A Perfect Pork and Potato Pairing

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Pork Tenderloin with Brandied Cranberry and Thyme Reduction
Smashed Sweet Potatoes

This was on the menu for dinner last night. Sweet…and simple!

Pork Tenderloin with Brandied Cranberry and Thyme Reduction
(Makes 4 servings)

If you wish, oven roast unsliced tenderloin at 400F (200C) until meat reaches an internal temperature of 155 to 160F (58 to 60C), about 20 to 25 minutes. Prepare sauce as directed. Slice tenderloin and serve sauce alongside.

1 cup (250 mL) chicken broth or stock
1/3 cup (75 mL) brandy (or additional chicken broth)
1/2 cup (125 mL) dried cranberries
1 lb (500 g) pork tenderloin
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon (15 mL) butter
1 tablespoon (15 mL) cooking oil
2 teaspoons (10 mL) chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) dried thyme

In a medium saucepan, combine broth, brandy (if using) and cranberries. Cover and simmer until cranberries are plumped, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cut pork into 3/4-inch (2 cm) slices. Cover with plastic wrap or waxed paper; with a meat mallet, flat side of a cleaver or bottom of a small frying pan, pound slices to flatten to about 1/2-inch (1 cm) thickness. Season pork with salt and pepper.

Heat butter and oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add pork to frying pan; cook for about 3 minutes per side. Remove pork from pan; cover to keep warm.

Add cranberry mixture to frying pan, stirring to loosen any browned bits on bottom of pan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until sauce has reduced slightly and thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in thyme. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Return pork to pan; cook until pork is heated through and glazed with sauce.

Smashed Sweet Potatoes
(Makes 4 servings)

5 sweet potatoes, cut in chunks
2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 mL) butter
2 tablespoons (30 mL) maple syrup
Milk, to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place potatoes in a saucepan. Cover with water. Bring water to a boil. Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Drain water. Mash potatoes with potato masher or fork. Stir in butter and maple syrup. Add a little milk if potato mixture is too thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until serving time, reheating in microwave or oven.

Variations:

* Instead of boiling sweet potatoes, bake whole potatoes in the microwave or oven until fork tender. Serve as baked sweet potatoes, or mash with milk and butter, then add one or more of the ‘stir ins’ below.
* Cook with regular potatoes or carrots; mash together.
* Mash with whipping cream, half and half or sour cream.
* After mashing, stir in one or more of the following:

  • Crumbled crisp bacon
  • Sauteed mushrooms, onions and/or garlic
  • Shredded Cheddar or Swiss cheese
  • Sliced green onions or sauteed shallots
  • Honey, maple syrup or molasses
  • Brown sugar
  • Crushed pineapple, mashed banana, applesauce or cranberry sauce
  • Ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and/or allspice
  • Chili powder and/or cayenne pepper
  • Minced fresh ginger root
  • Chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
  • Raisins, dried cranberries or toasted nuts
  • Orange juice and grated orange peel
  • Rum or whiskey

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