It’s always cool when I find old pictures buried on my laptop, especially from back in the days before Craving Mad. I had a lot of cool ideas that I can push even farther today. Take this Pecan-Crusted Chicken: I made this for the first time almost four years ago, and you can see derivatives from it in a few places on the blog. Those sweet potatoes? That was the first draft of the tahini smashed potatoes there– in fact, I was even working on that spice blend at the same time I came up with the pecan crust. This one has been waiting for a reboot…
Here’s a glimpse into how my food brain works: start with the pecans– go ahead, eat a few. There’s a unique sweet-savory flavor that almost tastes like maple syrup– let’s boost that with dried currants, and add some tartness with blackberries. Next, add something that will temper the sweetness without overpowering it…fennel? Its anise flavor would be perfect, especially if I can blend it with browned butter. All that’s left is the carrots, which are easy to glaze, and a low-maintenance way to add texture. And just like that, I know exactly what I want to make.
Take the pork tenderloins out of the fridge, season them lightly, and let them come up to room temperature. Brush dijon mustard on the meat, and then coat in the pecan mixture. Skip the searing step this time– tenderloins are really easy to overcook, and the pecans will definitely burn and fall off. Instead, roast it at around 400 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the meat is about as firm as the base of your palm. Let it rest for ten minutes to cool before slicing.
Meanwhile, sauté sliced fennel in browned butter, then add blackberries, dried currants, and season. Top it with a little water, and simmer until the sauce comes together.
Then sauté the carrots with the remaining fennel, and keep warm until you’re ready to eat. Ah yes, it’s all coming together.
2 Pork Tenderloins, trimmed
3 Cups Pecans, crushed
4 Cups Baby Carrots
2 Cups Blackberries
1/2 Cup Zante Currants
1 Fennel Bulb, sliced thinly
1 Tbs Dried Rosemary
1 Tbs Dried Thyme
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbs Garlic Powder
2 Tbs Dijon Mustard
2 Tbs Butter
1 Tbs Cider Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste
- Season the meat with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and half of the dried rosemary/thyme. Cover, and set aside.
- Crush pecans with remaining dried herbs, and cinnamon. Brush the meat with dijon mustard, then coat with the crushed pecans. Place in the oven at 400 degrees for approximately 25 minutes, or until it reaches your preferred temperature. Remove from the oven, and cool for fifteen minutes.
- Sauté half of the fennel in browned butter, then add blackberries, currants, salt, and pepper. Top with water, and simmer until a sauce forms.
- Sauté remaining fennel and carrots, finish with cider vinegar.
- Plate and serve.