Sunday, 5 May 2013

Indiana - How I made Pork Tenderloin sandwich

After some research online, I quickly came to the conclusion that Indiana's most traditional dish is 'Pork tenderloin sandwich'.  I find it interesting that some of the main foods that we consider to be typical for the USA, have their origins in Germany.  I'm mostly thinking of the ubiquitous hamburger (from Hamburg), but also of frankfurters (from Frankfurt).  Indiana Pork tenderloin sandwich is pretty much a burger and chips and a variation of the European dish Wiener Schnitzel

I've made Schnitzels before, so Pork Tenderloin sandwich was quite straight forward and familiar to me.  I couldn't find a perfect recipe, as there seems to be some variation in how the version from Indiana is made - I mostly got my inspiration from the following recipe and then improvised.  I didn't want to oven bake the tenderloin, as I didn't have time and I also didn't want to deep-fat fry it, as this is really unhealthy, so I just pan fried it.  Finally, I used pork loin chops, not tenderloin, so traditionalists should stop reading now!

The ingredients

The main ingredients
300g Pork tenderloin (or loin chops, depending on how fast you want to cook!)
4 burger baps
2 pieces of stale bread, to make breadcrumbs
2 eggs
Half a cup of milk
Half a jar of pickled onions
Half a jar of cornichons (or gherkins)
Three healthy dollops of mayonnaise
A box of oven-bake french fries
Garlic salt

How I made Pork Tenderloin sandwich

First you should use a food processor to make the breadcrumbs - it's important that the bread is fairly stale, as this creates better crumbs for the 'breading' of the pork.  Of course, you can buy ready-made breadcrumbs, but I find it easier to make my own. 

Use a food processor to make breadcrumbs

The recipe I looked at recommended adding Garlic salt and oregano to the breadcrumbs, which I think were a really nice addition to the taste of this dish, although I doubt that either of these ingredients is very traditional for the Indiana version!  I also added ground black pepper, but I omitted the salt, as I'm trying to keep down my salt intake. 

Add Garlic salt and Oregano to the breadcrumbs for a non-traditional twist

In a separate bowl, I whisked the two eggs together and then added milk to create a sticky liquid which helped the breadcrumbs stick to the pork pieces. 

Whisk the eggs
Egg/milk and crumbs for 'breading' the pork

If you're using loin chops, as I did, you will need to take the fat off, then cut each chop in half lengthwise and then cut each length into two thinner slices.  The real trick to making tenderloin, or any kind of Schnitzel, is that you need to tenderise the meat and flatten it out into thin slices.  I don't yet have a meat tenderiser, so I used a rolling pin instead.  It's a good idea to cover the pieces of pork in cling film, before you tenderise them. 

Pork chop cut into four thinner slices
Ready to be bashed - sorry, tenderised - by a rolling pin!
The slices of pork after they have been tenderised

The result was a plate full of thin pork slices.

I then dipped the pork slices in the egg/milk mixture and in the breadcrumb mix, then fried them over a high heat.

Add the pork pieces after dipping them in the egg/milk mixture and breadcrumb mix

Fry the pieces until the pork has cooked through

You can choose whichever condiments you like for this dish - my preferences were pickled onions, cornichons and mayonnaise.  If Pulp Fiction is anything to go by, then it's clear that people in the US prefer ketchup on their fries, just like in the UK and unlike Belgium/Germany/France where people use mayonnaise.  I'm not sure why I opted for mayonnaise, but it seemed to fit better with the dish and I enjoyed dipping my chips/fries in the mayo and smearing it over the fried pork. 

Pork tenderloin sandwich with fries
I guess it's a matter of taste.  I found an interesting blog post about the use of ketchup and mayonnaise, which you might also find interesting. 

The finished dish with a selection of condiments
Anyway, the result was delicious - an easy dish to make and one you should definitely try for yourself. 

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