Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vanilla Cider Pork with Pears-- Pear-fection!

I love pork tenderloin. Indeed, it is the "other white meat".  Now that I think of it, it's been ages since I've made pork chops!  We just love the tender bites of meat, and pork tenderloin is as versatile to cook with as chicken.

I recently spotted this recipe on the Noble Pig, and I decided that this is how I would prepare the pork tenderloin that I had to either freeze or use-- like now!  I made this tonight, actually.  Dinner was on the table in one hour-- maybe a little more time than I like to spend. But, I had a special guest--my son.  Plus, I decided to make my fluffy garlic mashed potatoes and some wilted fresh spinach in a little garlic-infused oil so I had to add 15 minutes extra time to get those two side dishes going.

TIP: My secret to fluffy potatoes are that I use a food mill and I use a little cream cheese, some heavy cream and a little buttermilk.  I also toss garlic cloves into the water, when I boil the potatoes. Yes, they're high caloric. But, my husband and son are both lean and don't gain weight. It's not fair, but they love these spuds!

The only ingredient that I did not have, for the original recipes,  was hard apple cider.  I did have bottle of pure apple juice, that I buy at Trader Joe's.   I had pears in the fridge. They weren't Bosc pears, but red pears.  They were still firm to the touch, so I peeled them, cored them with a melon baller...

Pork tenderloin comes two to a package. I used only one tenderloin, and froze the other one.
I cut the tenderloin into 2" thick slices, then covered them with plastic wrap. Using a wide meat mallet, I gave them a whack to flatten them a bit-- not super thin.. mabe 1/4".  You can use a heavy skillet to do this-- or, you and just cut them thin.

I like to season my flour with kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper.

Dredge the medallions in the seasoned flour and set aside.

In a 12" skillet (not nonstick) melt some unsalted butter-- about 2 Tablespoons.

On a medium-high heat, you want to cook the pears until golden brown-- 5 minutes or so...

These are just about perfect.  Remove from the pan and set aside. (I put mine in a warm oven.)

In the same pan, I added just a little olive oil (I never use extra-virgin olive oil for searing).  On medium-high, cook the medallions for 2-3 minutes per side. You want them to be golden.  See all that brown stuff? That's flavor, baby! Remove them from the pan, and set them with the pears, in a warm oven.

For the sauce: here's where I diverted from the recipe a little bit. I splashed a little white wine (sauvignon blanc) into the skillet.  (If you have hard cider, go for it!)   You want to hear that chhhhhhhhhhhh sound, as the liquid hits the hot pan. That loosens up all that flavor. Next, I added apple cider-- about 1/2 cup and used  a spatula to loosen up everything. Then, I added heavy cream.  I love heavy cream. I can't help myself. It's just so good, and nothing comes close to it.  I wish there was such a thing as non-fat heavy cream but there isn't. So, I just roll with it and pace how often I cook it. There, I dumped the guilt from my soul.  Let this boil, for about 5 minutes. You want it to reduce.  Now, here's another thing I changed. The recipes calls for a vanilla bean. They're expensive and I'm stingy about using them. If you can get your hands on vanilla bean paste, it's perfect for something like this. I hoarded a supply of it from Trader Joe's. I haven't seen it in over a year. If you ever spot it, grab it. Otherwise, I found it on Amazon.  So, I added about 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla bean paste. Whisk it and then season with kosher salt, if needed. Mine needed it.

Return the medallions and the juices back into the sauce, with the heat on medium high. Now add the pears back in.

Here's my son's plate of food. He was so happy to have a home-cooked meal. Whoops! I forgot to add the sauce!

C'mon, how scrumptious do those pears look?

See the vanilla bean seeds? The pork was tender, and just a little pink inside.

A bite of fluffy garlic mashed potatoes, a bite of caramelized pear, a bite of pork all dipped into the sauce... I can tell you that this is definitely worthy of a repeat "pear-formance". Bada-bing, bada-boom!
Seriously, this is good eats.   I hope that you try it, too. The vanilla really gives the pan sauce a special touch.  Honestly, my son seriously licked the plate clean. There are no leftovers!

This makes a mom very happy!

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Smita Srivastava said...

Dear Debby

Came across ur blog few weeks ago . And since then i have been regularly checking ur blog for the wonderful recipes . Must appreciate all the hard work n creativity u put into ur blog .
BTW i have something for u in my food art blog . Pl feel free to drop by n pick it up..

Warm Regards
Smita Srivastava
@ Little Food Junction ( Food ideas for picky lil eaters )

Debinhawaii said...

What a perfect--or pearfect ;-) fall dish. My mouth is watering!

Donna-FFW said...

Cathy is wonderful, she has awesome stuff. I enjoyed your adaptations as vanilla beans I am stingy with too. On my list, yet another of your goodies.

Velva said...

Oh my! This does look good. You know a dish is good when there are no leftovers and your son licks the plate! This would be a very nice for entertaining.

I have bookmarked this recipe!

George Gaston said...

Debby, the sautéed pears are an excellent accompaniment to your pork. And the sauce sounds amazing. Thanks

Mary said...

What a glorious meal. Your son's plate not only made me hungry, it made me envious.

Jen_from_NJ said...

I love pork tenderloin. It is so versatile and delicious. I've made it with various fruits but never pears. It looks delicious! I love the sides as well!

Cheryl said...

Oh my gawd, that looks sooo amazing, wow I have to make it!

Kim said...

This is such a beautiful dish! Isn't it nice when everyone enjoys a recipe that much? I have been looking for hard cider for awhile now and haven't been able to find it. I could think of so many ways to use it.

Isabelle said...

That looks so delicious!
Love the addition of vanilla bean!
And beautiful step-by-step pictures.

ARLENE said...

Love, love, love this recipe. I prefer pork loin to any other cut and always have a few lurking in my freezer. Glad to have found your blog.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

This is gorgeous! I have done port with apples, but the idea of sauteed pears is inspired!

TKW said...

I know I say this ALL the time, but my father would go nuts for your cooking!

Muneeba said...

Whoa ... restaurant quality stuff, this is .. so chic, Deb!!

Fleur said...

Hi Debby, I just found your blog. I want to try this for dinner tomorrow night and I was wondering if I could use vanilla extract instead of vanilla paste. I already have a bottle of extract therefore would prefer to use it. Thank you from Australia.

Debby Foodiewife said...

By all means, use vanilla extra. But, I'd use less. Start with 1/4 tsp and slowly increase to your liking. You want a subtle vanilla taste that doesn't overpower the savory part of the sauce. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Debby, we had it for dinner tonight and it was enjoyed by all. The only thing I'll change is the amount of pepper I used because my children complained that I used too much. I used rice cream instead of the heavy cream because my oldest is lactose/dairy intolerant, it was still delicious. Thank you for a fantastic recipe. Fleur :)