as 20 minutes, to as much as 45, so just be sure to check it fairly frequently.  I paired the meat with some grill-roasted green beans that I drizzled with some garlic-infused olive oil and sprinkled with salt.  Delicious—-and no inside mess to clean up!

Grilled Rosemary-Fig Pork Tenderloin

Serves 4

1.5 – 1.75  lbs pork tenderloin (one large or two small tenderloins)

2 rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped off and stem discarded

1 glove garlic, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fig balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper

In a large ziplock bag, mix the rosemary leaves, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

Add the pork and seal bag securely.  Shake the bag around so all the meat is coated in marinade.  Allow to marinate in fridge for 1-2 hours (or on the countertop for up to 30 minutes).

Preheat grill to medium heat.  Place pork on hot grates and cook until meat begins to release from grates (this could be anywhere from 7-15 minutes depending on size of tenderloin).

Turn meat once or twice until it has nice grill marks on each side and internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Optional:  boil reserved marinade in a saucepan on the stove top until reduced to a syrupy sauce.  Serve over meat.  Note–never use marinade that has been in contact with raw pork unless it is thoroughly boiled first.

Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.

Balsamic Pork Chops with Apple

April 11, 2011

My most popular Connecticut cooking class of 2011 (so far) has been one called “Five Ingredient Dishes”.  One of the dishes in this class is my take on a recipe I discovered for Orange-Balsamic Chicken.   It is simple, fast, and absolutely delicious.  In a recent section of the class, someone asked me what substitutions could be made for the chicken.  My first thought was pork.  But as I rolled that around in my head, I added, “but I bet if you swapped out apples for the oranges it would be fabulous!”    Ever since Peter Brady uttered his famous “pork chooooooops and apple schaaaaauce” line at the Brady dinner table, the two ingredients have been forever linked in my mind.  Well, that idea was stuck in my head until the next time I went to the grocery store and bought the ingredients for my newly conceived dish. 

The result?  Something so good I might even like it better than the chicken dish!  Everyone loved it, including my kids.  My older daughter actually asked if I’d make it again soon, which for any parent is the equivalent of being knighted. 

I used boneless pork chops, which are lean and cook relatively quickly.  For the apples, I used Gala, because that is what I tend to keep in my fridge.  They were small, so I used two, but one large-sized apple would also work just as well (although may take a bit longer to soften).  For a fresh herb, I added rosemary.  You could certainly substitute parsley for a little color if you don’t care for the strong, woodsy flavor of the rosemary (although I think the rosemary makes it amazing). 

This is a great example of taking the concept for one recipe, and making it into something completely new, completely different, and maybe even better than the original!  So go ahead, take a few chances and play with your food!  You might be surprised with the delicious results!

Balsamic Pork Chops with Apple

Serves 4

4 boneless pork chops (about 1.5 lbs total)

1 large or 2 small apples, sliced into wedges

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

1 pat of unsalted buter

olive oil/salt+pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Season pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides.

In a large, oven-proof skillet (do not use Teflon coated), heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil until hot but not smoking.

Brown the chops on each side until a nice golden brown.  Add apples to the pan and transfer into the preheated oven and cook for about 7 minutes, or until pork is cooked through and only a hint of pink remains.

Remove pan from oven and return to stovetop.  Remove pork to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.  Turn heat to medium high and add balsamic vinegar to pan to ‘deglaze” (a term used to mean ‘scrape up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan using a liquid and heat”).  Add rosemary and cook for a couple minutes until apples are tender.  Add pat of butter and stir until melted.  Pour apples and balsamic sauce over pork and serve immediately.

Grilled Rosemary Leg of Lamb

August 28, 2009


My grocery lists tend to be on the “loose” side.  Sure, they always start with the basics….milk, juice, creamer, eggs, bread, fruit.  But after that I usually make some indication of how many nights worth of dinners I’ll need for the week, depending on our schedule.  “Dinner x3” or “Dinner x4” is what I write.  I do not plan actual meals in advance, but instead opt to see what looks good at the store that week.  Eggplant looking good?  Maybe a grilled eggplant parm one night.  Chicken breasts on sale?  Perhaps I’ll make a chicken stir-fry with whatever veggies are in season.  This week, boneless, butterflied leg of lamb was on sale, so I decided that would be on this week’s menu.  It helps to have an encyclopedia of recipes circulating around your head, but if you’re drawing a blank, I found a cool iPhone application called “All Recipes” where you type in an ingredient and it gives you several recipe ideas for that particular item.

