Fall is the perfect time of year to begin roasting meats again, and a great way to enliven a dish is with fruit. Plums are some of the tastiest, most resilient fruits that can withstand high heat. Firm and juicy, plums retain their texture and form even during roasting, making them a wonderful partner in this sauce. Emboldened with Tawny Port and brightened with a splash of fruity Black Cherry Balsamic vinegar, the dish comes together quickly without too much effort.
Pork Tenderloin with Plums and Balsamic Vinegar Recipe
3-4 medium firm plums, halved, pitted and each cut into 6 pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 T cornstarch
1 pork tenderloin, rinsed and patted dry
4 T grape seed oil, divided
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1/4 cup tawny port
Note: Port is an aged wine made from a blend of Portuguese grapes. Of the two types (red and tawny), tawny is aged in wooden casks and is ready to drink once released. Fruity and vital, tawny ports are generally less expensive than ruby ports, and a touch of their rich, spicy sweetness adds complexity to a sauce.
3 sprigs thyme
2 T Black Cherry Balsamic vinegar
Note: Sweet, fragrant and full-bodied, Rocky Mountain Olive Oil Company’s Black Cherry Balsamic vinegar is the perfect compliment to roast pork and plums. It’ll up the flavor intensity.
1 cup water
1 T unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
Combine sugar and cornstarch in medium bowl. Add plums and sprinkle with lemon juice. Toss gently and let macerate for 30 minutes, or until a liquid develops.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Salt and pepper pork tenderloin.
Warm 2 T grape seed oil in heavy, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork to skillet and brown on all sides, about 8-10 minutes total. Remove pork to clean plate.
Add remaining 2 T grape seed oil to skillet. Sauté onions until medium brown but still tender and not crisped, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add port to skillet and deglaze, until port has evaporated.
Add plums with juice and thyme sprigs to skillet, stirring to combine. Return pork to skillet and nestle amongst onions and plums. Place skillet, uncovered, in oven. Roast for 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 145°F when measured with a meat thermometer.
Remove skillet from oven. Be careful! It will be hot! Remove pork to clean plate and let rest while finishing sauce.
Add 2 T Black Cherry Balsamic vinegar and water to skillet. Bring to boil and lower heat so sauce is simmering. Reduce sauce until it is thickened enough to leave a track on the back of a spoon. Remove thyme sprigs.
Remove sauce from heat and stir in butter, continuing to stir until it’s melted. Salt and pepper sauce to taste.
Slice pork tenderloin into 1/2 inch pieces. Place servings on plate and accessorize with plum balsamic vinegar sauce.
Serve with oven-roasted potatoes and a fresh, steamed vegetable.
Feeding the Famished partners with wine educator Stephanie Davis for wine pairing ideas for the recipes. Stephanie’s knee-jerk reaction was to suggest a Merlot, but on second thought (which, as you know, is always a good idea) went with a trusty, loyal American red grape, Zinfandel. She says it’s comparable to a Labrador Retriever. She also says that, while there are oodles to choose from at every price point, for a Wednesday night dinner that’s delicious and not fussy, go for Cline Cellars Zinfandel. Smooth and spicy, it’ll fill your palate with dark fruit flavors. ($14)
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.
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