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Off the Shelf: Honey and Mustard Baked Pork

This oven-roasted pork dish from Off the Shelf requires very little hands-on attention, and tastes great. I would, however, change the technique a bit (a refrain that's becoming common with this book).

The original recipe tells the cook to split parsnips in half lengthwise and roast them in the oven for about 40 minutes, or "until tender." I selected medium-sized parsnips, but there's a big difference in size between the root ends and the tips, so by the time the thickest part was tender, the ends were overcooked and almost crispy. To try to even out the cooking time, I suggest that you trim off the smallest part of the parsnips and then quarter them lengthwise.

Similarly, the pork would cook up better if it were cut into pieces. Donna Hay's recipe doesn't say anything about cutting the pork, but the accompanying picture shows the pork fillet in 4 pieces. The more surface area that's coated with the mustard and honey, the more flavorful the dish will be, so I suggest cutting the fillet (also called tenderloin) into 4 pieces crosswise, then slicing those pieces in half lengthwise, for a total of 8 pieces. That will give you pork that cooks quickly and is very flavorful.

Hay's only note about the pork is to cook it until tender. The recommendation these days is to cook pork to 155 or 160 degrees for food safety -- use an instant-read thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat to get the temperature. The meat may still be somewhat pink at this temperature, but it is perfectly safe. Don't overcook it -- pork tenderloin is quite lean, and when overcooked it becomes dry and unappetizing.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 60 to 70 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

4 medium parsnips, small ends trimmed off, peeled and quartered lengthwise
2 Tbsp olive oil
Cracked black pepper and coarse salt
1/3 cup whole grain mustard
1 1/2 lb pork fillet or pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into 4 pieces, then lengthwise (8 pieces total)
2 Tbsp oregano leaves
1/4 cup honey

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the parsnips, cut side up, in a baking dish and sprinkle with oil, pepper, and salt. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden and tender.

Spread the mustard on the pork and place the pieces on top of the parsnips. Sprinkle with oregano and drizzle with honey. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the pork is tender.



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