Monday, August 5, 2013

Herb Rubbed Pork Loin and Herb Spaetzle

What to make for dinner?! Today the thought came to me that I want flavor... so I looked to herbs. Its always so hard trying to keep things somewhat healthy but still having enough food and having it taste good.

Though I am super excited. I haven't made spaetlze since I was in high school for my german class and before that I was in Germany eating it! So hopefully this will be a positive experience. I have heard that it is better to use a colander with 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch holes. I will probably use one that has much smaller holes.. but we will see what it turns out like.

Herb Rubbed Pork Loin

2 tbs. mustard
1 tbs. honey
1/4 tsp Rosemary
1/4 tsp Basil
1/4 tsp Garlic
1/4 tsp Tarragon
1/8 tsp Celery Salt
pinch Salt and  (1/4 tsp) Pepper
We rubbed this all over the meat, then seared in a very hot pan to brown the outside. Once all sides are browned, which should only take you about 10 minutes, place in a very hot oven, about 450 degrees, and let it complete cooking. When the internal temperature of the meat hits 145 degrees, take it out. Let it rest for about 10 minutes on a cutting board. Then, slice and serve immediately.
Recently, the guideline for internal temperature of cooked pork has been lowered to 145 degrees, down from the 160 of the past. (See this article.) Personally, I like rare meat and just over 145 is great for my taste. You can, naturally, cook your pork to a higher temperature than that, but I would strongly recommend you stop cooking the meat when the internal temperature hits between 145-155 degrees. Remember, your meat’s temperature will rise a bit while resting. Also, you will end up with a nice juicy piece of meat with a great texture when you cook it to a slightly lower temperature. I find 160 yields dry, tougher meat.

to get to 160 degrees its about 50 minutes cooking in the oven at 350. 

Pan-Browned Spaetzle with Shallots and Herbs
Serves: 4

Simplest Homemade Spaetzle
Recipe from The Balthazar Cookbook, technique from trial and error
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
7 large eggs
1/4 cup (59 ml) milk
Combine the flour, eggs and milk in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, or overnight.*
Prepare an ice bath. Bring a large pot of well salted water to boil. If you’ve got a spaetzle maker, use it. Otherwise, do not fret! Set a large colander with holes anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2-inch wide over the pot. Put on two potholders because you probably already know that steam is hot; I apparently did not. Pour 1/4 of the batter into the colander and press it through the holes with a flexible spatula. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes then use a slotted spoon to fish spaetzle out and drop it in the ice bath. Continue with remaining batter in 3 batches. I found it was important to use only a little batter at a time (and even less if your pot is smaller) because if you push too much batter in at a time, it becomes one freakish megaspaetzle as opposed to hundreds of tiny twisty ones.
When you’re done with the batter, drain the spaetzle well and toss it with a small amount of olive oil to keep it from sticking. You can use it right away, or keep it in the fridge for a day until needed.
* The other spaetzle recipe I auditioned did not call for the resting time and worked just fine. I didn’t test this version without resting it in the fridge first for an hour, but suspect that you could get away with it if you were pinched for time. That said, the batter was really lovely — smoother, stretchier — after an hour, so if you can use that hour to prepare a salad or other parts of your meal, you should.
Pan-Browned Spaetzle with Shallots and Herbs
Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Heat 1 tablespoon unsalted butter. Once it is fully melted and beginning to turn golden add a couple cups of drained, cooled spaetzle and let it heat for a minute in the pan before starting to saute it about. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and continue to cook it until each piece has a couple toasty brown edges. Add 1 tablespoon minced shallot and cook for one minute more. Adjust seasonings to taste and, off the heat, toss with 1 tablespoon minced herbs (I used parsley and dill but others, like tarragon or chives, would work well.) Eat immediately.

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