Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce
Autumn comes every year and like clockwork, I begin cooking heavy, winter-style dishes, like warm oven dishes and super hearty soups. But after eating this dish, I've decided it's a nicer surprise when you ease into those typical winter dishes like you would at a wine tasting, beginning with light-bodied wines and ending with the full-bodied ones. It's a much subtler way to roll into the fall (and eventually winter) and this dish will help the new season taste great.
Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce & Italian White Bean Purée
300 g pork tenderloin
1-2 T sunflower oil (or another high smoking-point oil)
1 t slurry (1/2 t corn starch mixed with 1/2 t cold water)
50 g plum jam
1 t zest of grapefruit
1 t zest of orange
65 ml fresh grapefruit juice (about 1/2)
90 ml fresh orange juice (about 1)
dash of cinnamon
dash of cumin
1 t soy sauce
1 small/medium garlic clove (about 2 g) - pressed
White Bean Purée
100 g leeks (light green and white only) thinly sliced
2 t butter
1 t olive oil
80 g small-cubed parsnips
1 can (400 g) Italian cannellini beans (or another white bean) drained and rinsed
5 T heavy cream
1/2 t fresh chopped thyme leaves
1 T butter (for while puréeing)
First things first, the marinade: Mix all of the ingredients together. Make sure the silver skin and/or any fat lines through the meat are removed and thrown away. Then lay your loin on the cutting board and cut through the head (thickest part of the tenderloin), 1 inch thick (2,5 cm) medallions. Set in the marinade. You want as much of the meat covered as possible. Marinate for at least 1 hour. Can go overnight if desired.
For the purée, in a heavy-bottomed, small, but wide pot (like a sauce pan) on medium heat, add the oil and 1 teaspoon of the butter. Once melted add the leeks. Add some salt & pepper, stir well and cover with a tight sealing lid. Turn down to a medium-low. Remove the lid every 1-2 minutes, letting the water from the lid drip back inside and stir. The leeks should not brown at all. They should just sweat and wilt. Once wilted, add the parsnip cubes. Add the remaining butter, mix again and cover 3-5 minutes on medium-low to low. The parsnips need to begin to get softer without anything browning. Keeping the moisture inside is necessary for this side dish to work out. Now, add the thyme, beans and cream. Cook on a simmer as low as possible for 10-15 minutes or until the parsnips are soft enough to purée well. Purée very smoothly in a good kitchen machine and add 1 T butter if desired, then put the purée back in the pot to stay warm, covered with a lid. Do not add any more liquid, it must be a stiff purée.
Strain the marinade into a small sauce pan. Turn the heat up to high. Once boiling, lower to a medium-high. You will want to watch this VERY carefully because it can evaporate quickly. Pat the meat dry and in a frying pan on high and almost smoking, add your meat, you want to cook these for about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the temperature you wish to have. Lower the temperature to medium-high as needed to brown not burn the meat. Once the marinade has reduced by half add the plum jam and stir it in well. Let it warm up and thicken and then add the slurry to the pan and mix well. It will thicken to its maximum consistency once boiling. Season before serving. You can turn it off as needed because of the timing with the meat. It only takes 5 min or so to make.
A nice golden brown color on each side is excellent for the medallions. For the temperature (inside of the meat), a light pink in the middle is no longer taboo when serving pork (medium/medium-well). It keeps them from drying out since this cut of meat has very little fat to keep it moist while cooking. Serve the medallions atop the warm purée, drizzle the sauce over the top and serve with a side salad. A delicious Beaujolais or Vino Novello should pair quite well with this dish. They are fresh, light and fruity. Bon appetit!