Porto PORK tenderloin with CHEDDAR on Swiss CHARD

Porto PORK tenderloin fillet with Cheddar
on a bed of Swiss Chard

Today, I decided to share a highly desired and flavourful dish.

It consists of a few quality ingredients...
it is not long to prepare and very easy to put together.
I have made this dish a few times already with great tasting results.
This pork tenderloin will be sautéed in Dijon and Porto
to rest on a bed of caramelized onions...
and healthy kick of sautéed greens.

Any green leafy vegetable such as 'Rapini' (rabe), Spinach or Collard
are all very good choices to pair with this dish.
Also, don't shy away from other great selections such as any
cruciferous vegetable: Brocoli, Savoy Cabbage, or even Cauliflower.

The day I had planned this meal...
I was fortunate enough to have found a beautiful
bouquet of ' Swiss Chard' at the market.

So, Swiss Chard it was.
Sometimes the choices are right there in front of us.
One choice less to make that day.

It brings back many cherished childhood memories.  My grandfather used to have this in abundance in his garden. We call it 'Bietola' in Italian. During the periods of July-August my in-laws usually spoil us from their home garden too.

photo: ntgardens.co.uk

I'll take this opportunity to re-introduce you to this very tender green:
Chard is a tall leafy green vegetable commonly referred to as Swiss chard and scientifically known as Beta vulgaris. Chard has a thick, crunchy stalk to which fan-like wide green leaves are attached. The leaves may either be smooth or curly, depending upon the variety, and feature lighter-colored ribs running throughout. The stalk, which can measure almost two feet in length, comes in a variety of colors including white, red, yellow and orange. Sometimes, in the market, different colored varieties will be bunched together and labelled "rainbow chard."

Chard belongs to the same family as beets and spinach and shares a similar taste profile: it has the bitterness of beet greens and the slightly salty flavor of spinach leaves.  Both the leaves and stalk of chard are edible, although the stems vary in texture with the white ones being the most tender.  Photo: goinglocal-info.com

Healthy nutritional Benefits:
Swiss chard showed excellent marks for its concentrations of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, iron, vitamin E, and dietary fiber.
Swiss chard also emerges as a very good or good source of copper, calcium, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, protein, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, folate, biotin, niacin and pantothenic acid.
...Individual Health Concerns relating to OXALATES in Swiss Chard:
Swiss chard is among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating Swiss chard.

A little history:
Swiss chard isn't native to Switzerland, but the Swiss botanist Koch determined the scientific name of this plant in the 19th century and since then, its name has honored his homeland. The actual homeland of chard lies further south, in the Mediterranean region, and in fact, the Greek philosopher, Aristotle wrote about chard in the fourth century B.C. This is not surprising given the fact that the ancient Greeks, and later the Romans, honored chard for its medicinal properties. Chard got its common name from another Mediterranean vegetable, cardoon, a celery-like plant with thick stalks that resemble those of chard. The French got the two confused and called them both "carde."

How to Select and Store:
Although Swiss chard is available throughout the year, its season runs from June through August when it is at its best and in the greatest abundance at your local supermarket.
Choose chard that is held in a chilled display as this will help to ensure that it has a crunchier texture and sweeter taste. Look for leaves that are vivid green in color and that do not display any browning or yellowing. The leaves should not be wilted nor should they have tiny holes. The stalks should look crisp and be unblemished.
To store, place unwashed chard in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. It will keep fresh for several days. If you have large batches of chard, you can blanch the leaves and then freeze them.

Tips for Preparing Swiss Chard:
Wash the chard well to remove any sand or soil that may be hidden in the leaves. One way to do this is to immerse pieces of cut chard in a bowl of cool water, swirling them around to remove any dirt and then quickly rinsing them with cool running water. Trim the bottom end of the stalk. If you find the stalks to be more fibrous than desired, make incisions near the base of the stalk and peel away the fibers, like you would do with celery.
Do not cook chard in an aluminum pot since the oxalates contained in the chard will react with the metal and cause the pot to discolor. Since the stalks are thicker in texture, they will take longer to cook than the leaves, so their cooking should be started a few minutes earlier. Chard is one of the vegetables that we recommend quick boiling (as opposed to steaming or healthy sauté) since this helps to free the oxalic acids it contains and makes the chard less bitter and more sweet.
If you'd like more detailed info from where most of this info was extracted...you can get it here.

