Thursday, March 08, 2007

Gingery Pork Tenderloin with Riesling Plum Sauce

In a classic example of the dangers of buying in bulk, I ended up with far more ripe black plums that I could eat this week. Since I can be greedy when it comes to fresh produce and because I hadn’t laid eyes on appetizing plums in several months, this came as no great shock.

Luckily, my greed is balanced by my determination not to be wasteful. The result was gingery pork tenderloin with Riesling-plum sauce, and it helped me mow through half of the plum bounty. I don’t buy pork tenderloin very often which is silly. It’s very healthy (although I wouldn’t mind if the meat was little fattier) and incredibly easy to cook. We always find it in packs of two that weigh about two pounds total, so we cook once and get a couple of meals with leftovers. In the past, we have even used totally different seasonings for each piece of tenderloin so we could have, say, spicy Cajun pork one night and garlic-rosemary pork another.

The plum sauce is open to interpretation, and if you don’t have a dry Riesling (which is a really good match for pork), use another white wine, switch it to red, or just use water as your liquid. I do not usually like to sacrifice too much good wine to a recipe, but in this case, it added notable flavor and complexity to my lightly sweetened plums.

A Quick Word on Butter
I know I don’t get into social consciousness-raising very often on this blog, but yesterday’s article in the New York Times titled, Trans Fat Fight Claims Butter As Victim, had me up in arms. Here’s a summary: butter, an essential ingredient that has no suitable replacement in many foods (like croissants) is, in fact, being replaced by trans fat free margarine (a fake food) and other dicey alternatives by companies (like Starbucks) who want to be able to say that their products are trans fat free. Butter, as well as milk and beef, contains a form of trans fat that occurs naturally in these foods (whether they are organic or not) and is different from the industrially derived, partially hydrogenated type.

In short, they are abandoning reason and throwing the baby out with the bath water by replacing butter with something entirely less wholesome. I encourage you to read the full article and come to your own conclusion on the issue. I’m off to email Starbucks and state my preference for eating scones and croissants made with real butter and milk. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Gingery Pork Tenderloin with Riesling Plum Sauce
Adapted from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2005
If plums have not yet made it to your neck of the woods, you could do the same preparation with apples or pears.

Serves 4-6

2 ½ tbs. olive oil, divided
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced, divided
salt and black pepper to taste
2 lb. pork tenderloin (usually sold in a package of two 1-lb. pieces)
2-3 tbs. chopped shallots
5-6 medium plums, pitted and chopped
2 tbs. brown sugar
½ c. dry Riesling or other white wine
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
½ tbs. unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cover a baking sheet with foil. Add half a tablespoon of the olive oil to a large skillet and heat to high. Rub the pork tenderloins with 1 tbs. of oil and all but 1 tbs. of the ginger. Season with salt and pepper. Sear the pork tenderloin in the skillet, turning until all sides are browned. Transfer the tenderloins to the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the internal temperature is 155 degrees (slightly pink), or until done to your liking. Remove from oven, tent with foil and let the meat rest until you are ready to serve.

After you remove the pork from the skillet, switch the heat to medium, and add the remaining oil and the shallots. Cook until softened and slightly golden. Add the ginger and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Add the plums, season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 12-15 minutes, or until the plums are very soft. Add the brown sugar and stir to combine. Add the wine and the vinegar and simmer until reduced and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the butter and remove from heat.

Cut the pork on an angle into half-inch slices. Top with the plum sauce and serve.

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Peabody said...

Real butter is the only way to go!

Lis said...

Starbucks has lost their minds. Talk about kissing ass - they are so afraid of losing business that they're prepared to offer food that is going to taste bad. Huh.. seems like that would loose a lil business too, eh?

The pork tenderloin recipe looks fantastic. I adore fruit and pork. As per usual - you've given me another must try recipe! :D

Julie said...

Peabody: I should have known the baking queen would agree with me:)
Lis: totally losing their minds...sacrificing quality for a food fad and political correctness (not consumer health!) is just dumb.