Season Stepp: Sweet tea has many culinary uses
In most areas of the country, summer is the time of year to break out the iced tea. In the South, however, we’ve had it out all year. But instead of just drinking it, how about using tea in cooking as well? Try out Sweet Tea Marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Peach Sweet Tea Cocktail and Sweet Tea Pie with Pecan Crust.
Black tea has many health benefits, although adding excess sugar to the drink may practically cancel out its advantages. Black, as well as green teas, are packed full of antioxidants: In fact, some strongly brewed teas have been found to contain more antioxidants than grape juice and blueberries.
These antioxidants help us to live longer, healthier lives by preventing cancers and other health problems. Among other things, tea also promotes healthy teeth and bones, boosts metabolism, improves brain function, and regulates mood.
In general, drinking hot tea is healthier than drinking iced tea because it is easier for your body to absorb the benefits from the warm liquid than those which are chilled. However, don’t let this factoid discourage you from your next glass.
Sweet Tea-Marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin
2 cups water
2 black tea bags
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic peeled and halved
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 cups ice cubes
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed of silverskin and excess fat
Spiced Pineapple Chutney (recipe follows)
Place the water over high heat in a large saucepot. When the water boils, add tea bags. Remove from heat, and steep for 20 minutes.
Remove the tea bags from the water and discard.
Add the sugar, salt, lemon juice, garlic, and thyme to the tea, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add ice cubes and stir to cooled completely.
Place the marinade and the pork in a dish or ziptop bag. Marinate at room temperature for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before ready to grill.
Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat, about 425 degrees.
Remove the tenderloin from the marinade, pat dry. Season well with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Lightly brush the grill with canola oil, and place the pork on the grill. Leaving the lid up, cook the pork on the first side until grill marks can be seen along the edges of the bottom. Rotate and repeat, cooking on 3 sides. Check the internal temperature by inserting an instant-read thermometer at an angle towards the center of the tenderloin. Cook to desired internal temperature see chart below. Do not overcook or rotate more than 3 times.
Remove from the grill, and allow to rest at least 5 minutes under lightly tented aluminum foil. Use a long, non-serrated slicing knife to slice into medallions. Serve with spiced pineapple chutney.
Pork cooking temperatures: Medium Rare: 145-150 - Medium: 150-155 - Medium Well: 160- 165 - Well Done: 170 and above.
Spiced Pineapple Chutney
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup golden raisins
1 bell pepper: ribs and seeds removed; diced
1 rosemary sprig, leaves removed and minced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat. When hot, add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
When the oil is hot, add the onion, pineapple, raisins, bell pepper, and minced rosemary. Cook until the onion is soft and starting to brown on the edges, about 5-8 minutes.
Add the vinegar, sugar, and a generous pinch each of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper; cook until the mixture thickens, about 8 minutes.
Peach Sweet Tea Cocktail
12 ounces sweet tea vodka
1/4 cup peach schnapps
3 cups lemonade
1 lemon, juiced
12 lemon wedges
1/2 cup mint leaves
Combine sweet tea vodka, peach schnapps, lemonade and lemon juice in a large pitcher. Stir to combine. Adjust flavors to taste.
Strain into 12 glasses filled with ice and garnish each one with a mint leaves and a lemon wedge.
Sweet Tea Pie with Pecan Crust
1 (9-inch) Pecan Pie Crust, par-baked and chilled (recipe follows)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
8 egg yolks
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2/3 cups strong tea
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plain cornmeal
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Add egg yolks, one at a time, and incorporate before adding the next.
Add lemon zest, juice, vanilla, and vinegar. Mix to incorporate.
Add the tea and mix until combined.
Using a spatula, stir in the flour and cornmeal just until combined.
Pour into the prepared crusts and bake until slightly bubbly and almost set, about 20-30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling
3/4 cup ground pecans
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cold
Whole milk, about 2/3 cup
Stir together the butter, flour, pecans, brown sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until the butter is size of peas.
Working in sections around the bowl, add milk one splash at a time to the flour and stir. Continue adding the milk until the dough retains the shape of your hand when squeezed. On a floured surface, fold the dough onto itself 3-4 times. Wrap the crust in plastic wrap and flatten into a rectangle. Chill dough, about 10-15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
On a floured work surface, roll the crust into a circle about 11 inches in diameter. Place in a pie dish and line with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill will pie weights and bake the unfilled crusts until firm to the touch and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.