Important things to know about PORK meat:
In the following recipe...I will be advising to preserve a slight underdone 'pinkness' to your meat...here is why it is safe:
" Today, Quebec pork – with the exception of ground meat – can be eaten slightly pink, that is, at an internal temperature of 70°C, with no problem. The advice that pork meat had to be cooked for a long time dates back to a time when pigs were raised outdoors, in contact with wild animals and fed from kitchen scraps and slaughterhouse by-products. Improvements in pigs' diets and breeding conditions are such that the Quebec livestock is free of trichinae, a microscopic parasite that can be transmitted to humans. "
However...I tend to take EXTRA PRECAUTIONS with meat:
. I always buy fresh.  (Careful...some very small printed labels will show that it was pre-frozen)!
. I always take it out of any of its original packaging.
. I always put it in a freezer sealed bag to then make sure the meat has been totally frozen in order to wipe out any worry I would have of possible bacteria.
. I always take my meat out of the freezer the night before to have it thaw in the fridge.
Alright now...get your ingredients ready and let's start cooking.

Porto PORK TENDERLOIN fillet...
with Cheddar
on a bed of Swiss Chard

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cooked with a skillet (pan) and its cover
serves 2 persons

(American / Metric measures)

. 1 small Pork tenderloin fillet
. 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
. 2 Tbsps. (30ml) e.v. olive oil
. 2 Tbsps. (30ml) grape seed oil (or canola)
. 1/4 cup (60ml) quality Porto wine
. 1 Tbsp. (15ml) Dijon mustard
Seasonings: (to be prepared and divided in 2 portions)
. 1/4 tsp. (1.25ml) each of: sea salt, granulated garlic powder, basil, marjoram, mint, oregano, sage and tarragon.
. 1 large bouquet of Swiss chard
    or any other similar leafy green vegetable   
. 1/2 cup (60g) aged Cheddar cheese, grated


1. In a very large deep saute pan, heat the oils at MEDIUM.  Add the thinly sliced onions and caramelize them:  stir them for about 10 minutes and then lower the heat to LOW-MEDIUM and continue cooking the onions with the cover on for another 15 minutes. 
2. Meanwhile, wash the greens and then spin dry.  Divide the stalks and chop into small pieces.  Set aside. 
3. In a tiny bowl, mix the Dijon mustard with the Porto.  Set aside.
4. Clean the tenderloin pork fillet by shaving off the membrane and any excess fat.  Slice the fillet into 1 inch (3cm) pieces (yields about 8-10 slices) set aside. 
5. When onions have caramelized, raise the stove's heat back to MEDIUM in order to receive the chopped stalks of the Swiss chard.  Sauté them for a few minutes until tender.  Then, add the leaves.  Sprinkle the first part of the seasonings.  Do not over cook the greens.  Remove about 3/4 of the greens and onions out of the pan and set aside.  Cover to keep warm. 
6.  On MEDIUM-HIGH heat, add the meat to the pan and sear one side for not too long (just enough to have one side browned).  Turn the meat pieces over and sprinkle the remaining seasonings.  Wait about a minute or so and then pour the Dijon-Porto sauce over the meat.  Wait another 2 minutes and then add back the greens on top of the meat.  Cover the pan and turn off the heat.  It should be ready to serve in about another 2 minutes.
7. Assembly and Serving:  Plate the bed of greens, place the meat and pour the remaining pan sauce.  Finally garnish with the cheddar cheese.  Enjoy.

IMPORTANT note: This meat is incredibly tender...only IF it is cooked to be slightly under-cooked. Careful not to over cook the 'pinkness' stage...or else you will remain disappointed with tougher tasting meat. Pork tenderloin can not truly be eaten any other way than having a 'pink blush' interior.
Also note: If you are one to be concerned about leaving the 'pinkness' in this type of meat...please take the time to read what was written about pork in this post.

Note: A wonderful added garnish to this dish would be complemented it with some slices of Port Figs.

Buon appetito and flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

Here are other related recipes that may be of interest:
- Pork Sausage vegetable sauté MEATLOAF muffin puffs with a Goat Cheese center
- thrifty PORK shank OSSO BUCO