I put the bourbon in quotes in this title, because I didn't use any ha. The reasons are multi-factorial. First of all, we don't drink alcohol. I am not morally opposed to cooking with it, and lots of the cooking shows I watch are like white wine this, rum that, etc. However, it can be expensive, especially because I'm not gonna drink the rest ha. And it's not like I'm going to shell out top dollar for a good bottle of bourbon when I only need 1/4 cup. So I googled "emergency substitution for bourbon" (I mean, it wasn't really an emergency but that's a good way to find substitutions when you've already started a recipe and realize you don't have something and you don't want to go out to the store right then...so it's a First World Emergency) and found a website that said you could substitute a third of the amount called for with vanilla. So that's what I did. I'm sure it altered the flavor, but really we have no idea what actual bourbon tastes like so I figured it would be a transparent trade. And maybe it's a similar taste to cheap bourbon, which, if I was buying bourbon, is what I would have gotten. Like, Great Value Bourbon or something.
This recipe is the second one we've tried from one of the cookbooks I got for Christmas, America's Best Recipes: Comfort Food (from my mom).
"Bourbon"-Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin
2 lb pork tenderloin
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup minced green onions
1/4 cup bourbon (or 4 tsp vanilla haha)
1/4 cup soy sauce (I used Bragg's Liquid Aminos for a GF sub)
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cornstarch
Remove silver skin from tenderloins, leaving just a thin layer of fat. Place meat in gallon-size ziploc bag. In a small bowl combine brown sugar, onions, bourbon, soy sauce, mustard and pepper. Pour over meat. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate 8-18 hours, turning bag occasionally. Remove pork from marinade, reserving marinade.
Grill the pork (if you live in Maine in January, this is tricky...I cut mine to even sizes and used my George Foreman grill) until thermometer registers 155* (this didn't seem high enough to me, and I don't like to mess around with pork...I went to 165/170ish which is what my meat thermometer says is done for pork).
Meanwhile, combine reserved marinade and cornstarch in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute (mine seemed way too thick, so I added some chicken stock to thin in out...it worked well).
Okay so I didn't like the way the sauce smelled. Maybe because I am not used to vanilla in a savory application vs a baked one. I didn't even want to put the sauce on my plate. Steve did though, but just in a little cup on the side (you'll see it in the picture). I did dip one bite of my meat in the sauce, and it was good. VERY vanilla. Sam tried some of it too, and ended up saucing all of his pork. The meat itself was tasty too. We had this with Honey Mustard Potato Salad (I'll repost if I've put it on the blog in the past) and corn...felt like a faux bbq in here. Just like we used faux bourbon ;)