This is another adaptation of a Ming Tsai dish that we tried recently and absolutely loved. It's easy enough to whip up for a weeknight family meal, but if served up on a platter, pretty enough for company. This recipe highlights two of my favorite techniques for taking a tender but otherwise ho-hum piece of meat, the pork tenderloin, and making it a crave worthy star.
Ming calls for brining the meat for a few hours, then crafting a honey mustard condiment made East-West with the addition of Chinese 5-Spice. This blend is first used as a glaze when cooking, then is ladled on again when plating as a sauce. Can you say YUM2 ?
This meaty deliciousness is served up alongside (or over) a rustic pairing of wild rice and leeks that you will find becomes a favorite side for any meat, fowl or fish you are serving. I was more than a little skeptical about the kids liking the wild rice (it's the first time I've cooked it for them), but without exception, they snarfed it down. Of course, if I had told them in advance that wild rice is not a rice at all, but rather a grain from a type of wild grass who knows what their reaction would have been.
Cheers – Steve
Five-Spice Honey Mustard Pork with Leeks and Wild Rice
- 2 medium pork tenderloins (about 2 pounds), any silverskin removed
- 1/3 cup kosher salt for brining, plus more for seasoning
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 large leeks, white parts only cut into 1/2 inch dice, well washed and dried
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup honey
- 4 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
- 3 cups cooked wild rice
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
- At least 2 and up to 4 hours in advance, brine the pork: in a bowl large enough to hold the pork and the brine, combine the 1/3 cup salt, the sugar and 8 cups of water. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar, and add the pork. If the pork isn't covered, add more water. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
- Cook the wild rice by placing 1 cup of wild rice in a large bowl in the sink. Rinse the rice by filling the bowl with cold water, agitating it with your hand and pouring off the water. Repeat this procedure a few times until the water runs off clear. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium pan, add the rice and lower the heat to maintain a light boil. Cook for 35-45 minutes (start checking for doneness at 35 minutes) until the rice is tender, strain the rice and reserve.
- In a small bowl combine the mustard, honey and Chinese five-spice powder. Reserve 1/3 of the mix to use as a sauce once the meat is cooked, keep the rest to use as a glaze while the meat is cooking.
- Heat the oven to 400℉.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently until the leeks are softened and starting to caramelize, about 4-5 minutes. Add the cooked rice and the chicken stock, lower the heat to medium and cook until the stock is largely absorbed. Test for seasoning, then remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
- Heat the other 2 tablespoons of the canola oil over medium-high heat in an oven proof skillet large enough to hold both pieces of pork. Remove the pork from the brine, rinse under cool water and dry with paper towels. When the skillet is hot, add the pork and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Brush half of the mustard glaze over the pork and move the skillet to the oven. Let it cook about 8-10 minutes, then turn the pork over, brush with the rest of the glaze and continue to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 150℉ when checked with an Instant-Read Pocket Thermometer , about another 8-10 minutes.
- Transfer the pork to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest 8-10 minutes. Slice the pork into 1/4 inch slices and serve over the wild rice and leeks, passing the extra mustard sauce at the table.