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Nov 12, 2008 06:59 PM

Can use pork fillet instead of shoulder?

i am thinking of cooking Delia Spanish Pork stew with Potatoes and Chorizo but for a dinner party tomorrow night but the problem is that the recipe calls for pork shoulder and i have pork fillet. The cooking time is around 1.5 hours - would it dry fillet out? I did search online and it said best way to cook fillet is potroast - so that's pretty much the same as stew?

Will i be ok using fillet instead, do you think? Thank you!

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  1. Not quite sure what pork fillet is, but if we're talking about tenderloin (single muscle, 12" long or so, tapered from one end to the other, just over a pound), then I would not use it in your stew. There's no fat to speak of, so the meat would dry out, and there's no connective tissue, so the sauce would not be unctuous. Pork shoulder (aka Boston Butt) is one of many ways to go here, but the tenderloin is about as far from an appropriate cut as you're going to find on the pig.

    4 Replies
    1. re: alanbarnes

      yep, same thing... oh, what a shame... have to come up with fillet recipe for dinner the - anyone pls?

      1. re: twinsmum

        The tenderloin is a delicious cut. You have many, many options, but I'd recommend going simple - just sear it (in a pan, under a broiler, or on a grill), then finish at moderate heat (in the oven or on the grill) to just past medium-rare. Don't overcook your pork; trichinosis is not an issue now that pigs aren't being raised on garbage.

        Pork in general takes well to fruit-based sauces, and I enjoy it with spicy stuff. For a pair of tenderloins, I like to reduce a pint or so of chicken stock by 75%, then stir in a few tablespoons of orange juice concentrate and a mashed chipotle pepper or two (smoked jalapeno, typically canned in a tomato-based sauce). Taste and correct the seasonings, then brush a little sauce over the tenderloin while it's roasting to make a glaze. After the meat has cooked and rested, slice it and use the rest of the sauce on the serving platter.

        Okay, now you've inspired me. I've got a pair of tenderloins in the freezer. They're coming out for Saturday dinner.

        1. re: alanbarnes

          brilliant! thank you very much! sounds good

          1. re: twinsmum

            I do something very similar with pork tenderloin. I like to get my cast iron skillet vvery hot with some oil and place the seasoned tenderloin (just salt and peppper) in the hot pan. Do not disturb the tenderloin for about four minutes. Then turn it over and put a good smear of dijon mustard right on the already cooked side of the tenderloin. Imediately put the whole loin in the oven at 400 degrees and let cook for about fifteen minutes. I like my pork about medium so if you like yours well done just leave it in the oven a little longer.

    2. I usually do Wiener Schnitzel (with pork) for the leaner pork cuts. The breading helps keep things moist, you can apply it in advance (hold under refrigeration) and it takes under 4 minutes to cook.

      I have posted a recipe for this on my website, but if you are familiar with applying a standard breading, you do not really need a recipe - yes, it is that simple.

      1. Pork shoulder is THE perfect cut for low and slow. Pork tenderloin for sear and oven finish. I like to run a clean knife steel the long way through the center of the tenderloin and make a stuff-able center. I like fruit with pork tenderloin too, so re-hydrating dried fruit and mixing it with wild rice is good, or poached fruit with chilies and nuts or, or, or..then ya just simple tie the ends to keep the stuffing from falling out - and - in an oven-safe skillet - put a good sear on the entire surface area of the tenderloin - and pop it into a say...350 deg. oven for few minutes to a nice med. rare. - and then - pull it out and let it rest for a few minutes and slice sushi roll sized portions off it - and maybe - drizzle it with an aged balsamic reduction or some kinda mo-lasses and sriracha kinda colorful something - and then - serve it with garlic-wilted spinach or quick polenta or both and you have a quick and easy dinner for two. This may sound harder than it is. Really it's just ream, stuff, sear, oven finish, slice, eat and ....nap

        1. It's not entirely clear whether you have the smaller tenderloin (about 2" in diameter), or the larger loin.

          I often fix the tenderloin because I can get it at a reasonable price, it is lean, and I only need to feed two people. Often I'll trim the narrow ends off, and cut them up. Today I used those pieces in a Chinese style stirfry.

          Last week I used them in a Galician Empanada filling. For that I caramelized onion, bell pepper, and (streaky) bacon, then added the diced pork for the last 15 minutes of cooking, prior to making the empanada and baking it.

          Often I'll cook the uniform portion of the tenderloin whole - pan seared, and finished in the oven or covered pan (to a 145F temperature). In the New Spanish Table cookbook, there's a recipe for serving a pork loin like this with lightly seared strawberry slices and sherry vinegar reduction.

          While pork shoulder would do better in Delia's recipe, I wouldn't be afraid to make the dish with a leaner cut, even the tenderloin. The pork makes up less than a third of the contents. You are going to get enough fat and flavor from the chorizo. I'd cut the lean pork into bite size pieces.

          I can think of two time options. One is to start tasting after a half hour, mainly checking for doneness of the potatoes. The other is to start it with everything but the pork, and then add the pork for the last 30 minutes. This would allow the other ingredients to really cook down and develop a caramelized flavor. It's a little hard to judge whether this recipe calls for the 1 1/2hr because it needs that long to cook the shoulder meat, or it needs that time to develop all the flavors.

          The New Spanish Table has a Gypsy pork stew that looks a bit like this. The pork with most of the ingredients are baked for an hour, then the potatoes are added, 25 min. more, then the artichoke hearts and favas are added, and 20 min. more.

          That suggests a third adaptation to Delia's recipe. Start the onion and chorizo on the stove top, till the onion is cooked down and starting to brown. Add the other ingredients except the potatoes and lean pork. Let that stew for a while (stove top or oven). Then add the potatoes and pork, and simmer gently for about a half hour, or until the potatoes are tender. That would let all the other parts develop a rich stew base, without overcooking either the potatoes or the pork.

          1 Reply
          1. re: paulj

            I agree with the chorizo giving off the fat you'll need to support the dish. Maybe consider cooking off cubed tenderloin pieces in the chorizo fat, and then adding it way later in the process for a whole other - non-shouldery - porky dimension to your stew. Good luck!