So after a holiday weekend of eating like … well… like we used to, Abe and I realized we needed to get back on track with this whole food thing. I’m always the last person who wants to go to the grocery store after dinner and at the end of a long day, but Abe insisted. We decided to get things that would be simple to make, but tasty and cheap – so we ended up bringing home thin pork tenderloin cutlets for one night. We have made pecan-crusted pork in the past, but the thicker cuts take longer to cook and the nuts ended up burning, so we thought this would be a better ratio.
The pecans at our local HEB were big pieces, so we had to get them smaller. As far as I could see we had three options:
- cut them by hand until all uniformly small… uh ya not happening
- use the spice grinder to pulse them into smaller bits (more on that later)
- use the smaller of our two food processers
Abe decided that option 2 was going to be “easier and less messy” and he rejected my offer of the small processor. Suffice it to say, the spice grinder was not the ideal selection for this task. We ended up with some very finely chopped bits, some very large chunks, and everything in between. After the first batch only coated two cutlets (out of eight), he relented and asked me to retrieve the food processor.“Are you going to turn this into some little cute story for the blog where you talk about this”
“I dunno. Why, do you not think it would be humorous?”
“Are you just saying that because you’re the one getting teased?”
In the end, the finished product was quite nice to look at, but even better to taste. Unfortunately, Abe let the pan get a little too hot, so the nuts still got a little singed, and the red-wine and cream sauce he tried to make went completely to pieces – but they can’t all be winners.
I also made a cannellini bean soup for one of our sides, which if you are in a hurry these really can not be beat. And, as an added recipe bonus – if you don’t use as much water (or let it cook down more) you can call them “mashed white beans” and have them in place of potatoes. I actually think I like them better than mashed potatoes personally.
Pecan Pork Recipe (4 servings)
- 8 pork cutlets
- 1.5 cups pecan halves (or whatever you can get your hands on)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp mustard
- 1 tbsp water
- coupla shakes of garlic powder and smoked paprika
- generous grinding of fresh black pepper
- stick of butter (for frying)
- Trim your cutlets – ain’t nobody got time for fatty bits
- Pulse your pecans till they form a medium grain (or finer) – be careful not to let it go too long though, or it will make a paste. Put on a plate or dish for dipping.
- Beat two eggs with the mustard, water, and spices in a large bowl. Feel free to mix it up here and add your own blend (just make sure you share in the comments!)
- Put your cutlets in the egg wash, and let them get coated.
- Line a tray with parchment paper if you are into easy cleanup (we are).
- Pull out your cutlets one at a time, and dip into the pecan coating just like you would if it was chicken fried steak. Make sure all sides are good and coated okay??
- Place the now-coated-cutlets on the parchment paper to rest. According to Abe this helps it “get sticky” or something… I think he means it helps the coating not fall apart when you cook them.
- P.S. this is when I would start the beans, they can simmer while you fry the pork.
- P.P.S. instead of frying you could bake these guys at 350F for about 20 minutes (if you’re concerned use a meat thermometer and make sure it gets to 145 in the middle – but seriously if you are using these thin cuts like in the picture its almost impossible to undercook them). Personally I would top each cutlet with a little bit of butter or like, melt it and spray it over the nuts so they cook up nicely. But, that’s just me.
- Heat up a pan on medium heat and melt about 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the cutlets 2-3 at a time (depending on the size of your pan) and fry for about 3 minutes on each side. I recommend a pair of flat plastic tongs for flipping.
- Set the cooked cutlets aside on a paper-towel lined plate until all are cooked and the rest of your meal is ready to go. Cover to keep warm. Get ready for deliciousness.
Cannellini Soup Recipe
- 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 tbsp butter
- sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- fresh minced garlic (or the spice world bottled stuff)
- chicken stock (or bouillon and water if you don’t have stock.. shh I wont tell)
- Melt the butter on medium-low and simmer the garlic and spices until fragrant.
- Add the rinsed cannellini beans and mix to coat.
- Add 1/2 cup of stock and simmer on low for 2-3 minutes.
- If you have an immersion blender, use it to puree the bean mixture. If not you can use a large spoon to press the beans (it will take longer) or CAREFULLY puree in a food processor (though I don’t recommend this as its hot)
- OR if none of those options work for you, eat them as is. Or half-mashed. Whatever it is all good. Be aware that the saltiness decreases as the beans are liberated from their bean-y prisons.
The beans can simmer quietly on low while you finish up frying the pork. If they start to look too thick, just add more stock. If you added too much stock to begin with, just let them simmer a while longer. It wont hurt them.
Don’t forget to let us know how you modify this to make it your own! Share in the comments… DOoooo it!