Pork Tenderloin and Cannellini Beans

tues mornThe weather this spring has been fickle; some days are so gorgeous I swear there has never been a more perfect day. Others are a bit on the cool side with wind, rain, and darkness. Mother Nature is having a hard time making up her mind what she wants the weather to be for us. My hope is with the turning over of the month, she’s decided she will continue to give us gorgeous days after her cold shoulder this past winter!

On these cool evenings, I still turn on the oven for a warm meal. And when I saw this recipe, I could already smell the rosemary, sage, and garlic. We have pork just a couple of times a month, since the Eater of the House doesn’t really like it, but I noticed he went back for seconds when I made this dish. I had forgotten how much I loved long-simmered beans with garlic and herbs. They were so delicious and leftovers for lunch the next day were even better!

This recipe is fairly easy and inexpensive to make. Once you brown the meat, just toss the beans, tomatoes, and garlic together, and pop it in the oven. I forgot to buy fresh sage, so I used a dash or two of dried to substitute and didn’t worry about topping with parsley, although the fresh herbs would be fantastic. This meal was delicious and I know I’ll be making it again when it starts to get really cold!

This ain't your mama's pork and beans!

This ain’t your mama’s pork and beans!


Pork Tenderloin and Cannellini Beans
This recipe originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Cooking Light magazine.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: about 3 ounces pork and 1/2 cup bean mixture)

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped tomato
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (15-ounce) can unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Combine rosemary, fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl. Rub spice mixture evenly over pork.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add pork; cook 9 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove pork from pan. Add onion and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add tomato and sage; cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, chicken stock, red pepper, and cannellini beans, and bring to a boil. Return pork to pan, and place pan in oven. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until a thermometer registers 140°.
4. Place pork on a cutting board; let stand 5 minutes. Heat pan over medium heat; cook bean mixture 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Sprinkle with parsley. Thinly slice pork; serve with bean mixture.

mayaMVK’s Endorsement of the Week
I was saddened to hear about the death of Maya Angelou last week. I blazed through her six-book memoir right out of college; at a directionless period in my life, I found her books inspirational to say the least. I feel fortunate to have been able to see her speak about 20 years ago. While approaching the stage, she recited her poem, “Phenomenal Woman” as she made her way to the podium. For those who know that poem, you know what a powerful moment she created.

A couple of years ago, I was listening to NPR’s Food podcast (it was December, so she kept me company on a snowy drive to work) and I enjoyed an interview with her about her newest cookbook. (Who knew she also was a food writer? Certainly not me!) There was something she said during that interview that struck me and has stayed with me for those three years. A young woman was in her home and they were eating sandwiches for lunch. The young woman insisted on standing at the counter instead of sitting at the kitchen table to eat. “To not sit at the table is to lose something that’s essential to community,” she said.

I have remembered her words ever since hearing that interview, especially in the morning, when I am running around making my lunch and breakfast, trying to get ready for work at the same time, and standing at the counter munching my piece of toast in between washing plates. But I stop myself and sit down, by myself, with my breakfast for at least a few minutes. Until the rush of the day begins again.

Because of the wonders of the Internet, I was able to find the interview for you! Maya Angelou’s Cooking Advice: Ignore the Rules. I like how she said she likes pepper, not too spicy, but enough to say “hello” to your taste buds.

When I finished writing this piece yesterday morning, this article on Maya and cooking appeared in the New York Times. I thought I would share this as well.