Weeknight Cooking: Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Cherry Sauce

While typing up yesterday’s post about adventures in food, I did a quick internet search on Ellie Krieger so I could properly link her and her cookbook. During my search, I came across her listing of recipes on the Food Network website. Since I had not yet made any of her recipes, I was curious about her recipe ratings and did a quick scan down the page to see how she fared. My attention was drawn, not only to her many 5 star reviews, but to her Pork Medallions with Balsamic Cherry Sauce.

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Photo courtesy of Food Network

I’ve never cooked pork before and I don’t like cherries, so I don’t know why I suddenly wanted to make this dish. Maybe I was just so caught up in my speech about a culinary adventure that I decided to do it. Who knows? I ran to the store after work and picked up a few ingredients, and started cooking as soon as I got home.

A mere 15 minutes later (that includes prep time), I had Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Cherry Sauce. Because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, I also made some garlic smashed potatoes on the side. Looking back, that was very heavy and I should have paired the pork with a risotto instead.

The pork was delicious.

Pork Medallions with Cherry Sauce

1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/2-inch thick medallions
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dried tart cherries

This main course took me all of 15 minutes to put together – and that includes the prep time. No, I am not exaggerating.

I’ve never cooked pork before so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to the store. Would I have to cut it into a pretty shape to get the medallions? Stupid city slicker that I am, I really didn’t even know what I was buying. According to my vast research (wikipedia):

Pork tenderloin refers to the Psoas major muscle along the central spine portion, which more or less hangs between the shoulder blade and hip socket. This muscle tissue does very little work, so it is the most tender part of the animal.

Sounds good! Sign me up for some of that.

Okay. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Take your tenderloin out of the package and cut it into 1/2 inch thick medallions. Season the meat with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Place them in the frying pan and cook the meat “until there is just a slight blush in the center about 3 minutes per side.” Because I had never cooked with pork before, I set my timer and cooked 3 minutes on each side and it came out beautifully.

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Remove them from the frying pan and set on a plate. Tent the plate with foil.

Now for the cherry balsamic sauce. I am not a big cherry fan and, although the recipe calls for “dried tart cherries” all I could find were bags of dried sweet. In my mind, they’re tart regardless of what the package says, hence why they aren’t my favorite. However, in my mind I figured balsamic and cherries were probably a great combo, so I was willing to give it a go.

Add the remaining teaspoon of oil and shallots to the frying pan and saute until the shallots begin to soften, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the cherries and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes.

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Becomes…

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The recipe says to season with salt and pepper to taste, but I honestly thought it had enough flavor. Add the sauce to the pork medallions and serve.

You’ll have to forgive my (yet another) blurry picture and ignore that blob of smashed potatoes that really doesn’t belong on the plate. The pork was delicious and, even though I’m not a fan of cherries, the sauce delivers.

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I am in love with this dish! It has everything I could ask for: Fast, not messy to cook, nutritious, and absolutely delicious. I just wish I had a nice glass of wine to go with it. Next time I will probably put some risotto on the side — hey, if we get lucky, maybe Citizen Chef will review his amazing risotto for us…

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