Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wine Society: Pistachio Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Port Reduction

Looking for an alternative to turkey this Thanksgiving?  Try this simple and elegant pork tenderloin recipe:

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There’s so much that I like about this dish.  First off, I love how we got sweet and savory, salty and crunchy, fresh and fried all on one plate.  And, I swoon over Daniela’s port sauce swirl; that girl has a way with a squirt bottle.  


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The polenta cake, which is coming in tomorrow’s blog ,was the perfect foil for the tenderloin and the Pomegranate Port reduction is just too divine.

I was in charge of sauces for this event.  By the time I got to this one, I’d destroyed three different dips for the crab cakes and was doing some deep breathing on the kitchen floor.  I’d cursed my way through Ina, Mr Napa Style and an aioli that blinded my taste buds with so much lime I couldn’t taste anything else for an hour.  Thoroughly fed up with recipes not working, I vowed to create my own port reduction that would be good and tasty and just right. I’ve credited chef Gutierrez but the genius is in the brown sugar and the pomegranate flavor, both my additions.  I’ll never make another port reduction recipe again.  This one is a keeper.

A word about the wine.  If you haven't been to the Victor Alexander tasting room then you’re missing out on some very nice wines and an even nicer wine maker.  This is Charlie Merrill’s first vintage and he’s on the right track.  The wine society attended the Islandwood wine dinner back in August and when the VA Sangiovese came along all sat up a bit straighter and paid some attention.  Much more sophisticated than any freshman has a right to be, the Sangiovese paired beautifully with this dish, not one bit intimidated by the sweet and savory, salty and crunchy, fresh and fried all on one plate. 

Stop in to 120 Madrone Lane, Suite 100 and enjoy the art, say hello to Charlie and taste some wine.  You’ll be glad you did.


Pistachio Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin, marinated.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 cup pistachios, finely chopped

About an hour before cooking, remove tenderloin from the fridge and let come to room temperature.   Before cooking rinse the meat under running water to remove any excess marinade.  (Most marinades contain some sugar and if you try to sear the meat without rinsing you’ll end up with black soot in your pan.)  Heat olive oil in a frying pan then sear the meat on all sides.  Save the pan for the Pomegranate Port Reduction.

Place meat on a broiler pan in a 450 degree oven and cook for five minutes then reduce to 280 degrees and cook until meat thermometer registers 170 degrees.  Remove from oven and tent with foil.  When the meat has rested for five minutes; coat with mustard then roll in chopped pistachios.  Slice and serve immediately.

Here’s a tutorial on coating the meat with pistachios:

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Pomegranate Port Reduction Sauce

Adapted from Master Chef José Gutierrez.

2 tablespoons butter, divided

½ cup onions or shallots

1 teaspoon flour

1 cup red wine

1 cup tawny port

1 teaspoon fresh thyme sprigs

¼ cup pomegranate seeds or 1 tsp pomegranate molasses

1 teaspoon brown sugar

In the sauté pan pork was cooked in, add 1 tbsp. butter, melt and cook onions until translucent. Add flour and cook over low heat for 4-5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the wines and bring to a boil. Flambé! The reason to flambé is to remove bitterness from wine. Add thyme and pomegranate seeds and simmer. When the sauce is the desired consistency (8-10 minutes) remove from heat and whisk in remaining tbsp. butter. Strain, making sure to press the onion-seed mixture to get every last drop.

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