Sometimes I find myself talking to food, usually as I walk through the farmers market, or the produce aisle of a store, occasionally as I wander amongst the growing things of a farm. But I must stay that I get the best results when I listen more than I talk. Not too mention that I get fewer funny looks from the people around me! Messages come from vegetables that I have have been neglected for too long, things that I have never tried, about different combinations of tastes and flavors, of places and food I have eaten and some that I have just dreamed of or read about in books. What better place to find inspiration than surrounded by the raw materials that will combine to make the dishes that help me feed and communicate with my friends, family and other people that I serve.
Recently the inspiration came from the place where I was going to serve a party, a place where the product is created. In the same way I might think of serving grape and wine influenced dishes in a winery, when I was recently invited to create a special menu to be served at a brewery, I was naturally drawn to create some dishes with beer and ale as a base ingredient. This is much easier with the increased variety of beers that we have available now, and especially the local brews we now have. So when my friend Anne Henderson Mancer asked me to help her out with the food for a party at the Good People Brewery tasting room, and then told me that it not only was a benefit for Safe Haven Animal Rescue, her dog rescue charity, but that they were throwing a Big Band Dance Party...Well, I had to say she could not pull on too many more of my heart strings with out just ripping the old thing right out of my chest!!! Beer, saving dogs and big band music...what could be better!
So I had to put myself to creating some comfort food that would fit in with an excellent party with great music, in a neat location with excellent beers, all for a good cause. For a start I came up with a pork tenderloin and onions braised in the Brown Ale, my favorite from Good People, served with roasted butternut squash. If you want to see the rest of the menu, you will just have to come to the party, because Anne and I are not going to let the rest of this excellence be known until the night of the party. I can however say that Anne has always been a BIG FAN of my brownies, and how could I disappoint a pretty lady?!?!
More information at https://www.facebook.com/event.
So the next time you see me talking with the vegetables, meat or fish...consider just leaving me alone, because I might just be coming up with a new great recipe, or I might be having that long expected breakdown...
But anyhow here is the recipe:
BEER BRAISED PORK TENDERLOIN
1 each pork tenderloin
3 TB olive oil
1 large sweet onion, peeled and sliced
1 large butternut squash
4 TB brown sugar
3 TB sherry vinegar, or white balsamic vinegar
2 cans Good People Brown Ale to taste salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash
Cut butternut squash in half, remove seeds.
Place on an oiled sheet pan and roast until soft.
Allow to cool, and scoop out flesh.
Season to taste. Reserve Season pork tenderloin and sear on all sides.
Remove and reserve. Saute sliced onions until browned.
Add brown sugar, deglaze with vinegar and Brown Ale.
Season to taste.
Allow to reduce by two thirds. Add pork to pan and allow to simmer covered until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Slice pork and serve over butternut squash, topped with braised onion.