There have been numerous inquiries and discussions on the many food related Internet forums including this one about serving snacks for Super Bowl parties centered on the signature foods of the two cities, Chicago and Indianapolis. It seems most can quickly suggest the famous Chicago deep dish pizza or the Chicago style hot dogs for Chicago but then most people outside the Hoosier state are stumped about Indianapolis. I'm drawing the line and making my suggestion. It is not corn or popcorn, it is not fried chicken, it is not beans and corn bread, it is not green bean casserole, and save the sugar cream pie for dessert. It is the famous Indiana breaded pork tenderloin sandwich - a sandwich that has its roots in Indiana and is very popular throughout the breadbasket Heartland of the Midwest, but is relatively unknown beyond.
The problem is the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich is one giant of a sandwich if done right to live up to its reputation and will fill you up, muscle out other snacks and have you napping by the fourth quarter of the big game. I don't think anyone wants that. So, to make it more feasible, here is the mini pork tenderloin sandwich appetizer. What is it? It is a mini deep-fried breaded pork tenderloin sandwich of about a minimum of 2 inches to not more than 4 inches in size and served with small dinner rolls. If in Chicago you could substitute the dinner rolls with crustless white bread and slather them with gravy, but please don't. As you might infer it is not a signature food for Chicago in the way I am preparing them.
I have presented many breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches and how they are prepared in porktenderloinsandwich.com so we can skip the basics and concentrate on the differences.
I started with a package of pork tenderloins. They typically come packaged in pairs and weigh a bit over a pound each. Normally I can get about four sandwiches out of one tenderloin but in making the mini I found I could easily get twelve or more tenderloin pieces out of one by simply cross cutting pieces not more than 3/4 inches thick. Pounded flat the ranged from nearly 3" by 4" from the thickest part down to about 2" x 3" toward the end. They ended up about 1/4" thick on the average with three quick poundings with my favored Marples mallet. They were just right for the small 2" x 2" dinner rolls.
Marinating and breading was the same as for the larger standard pork tenderloin sandwiches. In frying I found I could batch fry several at a time in my fryer anywhere from four to six. I used a deep fryer but I think these are small enough that you could easily fry them in a skillet. I fried them 3minutes at 360 degrees F.
Here is the result. I don't say bon appetite. I say just dig in and enjoy!