If you’re a fan of pork, you can’t beat pork tenderloin as a go-to for a quick meal. Having pork tenderloins stashed away in the freezer means you can whip up a meal quickly, usually with little effort.
What I like best about pork tenderloin (besides a good sale price) is that if you buy them prepackaged, most contain two tenderloins. Most tenderloins typically weigh a pound or more. If they aren’t frozen, remove the tenderloins from the package and freeze separately so you can take out only what you need. Well-wrapped pork tenderloin keeps about nine months in the freezer.
Another reason to like pork tenderloin? It’s considered one of the leaner cuts of pork. A 3-ounce serving of roasted pork tenderloin has 120 calories and 3 grams of fat, according to the National Pork Board.
After eating at a popular Chinese bistro chain, I had a craving for lettuce wraps. And I knew I had frozen pork tenderloin tucked away. Unlike the chain’s crunchy lettuce wraps, which use chilled iceberg lettuce, these use Bibb lettuce. I find using the softer lettuce makes the wraps easier to hold. For crunch, I topped them with a slaw made from a purchased broccoli-slaw mix and the same sauce I used for the wraps. The slaw is optional, but a good addition.
Instead of buying ground pork, I ground the tenderloin. The key is to make sure the meat is super chilled — even better, close to frozen.
To grind meat without a meat grinder, use a food processor. Cut the chilled tenderloin into chunks and pulse several times. But don’t pulse too many times or the meat will clump together.
You also can dice it by slicing the well-chilled meat into ¼-inch-thick medallions. Stack medallions, slice into strips and then dice.
Meat — and poultry, too — that is still somewhat frozen is easier to process or dice. When the meat is too warm, it tends to mush together instead of chopping evenly in the food processor. The meat should be just solid enough for you to easily cut through it with a sharp knife.
Poll: Which 2013 Taste Holiday Cookie Contest entry do you most want to try?