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Mirin-marinated pork is full of flavor
Weeknight cooking is all about getting gobs of flavor from just a few ingredients, no special techniques and as little effort as possible.
The trick is in finding those big, boldly flavored ingredients and knowing how to get them to do all (or at least most) of the work for you. Which isn’t to suggest there is any great science to this. My rule of thumb — find an ingredient, grab a hunk of meat, toss them together in a bowl for a while and see what happens.
That’s pretty much how I came up with this wildly flavorful take on grilled pork tenderloin. And actually, I didn’t even use pork the first time around.
All I did was whisk together mirin (a sweet Japanese cooking wine), a bit of kosher salt and some garlic powder. I tossed in a hunk of steak, then walked away for a while. A few minutes on the grill and I had one of the most flavorful, well seared steaks I’d ever enjoyed. Best yet, it was a cheap piece of steak that was pretty much at the end of its shelf life.
The next time I made it, I switched the meat to pork. The results were even better.
I could have stopped there, but I also wanted to give this dish a seasonal touch. I just didn’t want much extra work. Since apples and pork work so nicely together, that seemed like the right place to start. I also liked the idea of playing the apples off mirin’s sweet side.
All it took was a simple saute of chopped apples, onions and — for big, effortless flavor and a nice thick body — some purchased sweet chutney. The result? An incredible dinner for fall.
MIRIN PORK CHOPS WITH APPLE CHUTNEY
You’ll find mirin in the Asian or international sections of most grocers. The chutney should be nearby, too. It’s good to let the pork marinate for at least 30 minutes, but you can get away with 10 minutes or so if you’re pressed for time. Even better: Toss the meat in the marinade in the morning and let it absorb the flavor all day.
Start to finish: 20 minutes active, plus marinating
1 cup mirin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pounds pork tenderloin, halved lengthwise and pounded evenly flat
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