Monday, March 9, 2009

Pork Indochine ( Grilled Pork with Mustard Sauce) and Halong Bay

The Emeraude, a retrofitted paddle steamer, now sails the breadth and width of Halong Bay in Vietnam. We slid through the bay trying to catch glimpses of famous landmarks and small islands from her decks; our first views were disappointing - we saw only shadows of outcroppings that were buried in layers of thick fog. The mist made the mildly cool air feel cold and the wail of distant foghorns and buoy bells did nothing to cheer the spirit or stay the creeping damp. Refusing to surrender to the elements, I climbed to the observation deck, ordered a tall glass of Vietnamese iced coffee (good stuff that), claimed a deckchair and sat down, camera ready, waiting for the elements to bend to my will. Several hours and cups of hot coffee later the weather broke. Before I go any further, I must tell you that I'm a reader who loves movies and I've developed an especial fondness for edgy female characters. Smilla (Smilla's Sense of Snow), Karen Blixen (Out of Africa) and Eliane Devries (Indochine) come to mind. So, when the ship sailed past the rock formations that were the backdrop for scenes in the movie Indochine, I was so excited that I dropped my cup, grabbed my camera and didn't put it away until I lost the light. As you flip through the pictures of Halong Bay I hope that some of you will experience a bit of deja vu. I surely did. While on the Emeraude, I had the good fortune to meet and speak with the ship's executive chef, Nguyen Thac Thiet. He, like many of the chefs in southeast Asia, is French trained. Today's recipe is one of his babies; it's a fusion of Asian and French technique. The marinade is decidedly Asian, the remainder of the recipe is decidedly French. Chef runs a tight ship in tiny quarters and he produces delicious food. This is a very, very nice recipe. It was the most popular item at the dinner buffet. I know you'll enjoy it. It's also easy to do.

Pork Indochine - Grilled Pork with Mustard Sauce

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut in 1/2-inch slices
2-1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided use
1/4 cup chopped scallions + green tops for garnish
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Lemon juice to taste (optional)
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Lightly sprinkle pork medallions with salt and pepper. Place pork in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon mustard, 1/4 cup scallions, 1 tablespoon garlic and brown sugar; toss to mix well. Let sit for 45 minutes.
2) While pork marinates, melt butter in a medium (10-inch) skillet with high sides. Add onions and cook until onions are coated with butter. Add reserved 1 teaspoon garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant. Add chicken broth and boil until onions are soft and liquid is reduced by half. Stir in cream and 1-1/2 tablespoon reserved mustard. Cook over low heat until mixture thickens and coats a spoon. Stir in lemon juice and tarragon if using. Adjust seasoning as required (remember mustard is salty). Keep warm.
3) Preheat broiler or grill. Arrange pork slices on a broiler pan or greased grill rack and cook for 2-1/2 minutes per side. Transfer pork to serving platter. Spoon mustard sauce over pork and serve. Yield: 4 servings.


Donna-FFW said...

I LOVE pork tenderloin, it's so wonderful to cook with and this looks fantastic. I love the sauce, I am saving this for the warmer weather so my husband can grill... Thnaks, Mary!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for sharing the lovely pictures of Halong Bay. Very serene and idyllic - I hope I can get to see those views one day.
The pork dish sounds delicious! Will surely try this :)

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Mary, what great photos of your trip. I've never been to Vietnam but have heard from friends who were there a long time ago (during the war) that it was a beautiful country. Having French food makes it all the better.
The pork recipe sounds wonderful. I was a little surprised by the brown sugar but I bet it adds a depth of flavor. I hope when I prepare it that mine looks half as good as yours.

Julia said...

I went kayaking in Halong Bay this January, too! It was incredibly beautiful... We had mostly good (albeit cold) weather.

Sounds like you had a great chef on your junk...

Martha said...

Loved the pictures! This pork sounds good and I will have to try it.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Julia, it is a gorgeous spot. I hope all will get to see it. As to the chef --- an absolute charmer who knew his stuff. Bob called him my NVBGF (new very best girl fiend). He loved to talk about food and I liked to listen.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Sam, many Asian recipes use a bit of sugar in meat marinades. The taste of brown sugar is barely perceptible here, but it helps to balance the sharpness of the mustard.

Maria said...

Great photos! Thanks for sharing...and of course a good recipe too!

Farmer Jo said...

Oh, that looks so delicious! And I love the photos.

Cathy said...

It is so interesting to read about your trip, Mary. What an experience. Love the photos.

Netts Nook said...

Mary what great pictures. Can't wait to try the pork out on family yours looks so yummy.

Deborah said...

We love pork and I'm always looking for new and exciting recipes - this sounds like one!!

Pam said...

What beautiful pictures. The pork looks wonderful - rich, creamy and delicious. Another great recipe Mary.

Kiezie said...

These look wonderful, the marinade looks very flavorful!! The pictures are really beautiful and your words help bring them even more to life! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

It's so beautiful there!

The tenderloin sounds awesome too and the sauce!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Cathy, it's a beautiful spot. It should have been called the Bay of Tranquility. The chef's pork dish is really nice.

Anonymous said...

Mary, I am absolutely enthralled by your photos of Halong Bay and esp the rock formations. Vietnam is definitely on my list during my next trip to Asia. Thanks for sharing! The pork looks pretty good too...:-D

Hugs from a fellow traveler,

Mary Bergfeld said...

Carolyn, I'm always delighted when you stop by. Southeast Asia, its wonder and its pain, should not be missed. If you have the opportunity drop everything and go. Hope all is well!

Unknown said...

That pork looks amazing. I'll have to try it!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing, I will try this to cook with grilled mustard chicken breasts.

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