Bourbon-marinated pork filet & creamy polenta








Well, it was getting darker and we were hungry, we’ll have it again this weekend, so photo update might be rather sooner than later (unless plans or the weather changes). Recipes in German at the end / Deutsche Rezepte am Ende

Altweibersommer (Old women’s summer) is what Germans call Indian Summer: spiders casting long strings to anchor their cobwebs which are wafting through the mellow & clear air reminding people of long grey hair of elder women. Currently, we are experiencing glorious summery autumn days with sunshine galore, silky warm air and blue skies. The leaves on the trees are slowly turning yellow, orange and red but it is warm enough to even have (an early) supper outside – fire up the grill!

One thing we learned about the difference between barbecuing in America* and Germany (let’s say in the old days of the 80s and 90s) is that you do not need a cornucopia (or masses) of different things to throw on the grill but to use the hot charcoal fire as an alternative cooking method and limit yourself one dish and a few sides (maybe a few extra sausages for the sausage lovers in your family for whom no barbecue is a proper barbecue without a grilled sausage, here’s looking at you, darling. And, believe you me, this takes the stress right out of having a barbecue and you’ll have time to actually appreciate the taste of the dish and the company you’re having….

Especially when the fare of the day is Jenny Rosenstrach’s Bourbon-marinated pork filet (tenderloin) with its rich dark gingery sauce and (when in season) grilled peaches. At this time of year, on a crisp but summery autumn day a creamy polenta or sweet potato mash is my choice alongside some dark leafy greens, carrots, crunchy sugar snap peas… And Jenny, I agree, every day should be like this!

Creamy polenta

Of course a traditional or not so traditional potato salad would be fine, too.


* Thanks to our fantastic neighbours & friends in CA who invited us to countless barbecues: I especially remember Ryan’s grilled salmon (who looked remarkably like Dennis Quaid, Ryan not the salmon) and Dave, the master of the grilled crab legs and juicy ribs, exquisite cigars and great drinks, who always cooks for his lovely wife Amy (Hi, Amy!) and by now has changed profession and become a chef! Dave, you might want to try this soon. Good with my Mum’s onion sauce, too. Just saying.


Bourbon-marinated pork filet / tenderloin

Grilled Bourbon-marinated pork filet

Serves 4, adapted from Jenny Rosenstrach’s Dinner: A Love Story


¼ cup (60ml) Bourbon (our choice is Knob Creek)
¼ cup (60ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 pork filet (tenderloin), ca. 400-500g (about 1 lb.)


Mix Bourbon, soy sauce, sugar, olive oil and ginger in a zipper freezer bag, add the pork filet and marinate for at least 2 hours (and up to 4 hours). Barbecue the marinated filet over a medium-hot grill for 15-20 minutes, turning it regularly. The meat is done when the middle part if firm or a meat thermometer inserted in the centre reads 60°C (140°F). Decant the marinade into a small saucepan and boil for about 2-5 minutes until it is reduced to a thicker sauce. Keep warm and drizzle over the sliced pork.



Creamy polenta

Creamy polenta

Serves 4-6

400ml (1¾ cups) milk (whole, in case you are really wondering)
400ml (1¾ cups) chicken broth or water, plus some more
200g (7 oz) polenta
salt & black pepper
a piece of butter
freshly grated parmesan (optional)


In a heavy pot (I use my small Dutch oven) bring the milk and stock to a boil, sprinkle in the polenta flour and start stirring with a wooden spoon (stir in one direction only, sounds silly but it reduces the chances or a pile-up and splattering of hot molten maize lava). Continue to cook over a lower flame, stirring (later only from time to time) for roughly 30 minutes. If the polenta becomes to dry, add a little hot water to it: you’ll want to have a creamy puree. Season with salt, add a knob or more of butter and if going for a richer flavour: freshly grated parmesan and top with a good grind of black pepper.



Bourbon-marinated pork filet / tenderloin

Bourbon-Schweinefilet vom Grill

Für 4 Personen, adaptiert von Jenny Rosenstrachs Dinner: A Love Story


60ml Bourbon Whiskey (z. B. Knob Creek)
60ml Sojasauce
2 EL brauner Zucker
3 EL Olivenöl
1 Stück Ingwer (5cm), geschält und gewürfelt
1 Schweinefilet (ca. 400-500g)


Bourbon, Sojasauce, Zucker, Olivenöl und Ingwer in einem verschließbaren Gefrierbeutel mischen und darin das Schweinefilet für mindestens 2 Stunden (und bis zu 4 Stunden) marinieren. Wenn der Grill heiß ist, das Filet über mittlerer Hitze ca. 15-20 Minuten grillen, dabei alle 5 Minuten wenden. Das Fleisch ist gar wenn der mittlere Teil sich fest anfühlt und ein Thermometer 60°C anzeigt. In der Zwischenzeit die Marinade in einem kleinen Topf zu einer dickeren Sauce einkochen (ca. 2-5 Minuten) und anschließend über das aufgeschnittene Filet träufeln.



Creamy polenta

Cremige Polenta

Für 4-6 Personen

400ml Milch
400ml Hühnerbrühe oder heißes Wasser, plus etwas mehr
200g Polenta
Salz & schwarzer Pfeffer
frisch geriebener Parmesan (optional)


Milch und Brühe oder Wasser in einem schweren Topf (ich benutze meinen kleinen Le Creusettopf) zum Kochen bringen und langsam unter Rühren das Polentamehl einstreuen. Am besten nur in eine Richtung rühren, so wird die Gefahr beim Richtungswechsel von heißer Maislava bespritzt zu werden, deutlich reduziert. Nach einer Weile die Hitze etwas reduzieren, weiterrühren (später bei geringerer Temperatur nur noch gelegentlich) und ca. 30 Minuten kochen. Sollte die Polenta zu fest werden, etwas heißes Wasser hinzufügen. Mit Salz würzen und einen oder mehrere Stiche Butter unterrühren. Für eine etwas reichhaltigere Version geriebenen Parmesan zum Schluß hinzufügen. Anschließend mit einigen Mühlendrehungen schwarzem Pfeffer bestreuen.



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