Everyday Food (December 2010)
We don't know the first thing about cooking with children.
For one thing, we don't have any. Also, all of our friends' kids are all far too young for any cooking.
But in last month's Everyday Food, Emeril Lagasse surprised us with what he offered up as a "Cooking with Kids" recipe: this Orange and Cumin Pork Loin.
See, if we were to come up with something to cook with kids, we'd instictively go for a dessert, or maybe spaghetti and meatballs. Something kid-friendly and hands-on.
Shows what we know. We think Emeril was just right to pick this cooking project.
This pork is a very easy recipe to execute, but it initially still struck us as overly ambitious, slightly complicated and, well, maybe a bit dull for a cooking project with a kid.
But maybe we're giving children too little credit.
Though it's maybe not as hands-on as, say, rolling meatballs or mixing cookie dough, there is much to be measured, juiced and, if your kid is old enough, browned and then roasted.
And the result is delicious -- tender, juicy meat with a zestry citrusy spice on the crust. And the cilantro keeps everything light and fresh-tasting.
The only substiution we made in this dish was in the cut of meat. The recipe calls for "3 pounds boneless pork loin, tied at 2-inch intervals," but we used smaller pork tenderloins because, well, that's what we had on hand.
What's the difference between pork loin and pork tenderloin? A pork loin is the full cut of meat along the back, whereas pork tenderloin is a smaller cut of the pork loin, taken from area closest to the spine. Because we used pork tenderlon, the cook time was shorter and we didn't need to tie it at 2-inch intervals (which helps the meat keep its shape while roasting, which leads to more even cooking). If you're using a pork loin and need a primer on how to tie it, Bon Appetit has an excellent one.
For an adult, this Orange and Cumin Pork Loin is a very easy dish. And the glaze is straightforward enough that a kid would likely enjoy mixing it all together.
But what do you think -- is pork tenderloin a good cooking-with-kids project? What kinds of things do you and your kids whip up in the kitchen?
(This photo: Everyday Food)
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
* 3 pounds boneless pork loin, tied at 2-inch intervals
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 large orange)
* 1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
* 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pat pork dry with paper towels, rub all over with oil, and season with cumin, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. In a large skillet, cook pork over high until browned on all sides, 8 minutes total (reduce heat if it begins to overbrown). Transfer pork to a baking dish (pork should fit snugly). In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, vinegar, and marmalade; drizzle over pork.
2. Roast pork, basting frequently with cooking juices, until cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of pork should read 140 degrees), 45 to 50 minutes. Sprinkle pork with cilantro and let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with pan juices.