For Her On A Sunday: Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon Molasses

October 26, 2010

Pork tenderloin with bourbon molasses

The light hit her face in a way that made me look twice. We were sitting around the dinner table, I had been making sarcastic jokes, my nephews were climbing all over my sister, my brother-in-law was talking shop with my dad, the TV was blaring from the other room. She wasn’t saying anything, just sitting, starring ahead, and I looked twice.

My mother is many things and one of those things is stubborn. This means that she wins most arguments — inserting the proper dose of razor-sharp wit or elongated, painful silence. Not even cancer could win a fight with her. A few years back — after a gut-wrenching litany of surgery and chemotherapy and then an epic bone marrow transplant, she sent its ass packing and we never heard from it again. My mother is scrappy.

So there we were at the table and she continued to sit, saying nothing, just starring forward. It must have been a moment.

“If I ever wrote a book,” I told her, “I’d dedicate it to you.” And just then her eyes filled with tears. I had said something too kind and too loud and my mother — proud, complicated, unbreakable — had heard me.

Without her here, we’d have no inherited love of food, no delicious sauce, no designated Sunday to eat around a table together. She knew it — we all knew it — and I guess that was my way of saying thanks.

Every weekend we get together even when we’re too lazy, when we’re mad at each other, despite jobs and friends and other plans. We’re the Sunday dinner crew and around this dinner table, plans have been made, feelings have been bruised, babies have been announced, arguments have come and gone and then come again. But around this table we’ve somehow been able to hold it all together, breaking each other’s falls as we go, the only way we know how: by eating.

I don’t have a book to write of my own but I do have this page. And so, without further ado, last week’s amazing dinner is:

For my mother.

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Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon Molasses Glaze

Adapted from Todd Kelly
Serves 5

Ingredients

Pork Marinade:
1/2 cup bourbon
1/8 cup kosher salt
1/8 cup Dijon mustard
1 tsp paprika
1/8 cup molasses (use honey to substitute)
2 trimmed pork tenderloins (about 1 pound each), at room temperature

Sauce:
1/4 lb bacon, diced
1/2 onion
1 bunch fresh thyme
1/2 quart chicken stock
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper

Procedure

Marinade pork tenderloins over night or for at least half an hour.

Preheat oven to 350.

Meanwhile, make sauce. Saute bacon until medium, about five minutes. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add thyme and stock and season. Simmer until reduced to desired consistency and strain.

Remove pork from marinade and roast. Place tenderloins side by side but not touching in the smallest roasting pan that will hold them. Roast for 10 minutes, flip over and roast again until the internal temperature registers 155°, about 8 minutes more. Let rest for about 10 minutes and slice into ½-inch-thick slices.

Serving suggestion: Serve pork on top of pureed potatoes and sauteed spinach. Spoon sauce over the top.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

5chw4r7z October 26, 2010 at 6:48 am

You actually appeared in a picture on your own blog!
We used to do a monthly dinner at my grandmother’s, 18 aunts and uncles, 30 some odd cousins plus their wives, husbands, boyfriends and girlfriends.
It was crazy, but it was a tradition so there you go.
I wish I still lived close enough to do more frequent dinners with my family.
Don’t stop.

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Courtney October 26, 2010 at 6:54 am

Ha, gotcha good. That’s my sister. That’s pretty awesome you’ve got such a huge fam!

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5chw4r7z October 26, 2010 at 5:28 pm

You two must be a splitting image.

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piazzadiscepoli October 26, 2010 at 3:23 pm

RT @Epiventures: For Her On A Sunday –> http://epi-ventures.com/recipes/for-her-

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Intuitive Eggplant October 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm

What a lovely post. I’m sure your mom is proud. Actually, I’ll be you do have a book in you. Finding the time to write it, however, maybe not so much :)

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Erica October 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Just a note to let you know what a fan I am of your site. Your writing is bold, thanks for telling it how it is.

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Kristy October 27, 2010 at 4:39 am

So sweet <3 PS: I adore your writing style!

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Kathy (former neighbor) October 31, 2010 at 3:19 pm

That was a beautiful blog and tribute to your mom!! I can visualize your Sunday family dinners and definitely agree with your description of your mom. I also agree she is a great cook. She is everything that you mentioned and most of all a loving human being, mother,and wife. Say “hello” to your family from a former Carrington Ct. neighbor. Lauren and Lesley enjoyed growing up with you!!

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lauren November 1, 2010 at 5:01 pm

court- such beautiful writing- i’m often envious of your sunday dinners…and SOME day, i’m going to crash your party..when you least expect it. watch out wolf fam…watch OUT! hopefully i’ll make it for one of the tearful beautiful moments..sending the whole crew lots of love!
L

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Courtney November 1, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Thanks for all the kind comments –– you are all invited over next Sunday :)

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Joni Kuhnell Petro November 7, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Courtney, I saw your blog mentioned in Megan Orr’s blog and I had to check it out. It’s amazing, you’re amazing and I wish you the best of everything! Can’t believe it’s been as long as it has been since I’ve seen you last. We won’t be in town for Thanksgiving this year unfortunately, as it’s too much to make it in from the west coast for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. I hope you and your family are well and I hope to see you soon!

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Courtney November 8, 2010 at 11:22 am

Hey Joni, great to hear from you! Sorry you won’t make it for Thanksgiving but sounds like you’re doing well over there on the West coast. Thanks for checking the site out!

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Marsha Evans November 13, 2010 at 7:15 am

Courtney: I am sorry to say that I just finally read this entry-it’s Beautiful! I’m so proud of you. Your insight is more than admirable. Keep writing-love you, Marsha

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