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Happy New Year! I hope it’s started off well for all of you. Last year was a big one for me, mostly in good ways. I’m hoping 2018 will bring a little less of a rollercoaster, but I do have some ambitious plans on all fronts (including lots more recipes and a book or two for you), so it’s definitely not going to be quiet.
Precisely because life is one busy day after another, I wanted to start the year off with a combi steam recipe which is frequently a dinner saviour around here. Sheet pan meals, or tray bakes, are the best fall back I can think of when you don’t want takeaway meals but need something fast. Quick to get into the oven and usually speedy to cook, I make so many variations of them that I could probably create a whole sheet pan dinners index page if I posted all the recipes.
For today, though, we’ll start with just one more addition to the sheet pan dinners genre, this seemingly plain combi steam recipe for pork tenderloin and vegetables. It gets elevated to new heights with the addition of a punchy, vibrant green olive, lemon and caper salsa, and it’s worth making for the salsa alone.
I suspect this recipe will be popular with many of you, just as it is for us. Especially considering another sheet pan meal, the Chicken, Chorizo and Pumpkin Tray Bake, is one of the most visited recipes on my entire site (right behind Simple Steam Oven Chocolate Cake – great to see you all have your dessert-then-dinner priorities straight). Like the chicken and chorizo dish, this one can be varied in many ways. If pork isn’t your thing, chicken or fish fillets will work just as well. And you could change up the vegetables too, using aubergine, squash or cabbage in place of the courgettes and peppers here.
Family friendly steam oven meals
Because family friendliness is the name of the game for my dinners, and many of yours, I try to cook things which the kids willingly eat, but can also be bumped up to adult-worthy meals with simple additions. No one wants to make two separate meals.
Here, the pork and vegetables are simple, comforting and enough on their own for the less adventurous eaters. The olive salsa, though, makes the dish absolutely shine, and the whole dish is a regular request from my husband when I ask what he wants for dinner. Side note: it’s not often I ask him what he wants to eat, so the poor man takes his chances for special requests when he can get them.
Pork tenderloin in a combi steam oven
Pork tenderloin, or fillet, is an ideal cut for combi steam cooking. It’s small, lean and tends to dryness when overdone, so the addition of steam during cooking is hugely beneficial and gives a couple of minutes grace time in the cooking process.
I like to cook pork tenderloin hot and fast, never really giving it time to dry out. And though you could pan fry it quickly to brown the outside before putting it in the oven, I am inherently against adding another pan to wash, so I don’t bother. Instead, I use a favourite hack of rubbing dry spices onto the meat before cooking, which does double duty in flavouring and giving colour to the finished dish.
If an impressive 20 minute dinner is a necessity in your house this week, I can’t recommend this one enough.
Happy steam oven cooking, see you here again soon.
Recipe: Steam Oven Pork Tenderloin with Courgettes, Red Peppers and Green Olive Sauce
The first time I tested out this Spanish-inspired dish I wasn’t too excited about it. In fact, I thought it would be one of those ‘ho-hum’ meals I cooked once but never returned to. I was so wrong - it’s become a regular dinner, mostly thanks to the vibrant salty/sour hit of the green olive, caper and lemon sauce.
You could make the salsa up to a couple of hours ahead of time, but if I have everything out on the benchtop ready to go, I can get the chopping and mixing done in the time the vegetables and meat take to cook.
I like to serve this dish with a loaf of good crusty bread to mop up the juices from the plate.
Ingredients for the pork and vegetables:
8 baby courgettes or 2 medium zucchinis, thickly sliced (halve before slicing if using zucchini)
1 large capsicum (bell pepper), deseeded and roughly chopped (use any colour you like, or a combination)
1 tbs olive oil
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs olive oil, extra
2 x 300g (10.5oz) pork fillets
Ingredients for green olive salsa:
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 ½ tbs salted capers, soaked in water for 10 minutes, drained and chopped
10 large green olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, leaves picked, chopped
½ tsp smoked paprika
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbs olive oil
1. Set the oven to 200ºC/392ºF, combination steam setting. If your oven has variable humidity levels, use 50%.
2. Put the courgettes, capsicum and olive oil into a solid stainless steel pan and cook for 8 minutes. They should be just beginning to soften.
3. While the vegetables start cooking, rub the smoked paprika, salt and remaining oil over the pork fillets, and make the salsa by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl to combine. Add a tablespoon or two of water if you want it a little looser, then set aside while you make the rest of the dish.
4. When the timer goes off for the vegetables, add the pork to the pan (shift the vegetables around to make a couple of gaps so everything cooks in a single layer). If your pork tenderloins are very slim, like my pictured ones, fold the thin ends under to make things a bit more even for cooking. Return the pan to the oven until the pork is just cooked through, about 12 minutes. A thermometer or meat probe should read 71°C/160°F in the thickest part of the meat. By this time the vegetables should be browned and tender.
5. Allow the pork to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving with the vegetables on the side. Spoon the salsa over the meat at the table.
If you’d like more combi steam oven recipes and inspiration, sign up to become a Steam and Bake email subscriber. No spam, just an email every now and then to tell you the latest. Plus, you’ll get access to the exclusive subscribers-only Combi Steam Cooking Facebook group. It’s full of people at all stages of learning about combi steam cooking, and I’m in there answering your questions and posting videos, tips and cooking inspiration.
And if you’re after more delicious combi steam recipes, the Easy Combi Steam Oven Recipes Index page has plenty. Try the Loaded Sweet Potatoes or the Maple, Lime and Ginger Chicken Tenderloins to start you off.