From the farm to the grocer, these pork medallions with mustard sauce are winners

My granddad was a farmer. My dad, a grocer. Between the two of them pork tenderloins were a staple around our house.

Whether with sauerkraut or sliced, flattened and grilled, one could not miss. It makes me hungry right now just thinking about the delicious dinners those two made possible for our families.

A very classy version of pork had a popularity around my house second only to my mother's fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy.

While my granddad did the farming, my grandmother operated a hatchery and we had chickens galore.

Back to the pork.

This is a simple dish, as simple as it is delicious. My favorite accompaniment is crisply fried shredded hash brown potatoes. Buttered new potatoes work very nicely, too.

For the green, you have a winner with peas. They are perfect any time of the year and the small frozen ones will make you wonder why you spent all that time hoeing, weeding and fertilizing.

And even though I am a strong proponent of buying locally, there are some times when the roadside stand is not open and when our Michigan ground is not delivering up fresh peas.

In addition, if you are a devotee of mint, 2 drops (only 2 drops) of crème de menthe in the peas will brighten things up considerably.

Pork Medallions with Musterd Sauce

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

Cut medallions from a pork tenderloin, make them about 1 1/4 inches thick

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped shallots

1 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup chicken stock

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

Preparation:

Pat the pork medallions dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper over them.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Stir in the butter. As soon as the butter has melted, add the medallions and sear them two minutes on each side.

Remove the medallions from the pan and pour off most of the fat. Add the shallots and cook them on medium high heat until softened. This will only take a minute.

Add 1/2 cup of the wine and bring to a boil and deglaze the pan by scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Stir in the stock and return the medallions to the pan. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the medallions are 145 degrees on your meat thermometer.

Place medallions on a warm platter, covered lightly with tented foil.

Add the remaining wine and increase the heat to high to boil the pan juices. It will take about three minutes to reduce the juices to about half.

Add the heavy cream and boil three more minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the mustard and parsley.

If you are new to making hash brown potatoes on the stove top, you can do no better than to start with Ore Ida frozen shredded potatoes.

Following package directions will give you perfect, crispy results. These are delicious with the pork tenderloins and make a truly delightful bed for your poached eggs when company appears.

Your guests and family will appreciate a bread right out of the oven.

Frozen loaves (thawed as the package tells you) scent your house beautifully while they are baking -- and served with a variety of compound butters they are elevated to the sensational.

The butters I would choose for this evening are: walnut butter; honey cinnamon butter, and plain unsalted butter. At room temperature, they can be placed on the individual bread plates using a small ice cream scoop.

I like to do these in advance and place the butter balls in the freezer. They can be easily lifted to the bread plates an hour or so before the dinner bell chimes and will look as good as they taste.

Garnish with any fresh herbs that suit your fancy: tarragon, chives, or curly leafed parsley.

Walnut butter

Ingredients:

1/2 cups walnuts, toasted

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp raw honey

pinch of sea salt

Preparation

Toast the walnuts by spreading on a baking sheet.

Heat at 200 degrees five minutes or until lightly browned.

Place walnuts in a small food processor and start the machine.

Slowly pour in the olive oil. Use an additional one teaspoon at a time until it becomes pasty.

Stop the machine often and scrape down the sides.

When it reaches the consistency of "butter," add the salt and honey, then stop the machine.

Store in a sealed container and refrigerate for up to one month.

Honey Cinnamon Butter

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup honey

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation

In a medium bowl, combine butter, confectioners' sugar honey and cinnamon. Beat until light and fluffy.

Judge Kirkendall is a retired probate judge. He has taught cooking classes for more than 25 years at various cooking schools in the Ann Arbor area and has himself attended classes at Cordon Bleu and La Varenne in Paris, as well as schools in New York, New Orleans and San Francisco. He can be reached at Judgejnk@yahoo.com.

Published: Thu, Mar 24, 2011

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