Weekly Winner:  An Odd Little Dinner without a Country

So the beginning of the new year always brings with it tons of healthy and light recipes that I am all-too-willing to try.  I am always ready to discover new combinations of flavors, or the new “it” ingredient and find ways of incorporating them into my diet.  This recipe, while definitely healthy and low-calorie, did not introduce anything new to the party.  I’ve had every ingredient listed a hundred times but for some reason, it just sounded intriguing.  I thought it would be a good dish to try out when I was short on time but wanted something light and new.  Which was just where I found myself last night.

As we sat down to eat, I was stumped.  It’s good…very savory and tasty and extremely familiar, but then in other ways it seemed quite unique.  My husband was also confused.  He saw the pork cut up along with the mushrooms and carrots and I think he was expecting either a stir-fry or a stew.  This however was neither.  There was not one single Asian ingredient to bring the dish over to the stir-fry team, and it certainly wasn’t any kind of stew.

So what exactly was this dish?  I have no idea.  The name certainly didn’t give any clues: Pork with Mushrooms and Barley.  It wasn’t Asian, Indian, French, German or Italian.  Perhaps it was a new take on a good-old American dinner. Regardless, it was delicious in a perfectly harmonious, unassuming sort of way.  I’ll be making it again I’m sure.  The recipe comes from Food Network Magazine.

Pork with Mushrooms and Barley

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup quick cooking barley

4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

4 tsp packed light brown sugar

1 large pork tenderloin (about 1-1/4 pounds), trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch chunks

Kosher salt and ground pepper

1 cup chicken broth

2 tsp cornstarch

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

8 ounces cretinism mushrooms, sliced

2 leeks (white and light green parts only), chopped

3 carrots, chopped

Chopped fresh parsley, for topping

Procedure:

  1. Cook the barley as the label directs.  Cover and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce with 2 tsp brown sugar in a medium bowl.  Add the pork, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Whisk the chicken broth, cornstarch and the remaining 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce and 2 tsp brown sugar in a small bowl until smooth; set aside.
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat.  Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned, about 4 minutes.  Remove to a plate.
  4. Wipe out skillet and add the remaining 1 Tbsp vegetable oil.  Add the mushrooms, leeks, carrots, 1/2 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes.  Return the pork to the skillet and add the broth mixture.  Cook, stirring, until the sauce is slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.  Serve with the barley; top with parsley.
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