Because my brain is still on vacation mode, I decided I’d grill my entire meal, including the leg of lamb.  Rosemary, garlic and lamb are a classic combination, so I plucked a few branches of rosemary from my outdoor herb garden, minced up some garlic, and slathered them both on my lamb along with some salt, pepper, and olive oil. 

I paired the meat with my favorite Garlic Grilled Potatoes, and did a grilled foil-packet version of my green beans and tomatoes (to which I added a pinch of the fresh rosemary as well).  Throw it all on the grill and you have a fabulous meal…keeping the heat and the mess all outside.  On this 90 degree day, that alone was worth its weight in gold!

Rosemary Grilled Leg of Lamb

Serves 4

2 lb boneless, butterflied leg of lamb

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

olive oil

salt and pepper

In a small bowl, mix together the rosemary, garlic and about a teaspoon of olive oil.  Rub all over the lamb and season generously with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Preheat the grill to medium-high.  Place the lamb on the grill and reduce heat to medium. 

Grill for approximately 12-15 minutes, then flip over.  Grill an additional 12-15 minutes, then remove to a platter.  Allow to rest for about 10 minutes.  Slice and serve hot.


Click here for more information about Tracy’s Connecticut cooking classes, or to read her The Secret Ingredient Blog.

It’s (Not) Mutton, Honey!

March 6, 2009

Sometimes I think lamb gets a bad rap.  Maybe it is because people think it is a tiny bit gamy, or perhaps the idea of eating a fluffy white lamb seems worse than a not-so-cuddly cow.  Farm images aside, I happen to love lamb. 

I often make lamb at Eastertime, as is traditional in many cultures.  One year after a few glasses of wine, one of my guests admitted that he was a bit apprehensive about spending Easter with us when he found out I was making lamb.  However, no one gets away from my table without taking a “brownie bite” of everything, and our guest surprised himself by liking the lamb.  I’ve usually made a leg of lamb, although a rack of lamb is often seen as a little fancier (and pricier).  Recently, after receiving a freelance assignment to re-work an existing lamb recipe, I’ve become a big fan of lamb chops.  Lamb chops can be purchased bone-in or boneless, and both are tasty.  I prefer the boneless sirloin chops because they are a little less messy to deal with at the table, but either variety will yield flavorful results (the accompanying photo is of a bone-in chop).  I also love lamb steaks, which I’ll talk about in a minute.

Lamb chops are perfect for breading, and a combination of crunchy Japanese -style breadcrumbs (called “Panko” breadcrumbs) and fresh rosemary make for an attractive and fragrant dish.  When breading the chops it is necessary to bake rather than broil them so the breadcrumbs don’t begin to burn before the meat is cooked.  Lamb is best cooked to medium-rare, and definitely no more than medium (still a bit of pink). 

I also have become a fan of lamb steaks, which are usually a center cut of the leg.  Like the chops, they are relatively quick cooking and tasty.  I like to cook them on my outdoor grill in warmer weather, and simply put them under the broiler when I don’t feel like braving the elements.  I prepare them simply by rubbing with a mixture of olive oil, salt, pepper, freshly chopped rosemary and garlic. 

If you haven’t already, give lamb a try.  It really is a delicious, sweet meat and is not gamy at all.  Older lamb, usually referred to as “mutton” is a bit stronger in flavor, but young lamb (it should be light pink to pinkish -red) is really a treat.


Rosemary-Panko Crusted Lamb Chops

Serves 4
2 lbs lamb chops (4 bone-in shoulder chops or 8 small boneless sirloin chops)

2/3 cup Panko (Japanese style) bread crumbs
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

2 small cloves garlic, minced
½  teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Combine the bread crumbs, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

Brush both sides of each chop with mustard, and coat in  breadcrumb mixture.

Place chops on a rack on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until medium rare (the bone-in chops may take a few extra minutes of cooking time)