Savory Balsamic Pork Tenderloin, Fragrant Rice, and Kohlrabi with Dill Cheese Sauce

IMG_8058OK. This one makes some good use of kohlrabi, dill, oregano, beets, carrots, lemon balm, chinese cabbage, broccoli and parsley extravaganza, so it should make a decent dint in your box. Aside from what you got in your box, this one calls for pork tenderloin, mushrooms, so go get those if you are that one person who actually reads this and tries it out. Good for you. Thank you. It helps. It really does. You will also need a few other things than any kitchen really ought to have unless your nutritional regimen means you mostly eat pop tarts everyday (in which case lucky you and how did you hear about community shared agriculture anyway. You must have married right and are currently in the process of doing your best to lock that down. Well played.)

This recipe is Italian Danish fusion (avante garde, I know).
OK, maybe it’s neither, but it definitely started off with a craving for pork and cream sauce with lots of parsley, as Danish people tend to appreciate – and then headed south thanks to a few tasty ingredients that seemed like they would fit and somehow included cheddar cheese. So maybe it’s not Italian at all. Who knows? Tomatoes aren’t Italian either and no one bats even a knowing eyelash, do they?

Either way, it worked out pretty darn good.

Ready?

Start some rice. See…Very Danish.
If you have a rice maker, you know the drill. If you don’t, go get a rice maker. My God! They aren’t expensive. You can make it work some other way and yes, this is a consumer society etc.. but it’s kind of like making toast on an open flame for breakfast. Do not use instant rice. That never counts. OK, now that you have your (brand new) rice cooker plugged in, don’t forget to turn it on or you will end up with a perfectly cooked meal with a bucket full of lukewarm water and mostly hard rice. It happens. To some of us more than others.

Once that’s going, heat a skillet with butter (or in this case olive oil and grapeseed oil).
While it is heating, slice the pork tenderloin 1cm thick across the grain.
Sprinkle a decent amount of salt over the top, lay it out in a layer in the pan and let ‘er sizzle.

Make a rue (roux?). A roux (rue?) is butter and some flour used as a thickener in just about everything creamy or thick or soupy.
If you don’t know how to make one already, put that Pop Tart down and pay attention.
Heat butter, add flour.
Stir.
See that was easy?

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You don’t necessarily even need butter.
In this case, since the store was at least a good 3-minute walk away which is of course an unthinkable level of effort for anybody, olive oil got used…

Now to turn that rue into cheese sauce.. Keeping everything on relatively low heat, break up a bunch of cheese (cheddar, parmesan or anything really, be adventurous) and toss it into the mix. Chop up a handful of dill and toss that in too.Pepper will be good in here. Pour in some cream or milk and that’s it. Be patient. Don’t let it get too hot or you will curdle the dairy. Just keep stirring whenever you think of it.

OK, Flip over the pork tender to get some sides evenly cooking and toss in some halved mushrooms.
You can chop up a whole bunch of oregano in here or – even better – sage. Yumm. Sage is delicious fried.
Now start drizzling balsamic vinegar. Be generous. And then do it again.

Now you can grate up a few carrots and a beet or two.
And that lemon balm you got? Chop some up.
Is the rice done? Great.

Grab what you just chopped up, open the lid quickly while you throw it in and close the lid right away. Leave it in there to steam up while the rest is cooking.

Chop up the kohlrabi anyway you like and steam it. (steaming. def. the easiest way to steam is in a pot at high heat with a lid on and half an inch of water in the bottom). We also steamed broccoli and chinese cabbage (mostly because then we had more reason to make a big pot of cheese sauce for subsequent poached eggs in the morning…which is another story yet to be written…or may will it?…(food is best enjoyed and not written about right?) Whatever you steam, don’t steam it too long. A nice residual crunch is the difference between a good meal and a high school cafeteria…

By now, the pork tenderloin could use another dose of balsamic vinegar. Give it a taste, you can add a little sugar to cut the tartness, but if you are patient enough and stretched all the above tasks out so you could have a second margarita, then it will get nice and sweet on its own. When its just about ready, toss in a big handful of chopped parsley. [parsley, eh? what a strange herb. almost tastes like soap and its hard to nail down just what it does and you can often leave it out without drastically changing a dish (ok, maybe not tabouleh) but somehow just a bit of it makes a big difference.. right? Well, whatever, with Italian-Danish fusion it is critical.

 

Serve.