Cherry Pork Tenderloin
Normally, Aaron (our E-commerce Manager) handles the recipes. He’s cooked some tasty dishes in the past few months, and has done so with great aplomb. Too much aplomb. It’s time to put an end to his reign of “following the recipe” and “measuring things”. With great fruit, great things are possible, even in the hands of someone like me.
As proficient as Aaron is, he doesn’t have the experience I bring with me, namely four years of college spent watching The Food Network and Top Chef—if cooking were a spectator sport, I’d be a legend. Suffice it to say that I was ready for any challenge.
We chose Cherry Pork Tenderloin because we got our first boxes of Oregon Cherries last week. They’re delicious. So delicious they don’t even need a recipe: I contemplated throwing a few cherries on a plate, sprinkling some parsley on top and calling it a day, but I could never do that to you, our beloved reader. You’re here for a recipe and I plan on delivering in spades.
To begin, I took the pork tenderloin out from its package and challenged it to a staring contest. The pork won. You see, I’m from the sort of family that cooks pork until it’s done, and then cooks it for another hour to be safe. Tender pork is something of a final frontier for me. But tender pork was on the menu, and tender pork is what I’m delivering.
I preheated the oven to 360° and started chopping my onion. The recipe calls for a shallot—whatever that is—but I used onions and cut them into perfectly symmetrical pieces. If they handed out awards for onion chopping, well you get the picture. I browned the onions in my cast iron skillet, and removed them to make way for the pork.
Next, I seasoned my tenderloin with salt and pepper. Do not hold back reader. Salt brings out flavor; flavor is good, very good. I’m a bit of pepper monkey, so you’ll have to excuse the excess of pepper coating my meat. With my meat seasoned, I added it to the skillet and browned each side as evenly as my misshapen pork would allow. Give your pork time to develop a nice crust, it’ll be worth it. After the pork browned, I threw it in the oven and set the timer.
With my thermometer in hand, I diligently awaited that 155° reading. 155°-160° is the ideal range for pork. At those temperatures it’s tender and cooked all the way through. I constantly checked on my pork and as a result, it took longer to cook. But eventually my thermometer read 155°. I triumphantly pulled the pork from the oven and set it rest.
Next, I added my cooked onions, balsamic vinegar, and chicken stock to the skillet, and begin to scrape the bottom to deglaze those delicious pan drippings. That’s where the flavors at readers, and if you haven’t heard, flavor is good, very good.
The liquid began to reduce, and after a while I added the butter, brown sugar and cherries. I smashed up the cherries with a fork and made sure that their color and flavor made its way into the reduction. I gave the sauce a taste. It was delicious, absolutely delicious. The sweetness and acidity from the cherries elevated what would have been a dull gravy into something much more spectacular. It was fruit in a savory application. What a revelation.
I sliced the pork on a diagonal and put the sauce on top of the medallions. I took a forkful of pork, and added its saucy cherry friend to the mix, and hooray. My pork was tender, my sauce was outstanding, and my confidence was at an all time high. This dish is a homerun. It’s seasonal and complex thanks to the addition of the cherries. With fresh seasonal fruit, you can never go wrong.
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
¼ Cup Shallot, Finely Chopped
¾ lb. Pork Tenderloin
¼ Teaspoon Salt
1/8 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 Cup Reduced-Sodium Chicken Broth
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 Cup Dark Sweet Cherries
1 Teaspoon Butter
1 Teaspoon Light Brown Sugar
- Heat oven to 350°F Warm 1 tablespoon oil in ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; cook 1 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels.
- Season tenderloin with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add tenderloin and cook until browned, about 9 minutes, turning as needed to brown evenly.
- Transfer skillet to oven. Cook until internal temperature of pork reaches 155°F, about 10 minutes. Transfer tenderloin to cutting board and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. Return skillet to stove top.
- Add broth, vinegar, and cherries to skillet on medium-high heat, scraping up browned bits with rubber spatula. Mash cherries with fork and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Lower heat to medium, add butter and brown sugar, and swirl pan until well incorporated.
- To serve, slice warm tenderloin on diagonal, and top with sauce.
Recipe courtesy of www.recipezaar.com.
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