This dish is home for me. If I had a dollar for every time my Mom, Dad or Grandma made it I’d never have to work… for at least several months. LOL No seriously this dish is an old, old, old family recipe that is honestly one of my favorites. So why haven’t I shared it before? Honestly… I kinda forgot about it. You know me and I cook a lot. No, like a ridiculous amount – both for TKW obviously and for Mr. Fantabulous. The man eats a lot (did I mention he doesn’t gain a single ounce.. him and his damn bionic metabolism <hate him> lol not really). So it’s easy to not necessarily forget about dishes but more stow them away in the archives. Trust me I forget nothing. It’s scary how I can remember the littlest things – it can be both a plus and a negative. We all have had pain that we’d like to forget and some have the ability to push it out of their mind. I do not. Now I’m not saying I have that uber supersonic Marilu Henner highly superior autobiographical memory. That’s unreal. Have you seen that? Google it! It’s UNREAL! However I have a very high retention span.
And if you ask Mr. Fantabulous he’ll grumble about it as that means he can’t get away with squat like ‘Honey you said YOU were going to put away the dishes this time since I did it last.’ LOL But yeah this dish was one that came to the front of my memories if you will the one weekend I was out in the garage digging through my chest freezer at 8am. If you’re on Facebook, you’ll recall the story.
If you’re not on Facebook then let me divulge the story…
So it’s early, like 8am (considering I didn’t get to sleep until 5am due to my stupid shoulder 8am was early). Since he was sleeping I went out into our one garage off of the house to look in my big chest freezer to see if I had a pork roast to make for New Years Day.
Of course I had to take EVERYTHING out of it only to see that I didn’t have one. So back into the freezer everything went.
Now the door that leads out to the garage has a bunch of glass panes in it. As I walk up the steps and go to grab the door handle my *&^%$#@!@!!! is just standing there face almost pressed against the glass with zero expression on his face.
Folks I screamed like a 5 year old girl hitting pitches only dogs could hear, my hands went flailing like Jazz Hands and I almost peed my pants. Thing is I didn’t recognize him. Meaning my brain didn’t register it was him for like a good 20 seconds.
He opened up the door and was like “Um baby, what were you doing? You took everything out and then put everything back in. Are you making room to hide my body? <ha ha>”
After I caught my breath, said about 14 curse words that would make a trucker blush and started to belly laugh I told him what I was doing. I then said “Why didn’t you open the door and say something? You scared the daylights out of me!” <insert more curse words>
His response… “I didn’t want to scare you…
See what you’re missing out by not being on Facebook? LOL Well it was during that rummage that I found some pork tenderloins. As soon as I grabbed them this dish immediately popped into my head.
After I recovered from the coronary Mr. Fantabulous gave me I took these out to defrost in the fridge. Now I’m one to say timing is everything. Full disclosure I hadn’t planned to make it on the day I did but see we were having a spat. Nothing major and honestly I can’t remember what it was about but knowing us it was more than likely my having a fit about having to clean up the dirty dishes from him or put away that damn cereal box and or close the cupboards. I so need to take a picture one morning for you guys. Literally every morning when I get up at the butt-crack-o-dawn (yes that’s an official time) for work and walk out into the kitchen there is always a box of cereal on the counter, open, a dirty bowl with spoon and at least 3-4 cupboard doors open. Every morning…
So needless to say that morning when I got up and saw the kitchen I was peeved. And like normal he came out to the kitchen all sleepy eyed, barefoot and rubbing his tummy. I got the kiss on the cheek, pat on the butt and those 3 little words every wife longs to hear… “What’s for breakfast?” LOL Thank God I love that man and my mother in law because if I didn’t he’d do be wrapped in a big red bow and dumped on her front porch with my doing an old fashioned Ding Dong Ditch. LOL Do you ever do that?
And like clockwork I just smirked, grabbed the eggs, bacon (you know for the man that says he doesn’t like bacon yet goes through one pound a week himself!), bread and coffee and made him his normal breakfast. After he ate and left his damn dirty dishes on the table that he swears he’ll get later though in my house later never comes, he went to practice the guitar as he had practice that night. I got my errands done which meant I got out of the house for a bit and could food porn prop shop! When I got home I immediately got in a foul mood. I was just frustrated. We all get like that. I wasn’t frustrated with him but more the fact that the house is still not done with the remodel which means stuff is EVERYWHERE and not in it’s place. So to take out my frustrations I got to work on making this dish.
