Pork Tenderloin In A Port-Prune Sauce

Pork Tenderloin In A Port-Prune Sauce

serves 6

When I stayed at the quaint Refugio da Vila, in the tiny town of Portel, I made sure to sign up for their cooking classes. They were held in the airy cozinha de matanca, or butchering kitchen, where, in years past, livestock went after meeting their maker. This was our first dish of the day. Plums are a specialty of the area, so naturally prunes aka dried plums, were on the menu.

2/3 cup pitted prunes (about 15)
1 cup ruby port
1/2 cup beef stock or store bought low sodium broth, or more if needed
A 1 inch thumb of ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Two 1 pound pork tenderloins, fat and silver skin removed
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and crank up the heat to 450°F.

2. Dump the prunes into a small saucepan, add the port, beef stock, ginger, and honey, and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let steep for 20 minutes.

3. Pour the prunes and liquid into a blender or food processor and buzz until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Season both tenderloins well with salt and pepper and sear one at a time, turning occasionally, until brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and set the skillet aside.

5. Roast the pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the meat registers just under 150°F, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the tenderloins to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.

6. Pour off all but a thin film of fat from the skillet. Lower the heat to medium, toss in the garlic, and cook until lightly colored, about 2 minutes. Add the port-prune sauce and stir to pick up the browned bits stuck to the skillet. Pour in the vinegar, and any accumulated juices from the pork, and cook to meld the flavors, 2 to 3 minutes. If the sauce seems thick, add more beef stock. For an elegant take, strain the sauce through a sieve.

7. Cut the tenderloins on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Divide the slices among six plates, drizzle with the warm sauce, and sprinkle with cilantro.

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