JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Pork tenderloin with prunes

Here's a quick and delicious dinner, not too expensive either. It uses a whole tenderloin, something which is rarely seen in supermarkets, as they like to cut it up into what they call medallions. It is occasionally to be found in Waitrose, but it's more reliable to go to the butcher, where, if they're any good at all, they'll greet you like a long-lost friend after only a couple of visits.

for 3-4
one pork tenderloin
one or two onions
no-soak prunes (I used Agen)
some bacon lardons*

Start by making a marinade for the pork: put two or three cloves of garlic, a handful of sage and a little salt into a mortar and pestle them into a paste. Then add some olive oil. Smear this mess over the tenderloin, and leave it as long as you can. This is something you could do in the morning to speed things up in the evening, or you could fling the whole dish together at the last minute, giving the meat only a few minutes to soak up the flavourings.

Slice one large or two medium onions into big chunks. Put them in a roasting dish (I used a French oval earthenware one, but I can't think of any reason not to use a metal roasting pan, except that the timings will probably be quicker). Fry some lardons of bacon until brown and mix them with the onions. Add a handful or two of no-soak prunes, and a little liquid - I used Madeira, but I could just as easily have used table wine, stock, or water. Put this into a hot oven, 200C, for 10-15 minutes, by which time the onion should be beginning to soften. Add the tenderloin and all its marinade, cover with tinfoil or dampened greaseproof paper, and put back into the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the covering to cook and brown for a further 15 minutes. Then rest the meat for a few minutes before carving.

We ate this with little roasted potatoes and a huge green salad.

* You can buy little boxes of prosciutto chunks in supermarkets, but I hate all that plastic waste and, anyway, the pieces are too small to be much use. I have recently solved this by buying a small but whole piece of bacon from the butcher (you can find it in a supermarket too, labelled as gammon joints). You can then cut thick slices to make large-ish cubes for soup, pasta sauces etc. Much nicer and no trouble - I can't think why we've allowed supermarkets to teach us that tiny cooking chores are such a huge problem only they can solve. Rant over - but do try it.


Abitofafoodie said...

This sounds really good. I've eaten this dish in restaurants before now but never tried it at home. You make it sound quicker an easier than I imagined so I now have no excuses!

Anonymous said...

Pork tenderloin - love it and get it regualarly at my farm shop. Try a lazy way - prick say five or six times along its length and insert a slice of garlic and a sprig of fresh rosemary in each prick. Into a roasting tin/pyrex and roast.

For a prune sauce - about 8 prunes,stoned and quartered, sherry vinegar and water say about cup and a half, sugar to taste, bring to boil turn down very low, add a clove of garlic and simmer until prunes soften and sauce gets a bit thicker. Delicious!

Cottage Smallholder said...

We eat pork tenderloin as a treat. The combination of prunes and pork sound wonderful. Thanks for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

I agree with antonia - this sounds very good and achievable! I like recipes that make me feel I can attempt them without a shopping list the size of my arm!