If you recall, my first Dinner is Served! card was #41 Fruit Stuffed Pork Loin. That dish, albeit my first try and very technical, was a great success. Seriously. Read Cleveland’s comments from that one. Dinner is Served! had impressed with its first pork dish, and had a lot to live up to with #85 Roast Pork Tenderloin.
Now, with #41, I did use a true pork tenderloin. This time, meat was on special BOGO. You could mix and match a pork loin something or other, a beef round roast something or other, assorted chicken pieces, and 97/3 ground beef. I have chicken and ground beef in the freezer already, so pork it is!
For the first time, I used a piece of meat larger than recommended. Now, can I say that it was the cut of pork or the size of said pork that made the cooking time go as long as a Ken Burns series on the goddamned Civil War? *Note: ‘I Hate the Civil War But Love the Great Potato Famine’ was the title of one of my poetry portfolios in college. No, I can’t just blame the meat. But I suspect that a lot of the blame could go to my shitty apartment-sized oven that is apparently 20-40 degrees below what the dial indicates.
I have decided (especially after #10 Roast Chicken, which follows this meal) that I need an oven thermometer. I have NO CLUE as to what’s going on in there temperature-wise at any given moment. Sometimes it’s like a goddamned volcano and other times it’s like Superman’s arctic Fortress of Solitude.
The entire preparation of #85 could’ve been even less than the 2 hours required because of my utilization of pre-made/cut foods like bagged salad, frozen pepper strips, and canned white potatoes. But NO! This whole meal took a little under 3 hours because of oven error/misuse/dysfunction.
In lieu of numerous photos, I tried to make more of a comprehensive timeline since lately I have had no idea when I was doing what and what happened when. So here it is:
6:45pm I began dinner by preparing the meat: slashing channels into the loin and filling them with a mixture of butter, fresh parsley, pepper and salt (I used some rosemary salt that I made when I last bought fresh herbs. Just put the fresh herb of your choice in with a container with kosher salt. Let it sit for a couple of weeks, remove the herb, and you have herb-infused salt). I also added a bit of garlic powder because I like garlic.
7:08 meat in skillet to brown. I wish that I had taken a photo at this point, because it did brown nicely.
7:25 meat (in same skillet) transferred to oven. Remember, it is at this point I am directed by #85 to leave the pork in for 20-30 minutes.
7:35 put dinner rolls in oven
7:36 start potato balls (canned white potatoes in a saucepan with a bit of butter, salt, pepper, and chopped parsley. There was no way in hell that I was going to take a melon baller to russet potatoes).
7:41 take a gander at the pork and the meat thermometer. This can’t be right. It reads that the meat hasn’t cooked at all. This is when I realize that our oven dial must be incorrect. I take the thermometer out to make sure I am reading it correctly.
7:55 when the meat should be coming out of the oven, I just up the temperature (the rolls aren’t brown, either). And I turn off the heat on the potatoes.
7:59 I reinsert the thermometer. No, I was reading it correctly. I just have a whole 40 degrees to go.
8:18 almost 20 minutes later I bump the oven to (what reads on the dial) 400 degrees. There is still another 20+ degrees to go before it hits ‘pork.’ This damn thing has been in there for about 50 minutes.
8:20 I take a moment to think about future slow cooker possibilities. And I take the rolls out.
8:50 so close! Pork is at ‘chicken.’
9:00 HUZZAH! Internal temperature reached. While the pork is on a platter in an ‘off’ oven, I saute the frozen pepper strips, and Cleve makes the gravy in the roast pan.
9:05 or so. Stop to watch Pitt’s last minute loss. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.
9:25 all is completed, plated, and photographed.
Just think! It only took almost 3 annoying hours to cook this fucker! And I used every single pot and pan in my kitchen! JOY!
Final thoughts: I am happy to report that I got 2 lunches (complete with potatoes and gravy) and one frozen weeknight meal out of this.
I also killed a bag of frozen pepper strips from my freezer. The rolls were free because there is some underground bartering system with bread delivery men. They trade extra stock when on their routes. So the Arnold gives one guy bread and in return gets Twinkies and HoHos. I don’t know the logistics (a colleague’s husband delivers bread). All I know is that I got rolls and Wonder Bread.
It was a good pork dish, but not as good as #41 Fruit Stuffed Pork Loin. I did like the butter/parsely “filling” and even though the pork was in the oven for eons, it wasn’t at all dry. So far so good. Dinner is Served! hasn’t let me dry out a piece of meat yet.
Also, Cleve did succeed in making a very delicious gravy. It didn’t look too appetizing because it was white and thick like sausage gravy, but it tasted good because it was white and thick like sausage gravy. He will from this point on be known as Gravy Master.
Yes, they count. The box contains the words ‘cherry’ and ‘tarts.’ And they were on sale.