Six years ago Jim and I were getting ready to move from our duplex into the house we were building.
I hate moving food – drives me crazy. Especially all the old cans from the back of the back.
So I invented the “pantry challenge”: I was not going to buy anything other than dairy and fresh vegetables until we had used up everything in the pantry.
It started off being rather sinful: Kraft dinner and Stag Chilli. Once we got through all the “camping/bachelor food” it became more difficult. I find it impossible to fathom what was actually going through my mind I bought the 4 cans of beetroot and 3 cans of pears I found in the back nether-regions.
The freezer was a clusterfuck. Mostly stuff was unusably freezer-burnt. What a waste! I vowed to do better in future.
I found a can of mangoes, some white and wild rice and a can of black beans. In the freezer, curled up in a fetal position I found a pork fillet. Unburnt.
I was feeling Mexican. Pork and black beans. Yum. Pork and mango. Yuuuuummmm!
I chopped and sliced and swished and sloshed and voila!
Jim came home and I served him his dinner.
He was in heaven – raved about it. Like, RAVED. And then he said “we should serve this at dinner parties. I hope you kept the recipe”.
Recipe? RECIPE???? “I made it up” I told him
“Well you’d better make it again then and WRITE IT DOWN” he insisted “Bugger the pantry challenge!”
So I did, and refined it somewhat. The great thing about it is that you can buy 4-5 pork fillets at Costco for around $20. That makes a TON of the recipe and it freezes brilliantly!
This is still a firm favourite:
Lynne’s Pork w/ Mango and Black Beans
2 pork tendeloins, trimmed and cut into 1″ slices
Seasoning (I use Hys seasoning salt and lemon pepper)
1 tbspn olive oil
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
2 tbspn Cilantro (dried)
1 tbpn Parsley (dried)
1 Heaped tspn Cumin (actually I use about a tablespoon!)
1 can Sliced Mangoes (fresh or canned)
(if canned, reserve the Mango Juice)
1 can Mango Pulp
Juice of 2-3 limes or 2 tspns lime juice
Handful of Jalapenos (or less if you don’t like a bite)
Slosh of tabasco
Large can of Mango Juice
Pre-heat oven to 350°
Brown pork loin in garlic and olive oil – cook in large skillet/small batches. Set cooked meat aside. Put mango pulp in the pan and stir in all the pork bits and seasoning. Add herbs, spices and juices (including reserved mango juice) and when combined add black beans and jalapenos.
Re-add cooked pork and combine. Chop up Mango slices into big chunks and add to the mixture. Don’t put it in too early or it will disintegrate. You might want to add a little stock or some water – this shouldn’t be a dry dish!
Serve over white and wild rice, garnished with chopped cilantro.
These days, April marks the end of the hockey season which means that our player goes home for the summer. Inevitably the freezer is still half full and the pantry is burgeoning with “stuff”. So Jim and I continue the tradition of the pantry/freezer challenge.
Personally I am not looking forward to the cabbage rolls and perogies that have found their way there….but that’s just me.
Pork tenderloin is really one of the most economical cuts of meat available. As I said, you can get 5 really big ones for under $20 from Costco. I love that it’s SO lean!
Walmart sells pre-marinated butterfly pork fillets for $10 apiece, which is actually a decent price. But the Costco ones are bigger. What I have started to do is get the Costco ones; butterfly and season them myself, and then used different marinades. Then I stick them in plastic freezer bags, label them and freeze them FLAT. Ka-ching. They work out to less than 5 bucks each. Sweet.
Once defrosted, you broil them in the over or grill them on the Barbie. They take about 8 minutes per side. We have taken to having them with Asian coleslaw and oven fries. Yummo!
Making up the marinades is fun too…it’s part of the “clean out the fridge challenge”. [I did Tequila with Mango chutney last time]