“I Like Ike” Pork Tenderloin

Dwight Eisenhower, Mamie EisenhowerWhen President Dwight David Eisenhower was running for re-election in 1956, he came to Minnesota. My parents were GOP state committee persons. At the parade that was held to welcome Ike, I was presented to him. He kissed me and held me high in the air! Of course, I was just a little more than a year old at the time. I still have the rhinestone IKE brooch my mom was wearing for the occasion. My mom had a hand signed, black and white photograph of Ike and Mamie Eisenhower sitting in the rose garden of the Whitehouse, in a brass frame, sitting on her dresser next to her bed for four decades, until she passed away. I have several “I Like Ike” buttons, even one in Norwegian. I did say I’m from Minnesota after all. Ike dreamed big. More importantly, he led a nation who was tired of war to dream big, and to work together for some things that were bigger than themselves.

Ike had seen Hitler’s Autobahn and envisioned the Interstate Highway system to knit our country together as one nation as it had never been before. He witnessed the scourge of polio and mobilized free, universal immunizations for every child in America to wipe out this crippling disease. He wanted to go further and have universal healthcare for children. Schools and universities were built and a generation of veterans and their children were educated, thanks to a progressive income tax and a high corporate income tax. The middle class was established and the war debt was paid off. It seems we have now lost that spirit of bold cooperation for anything other than endless warfare. Ike warned us about that as well when he told us to beware of the military industrial complex. Well, I have gone on long enough. What does this have to do with a recipe?

I got to thinking what to call this and it hit me that this would have been impossible without Ike’s input and vision. It would have been impossible when I was a child. I was able to go to the grocery store and buy all of these ingredients for reasonable prices thanks to Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway system. So here goes.

Ingredients:

  • ~ 1/4 cup lard
  • ~ 2 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • ~ 1 cubic inch ginger root, peeled & finely chopped or grated
  • 1 papaya, peeled, seeds removed & cut into bite sized chunks
  • 3 Hass avocados, pitted, peeled & cut up
  • 2 kiwis, peeled & diced
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon ground mustard
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 5 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
  • 6 ounces fresh, baby spinach (1 Dole salad bag)

Slice the tenderloin into 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick medallions. rub it down with the turmeric and the mustard. Heat up the lard in a large skillet, preferably cast iron. I used our 13″ one. It was full by the time I was done. You are going to need sides. Start cooking the pork the onion and the ginger root in the lard. Let it cook for a bit, turning frequently. You don’t want to carmelize the meat. You want it tender, not crunchy. As you prep the fruits, add them to the skillet. Stir the mixture, so nothing burns. The only thing that should have carmelized would be the onions. You can put a lid on it to help hold the moisture and the heat in to help cook the meat and reduce the heat to medium. Slice the meat open to test for doneness. If it is about done, crumble the Gorgonzola on top of the mixture and cover for a few minutes, reducing the flame to low. Rip up the spinach and pile it on top. Replace the cover. Turn off the stove. Just let the steam and heat from the cast iron pan and the other ingredients cook the spinach. Serve.

It makes six servings. It took about half an hour to make. It is a one pan meal. It is super interesting! It has so many different flavor notes and textures. It is the rare recipe in which I did not use garlic or pepper. The ginger provided enough heat. I preferred it in little chunks rather than grated so it would surprise the tongue now and again. The kiwi are an element of whimsy. Each serving may get just a tiny bit of it. It wakes up the palate with a bit of tartness. The cheese melts in with the fruit and meat juices to form this uniquely luscious sauce. When I was all done, I wanted to pick up my plate and lick it to get the last gooey drop of it.

Bethann and Hilary told me I could definitely make that again. It is gluten free, low carb, and includes two super foods.

Leave a Reply