Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chanterelles with Sage, Roasted Pork Tenderloin & Polenta

I made this dinner for Date Night at Home, the weekend before Thanksgiving. I figured that most people would be frantically searching for Thanksgiving recipes, so I decided to wait to share this menu (which consists of three separate recipes) for a time when most of the turkey leftovers and fixin's were gone.  Craig and I just returned from a 1000 mile round-trip, by car, to Northeastern California to be dinner guests at his family reunion.  We had a great time, and it was such a treat for me to be a dinner guest.   At last, I can sit down and share this delicious dinner that we both enjoyed:

When I was a kid, I refused to eat mushrooms. My mother (bless her soul) would add canned mushrooms to some of the dinners she cooked for us ungrateful kids. Bleccccccch. I just couldn't bond with the rubbery texture (which my brothers couldn't either), and I swore I wouldn't eat a mushroom for as long as I live.  Every so often, my mother would torture us with bowls of Canned Cream of Mushroom soup. Gross.

Fast forward to my adult years, when my palate grew less fussy and I discovered that fresh mushrooms are a whole different animal-- especially when sauteed with lots of butter, wine and garlic.  Suddenly, I couldn't get enough of eating mushrooms.  I finally learned how to make homemade Cream of Mushroom soup, which remains my #1 favorite soup.

My husband doesn't share the same enthusiasm for mushrooms that I do.  The only exception is that he does like Cremini Mushrooms (which are baby Portobellos).  He feels that the more common white button mushrooms are boring... tasteless.  I do agree that Cremini Mushrooms have a lot more flavor, and I like their darker color.  Still, he doesn't get as excited about them as I do.

I've never cooked Chanterelles, and have always wanted to.  Last year, I spotted some at Costco and hesitated buying them.  A few days later, they were all gone, and I never saw them  again.  This year, I spotted them and immediately snatched a package of them.  I was so excited to try these wild mushrooms, though my husband was a bit more dubious.

They're interesting looking, and some were almost the size of my hand!

Because they grow in the wild, I had to carefully wash them to remove debris of conifers, dirt and "woodsy" debris. NOTE: Rather than wiping them with a damp cloth, please don't judge, but I rinsed the mushrooms, carefully checking for dirt or debris. I then gently shook the water off, and patted them dry with paper towels. It worked just fine.  I debated making soup with them, but I wanted to taste their meaty flavor.  I considered making a risotto, but I also wanted some kind of protein.  Think, think, think...

I had read that Chanterelles and sage are a perfect pairing. Fortunately, my husband planted a few healthy sage plants in our garden and I began to formulate a plan.  I decided to sear and roast a pork tenderloin, and to serve it atop creamy polenta and then the mushrooms.

I tried to cut the mushrooms into pieces about 2" in size, and I chopped some fresh sage.

I began to saute' the mushrooms in a little olive oil and  butter, and let them cook for aobut 4-5 minutes. I then added a generous splash of white wine, the chopped sage (you could use parsley, instead), and couple cloves of fresh garlic.

I let the mushrooms cook for about 8-10 minutes, and set them aside on very low heat (to keep them warm).

I didn't photograph how I made the polenta, but my method is very quick and easy.  If you've never had polenta, I think of them as "Italian Mashed Potatoes".  I suppose you could say that polenta is similar to grits. I use yellow corn meal, because I always have a box of it handy.  (At the end of this post, you will see a printable recipe card, where I share how much water, milk, cornmeal and Parmesan cheese I add.)  It takes no more than 10 minutes for me to make Quick Creamy Polenta and I keep it warm, by covering the pot and turning the burner to low. 

I used one pork tenderloin, simply seasoned with salt & pepper. I carefully seared the pork tenderloin in an oven proof skillet, then finished roasting it at 425F for about 20-25 minutes.   While the pork was resting, I made a quick pan sauce with some Boiled Cider, chicken stock, and a splash of white wine.  (I include measurements and directions with the recipe card).

This dinner was on the table, with candles and a glass of white wine, in less than an hour.  I have to say, that it looked pretty enough to be served at a restaurant-- for a fraction of the cost. 

TASTING NOTES:  There are really three different recipes, that I've plated for our dinner. Polenta is something we love, as a change of pace from mashed potatoes or rice.  I love the creamy texture and the flavor of the Parmesan.  Pork tenderloin is one of our favorite meats, because it's so tender.  (Chicken breasts could be another good substitute for this meal.) The Chanterelle mushrooms-- well... my husband really liked them. In fact, he went back for seconds!   They have a meaty texture, but I didn't find them to feel rubbery.  The sage, and the apple pan sauce went together perfectly, with the flavors of Fall.  This dish could easily be made vegetarian by eliminating the pork and doubling up on the Chanterelles. For the sauce, use vegetable stock, instead of chicken.
NOTE: If you can't find Chanterelles (which typically in season from late Summer to early Fall) this dish would be good with Cremini or Portobello mushrooms.  I would like to try this with Morels, (which are also a bit scarce for me to find) or a variety of wild mushrooms that I always see at our grocery store.  

I do trust that all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, with friends and family-- and wonderful food.  I missed being able to write a post, to celebrate my five year Blog Anniversary (which was on November 29th).   I'll make up for lost time, later on this week.

I always post a printable recipe card at the end of each recipe post. If you cannot view it, you might be using an older version of InternetExplorer. You should be able to view my recipe cards with Safari, Mozilla, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer.
If you still can't view the recipe card, all of my recipes are stored on Key Ingredient, by clicking here.

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AdriBarr said...

My, but what an utterly luxurious meal, and so perfect for our chilly weather. Chanterelles are quite enchanting. I love them, but I'd say my overall fave 'shrooms are cremini. They are always available, and now they are really reasonably priced. No doubt about it - you hit it our of the park with this one, my friend.

Joanne said...

I tend to not like any of the more normal (less expensive mushrooms) but chanterelles and porcinis are divine. What a lovely meal!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

After days of turkey served every which way this does sound so delicious. Chanterelles are such a treat and I love the way they are used in this recipe. Mouth watering, Debby.

Karen said...

Putting the pork & mushrooms on polenta sounds so much better than rice or mashed potatoes!

Bill said...

What a great fall dish! I love chanterelle mushrooms and pork and polenta are the perfect foods to serve them with! Looks delicious and I wish I had some right now!

Big Dude said...

An absolutely awesome looking dish. I used your make ahead gravy for thanksgiving and we loved it.

LadyJayPee said...

I've gone out into the woods for two years now, and finally found chanterelles this year. I was just thrilled! It was like finding gold...of a different kind. :-) Stopped myself at about 4 pounds, gave some to the neighbors, and made soup and pasta for us. Your dish looks wonderful!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Your meal sounds heavenly…I love chanterelles.

Madonna/aka/Ms Lemon of Make Mine Lemon said...

I pinned this recipe. It looks so good. I have never cooked Chanterelles, but won't miss the chance next time I see them.

When we were little my Dad would take us morel hunting. That is the only one I recognize. Button mushrooms - blehhh….

Sam Hoffer @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

You are the second friend that's found Chanterelles at Cosco this year. Love that you've paired them with pork with sage and polenta. A very chic dish.