Dinner time by default.


Ingredients (or something like that):

Pork tenderloin; black pepper; mushrooms; yellow onion; brown sugar; gnocchi; artichoke hearts; parmesan cheese; salt; olive oil; butter

Yesterday morning, when I had a hunch we would need to eat again, I defrosted a pork tenderloin. Yesterday afternoon, when I still didn’t have a plan for it, I made a 50/50 rub of just plain ol’ salt and pepper. I rubbed the tenderloin generously with the mix, placed it in a gallon ziplock bag, added some olive oil, sucked all the air out, and threw it back in the ice box.

So, today, after a vigorous hike, followed by neighborhood shopping, at 4:30pm, we came home and were hungry. Having not eaten since breakfast (11:00am), the husband wanted food. Now. It was too late to make lunch and a snack wasn’t readily available, so, it was dinner time by default. I started pulling whatever we had out of the pantry, cold storage unit, etc…

I began by slicing my yellow onion. I had a small one, if you’ve got a big one, use half (keep in mind, I’m cooking for two people). I slice, then set aside. I then slice my mushrooms, cut the ends off my green beans, slice my artichoke hearts in half, and get my pans out. I used two big fry pans. They worked just fine, you want one to have a matching lid though (or at least be able to cover it).

I get my tenderloin going, dumping it from the ziplock into the hot pan on medium heat. I added a bit more oil, followed by some butter later in the process. You want to get your tenderloin going about ten minutes before everything else so that nothing is sitting while it’s still cooking at the end of the meal. You want the exact opposite in fact: the tenderloin to be sitting while everything else is finishing up.

Fast forward ten minutes, and I throw into the same pan the chopped onions and mushrooms and about a teaspoon of brown sugar, all the while turning the pork accordingly.  In my other pan, I add an even coat of olive oil and turn the heat on medium, medium-high, then add my halved artichoke hearts, sliced side down. I used the caned ones from Trader Joe’s. I know, I know…caned, but, they’re great, and not slugged in a slurry of I-don’t-know-what. Once there is a good browning on them, I add the green beans, and gnocchi, as well as the artichoke water from the can they came is. Sprinkle with salt and cover. The artichoke water is what is going to steam-cook everything in that pan! If not, use your favorite stock or just water, maybe with a little lemon!

Don’t forget to stir your onions and mushrooms, and turn your tenderloin, keeping an eye on the temperature, you don’t want this deliciousness to go to waste. After 2-3 minutes of being covered, uncover and stir your gnocchi. Lightly salt and add shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese, stir, and cover. At this point, your tenderloin should be done. Remove it from the heat, and let it sit. Now, remove the lid off the gnocchi and stir. Make sure that the majority of the liquid used to steam is gone. What should remain is a melted cheese sauce, created by the Parmesan and the artichoke liquid, also, most likely, some of the starches in the gnocchi. If everything looks right, turn of the heat and begin slicing your pork tenderloin.

Plate your Parmesan gnocchi with artichoke and green beans, top it with slices of Black pepper pork tenderloin, and garnish with the Crispy onions and mushrooms.


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