The number one item on my wish list this past holiday season was a Le Creuset pot. Ever since I joined The Chopping Block a little over a year ago, I have become enamored with Le Creuset. I never realized that a pot or pan could make such a difference in my cooking until I took the Chicken 101 class, where we used different Le Creuset pans. I experienced firsthand what a difference it makes in your cooking. It’s the even heating throughout the enamel coated cast-iron pan that really makes the magic come alive. From that point, I was determined to add a Le Creuset pot to my cookware collection.
The hardest part for me was choosing the size and style. I finally decided upon a 5.5 quart round French oven, feeling that it would give me a broad range of cooking options, from braising meats to making soup, or even baking bread! And of course, the other challenge was choosing a color. I couldn’t pass up the loveliness of the Caribbean so I could remind myself of being at the beach while we endure the rigors of winter in the Midwest!
I decided that preparing my first meal in the Le Creuset pot would be a great way to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I wanted to try braising something I had on hand, so I pulled out a pork tenderloin from the freezer. Now, I know that a fattier cut of meat would probably have been a better choice, but I was pleased with the result nonetheless. I used a rub recipe that I adapted from the Mast Brothers Chocolate Cookbook and improvised on the ingredients in the stew itself.
Braised Pork Tenderloin
1 pork tenderloin (approximately 1 lb), cut in 2 equal sized pieces
Rub (see recipe, below)
1 – 14 oz can whole tomatoes
1 onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half
½ – 1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 – 5 cebollitas (large green onions), white parts only, sliced thin
12 – 14 ounces chicken stock
¼ cup water
½ teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
3 small carrots, sliced thin
3 ribs celery, sliced thin
Cut pork in half and drizzle with olive oil. Rub generously on all sides of meat with the rub. Heat pan and add olive oil. Add onions and sauté in oil until golden and translucent. Remove onions from pan. Raise heat and add tenderloin; sear on each side about 4 minutes. Return onions to pan and add stock, tomatoes, celery, cebollitas, carrots, water, kosher salt and oregano and reduce to simmer. Cook on low for approximately 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper and serve with boiled potatoes.
Rub (note that this will make more than you need – store remainder in airtight jar for future use)
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 1/3 teaspoons black pepper
1 1/3 teaspoons garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients and apply generously to meat.
I enjoyed my first cooking experience with my new Le Creuset pot and look forward to experimenting with other recipes. Last weekend I made a pot of beef barley and mushroom soup. I was so pleased with how it turned out. If you are thinking of adding a Le Creuset pot to your cookware collection, for the entire month of January 2014 all cookware at The Chopping Block is 20% off!
If you already have a Le Creuset pot, what are some of your favorite recipes to prepare in it? Please share them with me.