I have often extolled the culinary virtues of pork tenderloin herein and you may be tired of reading about it. If so, I apologize for yet another tribute to “the other white meat”. But if I can convince one of you “non-believers” to give this lean, quick-cooking, flexible, and delicious cut of meat to give it a try, I will be satisfied with my efforts. Go for it!
I have explained that the whole tenderloin, usually large enough for 4 modest servings, can be sauteed, or pan roasted, oven baked, or grilled, skewered, sliced, cubed, stuffed, rolled, or even ground (perish the thought), and sauced with any number of concoctions, sweet or savory, even sweet and savory. Herbed, spiced, tarted up with colorful fruits or vegetables. The imagination presents the only limitation.
Here is one of my favorite ways to cook quickly a tenderloin sliced into medallions. These cook quickly, about 6-8 minutes. The sauce is an herby, port wine enhanced, broth-based sauce flavored with a touch of tomato paste and pitted prunes which add a deep sweetness to the pork. Once all the ingredients are gathered and prepared, the whole recipe is finished in about a half-hour.
SAUTEED PORK MEDALLIONS WITH PRUNES
Serves 3 or 4
One pork tenderloin, cut in 8 slices, about 1″ thick
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 t. ground cumin, optional
2 T. oil
1 sprig rosemary, leaves stripped from stem and chopped*
1/2 c. finely chopped onions
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. port
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. tomato paste**
1/2 c. chicken broth
12 pitted prunes
1-2 T. butter
2 T. fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Flatten the pork slices slightly and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and cumin.
2. Saute the pork in batches in hot oil 3-4 minutes, turn and saute other side 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining batch. Remove pork to a warm plate and cover with foil.
3. Lower heat to medium, add onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary leaves. Cook, stirring, for a minute to soften.
3. Add port, vinegar, tomato paste and broth. Deglaze the pan. Add prunes and cook, stirring occasionally to reduce by approximately half.
4. Return pork and any accumulated meat juices on plate. Add butter and stir to combine.
5. Serve pork with sauce and sprinkled with the fresh herbs.
*If you’re not a fan of rosemary, just put the whole sprig in the pan when you add the port and remove it when you are ready to serve. It will add just a touch of rosemary flavor.
** If you don’t have tomato paste, you can use catsup in a pinch. I always have a tube of tomato paste, one of the best convenience items for cooks. You can squeeze out the amount of tomato paste needed and return the tube to the refrigerator to store. The small cans of tomato paste usually leave half the contents or more to be dealt with later. For me, that used to mean the contents suffering a long, slow death in the back of the refrigerator. I know, I know. You can put dollops on a plate and freeze them, keeping them in a plastic bag in the freezer until needed. I tried that once and could never find the bag quickly. Believe me, the tubes are much more user-friendly and cost effective.