See the best part of making this dish is that you get to take your aggressions out on this because you have to beat it and pound it with a meat mallet to make the cutlets thin. I’m telling you this meat tenderizer mallet is the BEST ONE I have ever, EVER used! I call it my Hammer of Thor as it’s huge but super light. I even bought Mama Fantabulous one and she loves it! It looks fierce. Now that poor meat, I did apologize to it as I beat the crap out of it but seriously it’s what lead to it being incredibly tender (that along with the steaming process).
As I was doing this Mr. Fantabulous came running out to the kitchen as he thought I got hurt and trying to call him. I saw him out of the corner of my eye, stopped pounding the meat, pointed the hammer at him and said “put the damn cereal boxes away!” and went back to pounding it. Side note, when I woke up the next morning the box was not left out. Now I can’t say that it stayed that way but for at least a few days it was put away. LOL
With these, you only want to pan sear them until they are golden brown. You aren’t cooking them all the way through in the pan. They get cooked all the way through when they are in the covered pan in the oven. You actually steam these allow for the pork to become ridiculously tender. Now obviously the breading doesn’t stay crisp but you don’t want that – at least not with this recipe. And you don’t have to worry about the breading falling off either. Mine doesn’t. Now it will if you let it touch the water in the pan – so don’t let it touch. This is why you use the tinfoil in the pan so you can raise it up.
This dish as I was saying earlier was a main-stay in our house. The tenderloins fed a bunch and for us, we served it always with mashed potatoes and either peas or corn. Now as we got older Mom would also give us applesauce and sour cream with chives in it. For me my personal favorite is the mashed potatoes, peas and apple sauce. It’s just home for me. This dish was such a huge part of my childhood. It seemed like we had it more often in the winter than the summer now that could have been because we didn’t have air conditioning, who knows. So for me this is a total winter comfort dish.
If you wanted you can totally make this Gluten Free by using my Gluten Free Flour and Gluten Free Bread Crumbs recipes. It won’t alter the flavor at all. This dish is like me if you will… simple, comforting and down to earth. It’s unpretentious, doesn’t require fancy ingredients and isn’t hard either. Depending on how big your tenderloins are you can make a little or a lot.
As for leftovers.. HAHA yeah, good luck with that. We NEVER had any growing up. Now this batch I had a few but that was it. My favorite way to use these up as a leftover? Wait for the recipe.. you will LOVE IT!!!
- Preheat oven to 350F with the rack in the middle.
- Cut the tenderloin crosswise into 2" rounds.
- Places each piece between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound until they are thin cutlets (less than 1/4” thick).
- Set up your station with 3 separate pie pans.
- In the first pie pan place the flour, salt, pepper and paprika and gently mix.
- In the middle pie pan add the eggs and water whisking to combine.
- In the last pie pan place the bread crumbs.
- In a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat add 2 Tbl of oil.
- Once the oil starts to shimmer, dredge a cutlet in flour coating all sides.
- Next dip it in the egg flipping to get all sides wet.
- Gently lift up letting the excess egg drip off.
- Place the cutlet in the breadcrumbs and coat all sides. At this point you can coat a few and cook all at once being sure you do not crowd the pan.
- Gently place the cutlets in the hot oil cooking each side about 3-4 minutes or until each side is golden brown.
- Continue coating and cooking in batches until they are all pan-seared.
- You will need to add more oil as you cook.
- Either in a large roasting pan (that has a lid) with a rack in the bottom or a large dutch oven that has a lid (if you can fit a rack in it great, if not it’s OK) take about 2-4’ of aluminum foil and crumble it up like a snake. You want to rest this on top of the rack or the bottom of the dutch oven. The goal here is to have the food be elevated at least 1” above the bottom of the pan.
- Place about 1/2-1 cup of water at the bottom of the pan. The foil or rack can sit it but the water cannot go over top of the foil or touch the cutlets.
- Take the pan-seared cutlets and place them on top of the foil. It's okay to stack them if you made a lot. You just don’t want them to touch the water.
- Cover the roaster or pan very tightly with foil and the lid. You want to steam these now. This is the trick to get them ridiculously tender.
- Bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and gently remove.