And what exactly is a ‘big boy’s dinner, I hear you ask? Well you can thank my Father for that saying. Otherwise known as a ‘fatboy’s dinner’, it’s a phrase he uses to describe a dinner fit for large, hungry men. Which he, and my brother usually are. Hungry, that is. Obviously they are large all the time. Although Dad may be shrinking. Either that or my 12 year old brother has been sleeping in a grow bag every night since he was born. Which come to think of it, would really make sense…
Big boy’s dinners always comprise of lots of meat and lots of carbs. This dish definitely fits the bill.
The best bit about the name of this post, is that I actually made this for a girls night Christmas dinner back in December. I do love a bit of irony.
I have been meaning to write about this dish for a while (seeing as though I cooked it in December!), but haven’t gotten around to it. I decided that this would be a fitting post for The Epicurious Brit’s 1 year anniversary, or ‘blogiversary’ if you will, because it encompasses everything I love about cooking… Platefuls of hearty food, cooked with love, and shared with friends.
This is a good dinner party dish, because you can make almost everything ahead of time, then just put it all together once guests arrive. So what did this big boy’s dinner consist of…?
Pork: In my opinion, pork and mustard sauce are a match made in heaven. And should always, ALWAYS be accompanied by potatoes.
Potatoes: I wanted to do something a bit different, and make an effort seeing as though this was a Christmas dinner, so I made potato cakes with both sweet and normal (russet?) potatoes.
Serious Veggies: I strongly believe that the only time of year brussel sprouts should be eaten is Christmas. I have always consumed a token one on Christmas Day to appease my Mother, but they definitely aren’t something I would choose to eat. So I set myself a challenge to make brussel sprouts edible. This recipe might have just managed it.
I rustled up all the above (plus a starter & dessert) for 10 hungry ladies, and I don’t think anyone left a scrap on their plate. It seems that big boys dinners aren’t just for boys afterall…
Herbed Roast Pork Tenderloin
- a large pork tenderloin (more than 2 pounds)
- 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp crushed garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- salt & pepper
- Put all ingredients in a large zip-loc bag and squidge [technical term] around until the pork is nicely covered. Place in the fridge overnight, or at least for a few hours.
- Take the pork out the fridge and bring to room temperature before cooking.
- Heat a large saucepan until its very hot and then sear the tenderloin on all sides. This should take about a minute on each side.
- Place in a baking tray and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes depending on the thickness of the pork.
- I prefer my pork slightly pink, because then it will be nice and moist.
- When the pork is cooked to your liking take it out of the oven, wrap in foil, and leave it to rest while you cook the veggies.
Double Potato Cake
- 4 sweet potatoes, part-cooked & shredded
- 4 russet potatoes, part-cooked & shredded
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- salt & pepper
- Chop your potatoes into large chunks and boil in hot salted water until you can stick a knife into the potato, but can’t pull it out. If they are too soft then they won’t shred, and will just turn into mashed potato.
- I shred my potatoes using a Cuisinart food processor. If you don’t have one then I’d recommend you just make mashed because it will be easier. But I do prefer to texture of the shredded potatoes in this dish. Place shredded potatoes in a large bowl and set aside.
- Cook your diced onion in some olive oil until soft. Combine with potatoes and seasoning, and shape into palm sized cakes. About the same size as a 1/4 lb burger.
- Place all your cakes on a tray, cover with cling film and place in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
- When you are ready, you can pan fry the cakes over a medium heat for 5 minutes on each side. Once you have finished frying them, put on a baking tray and place into an oven that’s no more than 300 degrees F. The goal is to keep them warm, rather than cook them to a crisp.
Balsamic Brussel Sprouts
- Enough brussel sprouts for 4 per person (about 40 in my case)
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Place brussel sprouts in boiling water and cook for 5 minutes.
- Once cooled, slice brussel sprouts in half and place in a large frying pan with some olive oil. Add in red onion and pan fry for 5 minutes until they start to take on some colour and the onions soften.
- Pour over the balsamic vinegar and sprinkle in the sugar. Continue to stir and cook for a further 10 minutes over a medium heat until everything is coated in a nice sticky glaze.
Creamy Mustard Sauce
- 1/2 cup wholegrain mustard
- 2 tbsps honey
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- Place honey and mustard in the same pan you used to sear your pork. Stir over medium heat until the honey is melted.
- Turn the heat up and add in the white wine. It should bubble up – stir around the pan for a minute.
- Turn the heat back down to medium and pour in the chicken stock. Stir over medium heat until the sauce has reduced.
- Drizzle in the cream and stir over a low heat until you are ready to serve.
I attempted to be fancy in the plating of this dish as it was a special occasion But if I were making this on an average Wednesday night, I probably wouldn’t bother. If you are in the mood to show off, start with the potato cake on the bottom, layer on your pork, top with brussel sprouts and drizzle your sauce in a circle around the outside.
And remember – you know you’ve had a successful dinner party when your guests ask you if they can lick their plate.