Monday, March 2, 2009
Pork Medallions with Wine Sauce and Toasted Almonds
A little over a year ago I attended a dinner party at the home of my friend Lindsay. This was the first dinner of many for our dinner group but still I haven't forgotten that dish. I haven't cooked pork that often and before today I only made a pork tenderloin one time. Problem is my boyfriend "The Boss" thinks that he doesn't like pork. Funny because he eats Ham, Prosciutto, Pancetta and bacon. "I don't eat white pork" he claims. His reason...it's too dry and flavorless. Well, when I tasted this dish at Lindsay's house I knew it was one I would have to try. I put it in the vault for the day that I become brazen enough to cook something that I very well know my honey won't eat. Ha ha! Well, let's say that I feel like I've earned the right to make foods that I like and he only semi likes or doesn't like. Relationships are about compromise, right? So tonight I went into the vault and pulled out Lindsay's recipe. It came from Food and Wine magazine and I'm not sure if she followed the recipe completely but I will give it to you in it's original form. The changes I made are very slight and only because I don't believe in running out to the store for silly little items that aren't (in my opinion) going to make a world of difference.
Here are my changes.
The recipe called for Riesling...too bad The Dinner Divas just drank the last bottle of Riesling on Saturday night, so I used Chardonnay instead. The recipe stated golden raisins and I have TWO boxes of regular (regular? not sure what else to call them) raisins so I'm not buying another box until at least one gets used up, of course, I used those. Lastly, I was supposed to use fresh thyme. I always have some fresh herbs on hand but this week thyme isn't one of them so I used dried and used about half of what the recipe called for. Dried herbs are much stronger than fresh, especially thyme. It could ruin a recipe if you overdo it. Hmm...guess what? I just took another look at the recipe and it doesn't specify if it's fresh or dried. It says "chopped thyme" I assumed that meant fresh but it may not. Sorry, I'm rambling. Just use half of the thyme, taste it and add more to your taste. That makes sense, right? One last thing. The recipe states that the pork only needs to be cooked for 4 minutes when browning and then an extra minute in the sauce. This is not enough. Unless I misread the recipe or it just isn't clear, it needs longer. I cooked it in the sauce for about 5 minutes but it still could have been cooked longer. I understand that pork can be pink in the middle but some of the pieces looked dark pink, like medium rare steak. So, just cook it a little longer to be safe.
Before I show you the recipe I want to tell you what I served with it. I followed Lindsay's lead and made yummy creamy mashed potatoes which tasted delicious with the wonderful gravy on it. I also made some french string beans because you have to have your greens in there, especially since this recipe has plenty of butter in it.
Oh and in case you're wondering what The Boss though of it...he actually enjoyed it! So pork may be showing up on the menu more often. Great things can happen when you take a chance!
Pork with Sweet Riesling Sauce and Toasted Almonds
Recipe by Bruce Aidells
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch-thick medallions
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup late-harvest Riesling
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/3 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1. In a small skillet, toast the slivered almonds over moderately high heat, tossing occasionally, until they are golden, about 2 minutes; let cool.
2. Season the pork medallions with salt and pepper, then coat in the flour. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil. Add the medallions and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned on both sides and just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
3. Add the onion to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until softened and just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the Riesling, stock, raisins, vinegar and thyme and bring to a boil. Cook over high heat, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid has reduced slightly, about 2 minutes.
4. Return the meat to the skillet and simmer until hot, about 1 minute. Transfer to a platter. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter to the sauce and cook over moderate heat, swirling, just until the butter is melted. Pour the sauce over the pork, garnish with the toasted almonds and serve.