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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pork Tenderloins with Maple

This entire meal was a product of happy coincidences.  First, Connie and I went to Chef JJ's Local Local dinner last Friday.  We went with a colleague and his wife and had the best seats in the house. Chef JJ had six chefs and six brewers do the dinner. One of the highlights of the evening was a beer that Clay Robinson from Sun King Brewing had put in old bourbon barrels. OMG, that was fantastic beer!!! The food was amazing and most of the beers were equally amazing. But, Clay stole the show. Darren, from Bier Brewery down the road, was a pretty close second.  We were thrilled to hear that Darren and his cohorts just won brewery of the year in the initial State Fair judging.  The dishes ranged from those that I love like halibut cheeks marinated in orange to beef tongue bruschetta and sweet breads.  Our consensus favorite was Chef JJ's grilled vegetables.  He said he'd try and get the recipe posted on his website on Saturday but that didn't happen.  What did happen is that I paged through all of the recipes on his website and found about a dozen that I'd like to try right now.  One of them was a maple marinade for chicken.  Then, Sunday while I was taking a brain break from all the client files I had to work on, I read MomChef's blog.  She described pork chops with a maple ginger pan sauce.  My menu for the week included Chef JJ's maple marinade for chicken.  But, I'd bought pork tenderloins for a sandwich dish later in the week.  I wondered if I could mix and match here???

Under the Kate theory of what's the worst that could happen, I proceeded.  We'd bought wax beans at the farmers market and I had sweet onions and zucchini and shallots.  So, we were fine with the veggies.  The fingerling potatoes that needed to be used up went into a saucepan of water to be cooked a bit prior to being tossed in a grill basket and onto the grill.  The pork tenderloins went into the maple marinade.  The maple ginger pan sauce ingredients were put out in their mis en place.  And a marinade for the veggies was tossed together.  George was under foot making sure that anything suitable for a cat was duly shared.

The grill was hot so it was time for the tenderloins to go on the grill.  They looked beautiful with all of the lovely marinade.  And, that was the problem, I had about a cup of lovely marinade.  No way I needed all of that for basting the tenderloins.  Lightbulb above the head time - I had no idea what I was going to do with the potatoes once they went into the grill pan. How about a bath in the maple marinade? 

What did we think?  It was tough to pick the first place dish here.  They were all great.  We debated and debated and finally decided that our top two were the pork and potatoes.  I liked the potatoes best and Connie liked the pork best.  The potatoes were like little pieces of potato candy.  Normally, I'm not a big sweets fan.  But these were perfect.  Just enough sweet to make the potatoes sing.  The maple ginger pan sauce was fabulous.  MomChef comes through again with another fabulous recipe.  And, the veggies were great.  So are you ready for four recipes here?

Maple Marinade for Chicken or Pork


1/2 c pure maple syrup
3/4 T dijon mustard
1/8 t maple extract
3 T white vinegar
1/4 t kosher salt
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1/8 t thyme
1 T minced shallot
1/2 c olive oil


Use a blender to emulsify the ingredients.  If you want to top the cooked chicken or pork with some of the marinade, reserve it prior to marinating the meat.  Marinate the meat for 30 min to 4 hours. 

Grill over direct heat. 

We prefer our pork pink so use a thermometer to make sure.

recipe courtesy of Chef JJ

Maple Ginger Pan Sauce

This recipe is actually for pork chops which are dredged in flour then pan fried.  They're removed from the pan and a sauce is made with the drippings. Instead, I made a sauce with a little butter and olive oil instead of pan drippings.  I also chose to omit the mint and cilantro topping.


2 T butter and/or olive oil
1/4 c flour
3/4 c chicken broth or stock
2 T dark rum
1 T pure maple syrup, grade B
1 T olive oil
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 medium clove garlic, minced


Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet.  When it's shimmering, whisk in the flour.  Allow it to cook for a couple of minutes then slowly whisk in the chicken stock.  Add the rum and maple syrup. 

The sauce with thicken as it cooks.  Whisk it regularly.  While the sauce is thickening, saute the ginger and garlic in the last tablespoon of olive oil. 

When they're softened and the sauce is thickened, pour the sauce into the pan with the ginger and garlic.  I poured the drippings from the tenderloins in also. 

recipe adapted from MomChef, originally from FineCooking -- Breakfast

Maple Fingerling Potatoes


fingerling potatoes
maple marinade for chicken or pork


Trim potatoes.  Put the potatoes in a small saucepan.  Cover with water. 

Simmer gently for about 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Remove from the water with a slotted spoon.  Toss with 1/2 c of the marinade.  Put the potatoes in a grill basket. 

Grill over direct heat for about 10 minutes.  Turn the potatoes regularly.  You want them browned, not burned. 

Chef JJ's Beer Veggies

Chef JJ served these with nine different vegetables.  Not only could we not remember what all of the vegetables were, we would have been eating leftovers for the next week.  So, we stuck with four of the nine.


1 sweet onion, cut into quarters, then sliced
2 shallots
handful of wax beans
1 medium zucchini, quartered, then cubed
1 beer (I used Fat Tire)
1 T dijon mustard
1/2 T worcestershire sauce
1/3 c olive oil


Mix the marinade ingredients.  Marinate the vegetables for 15-20 minutes prior to grilling them. 

Grill over direct heat in a grill basket.


The Slow Roasted Italian said...

The pork sounds amazing.

Karen said...

Kate, that was a great night @ JJ's and I love your blog.