Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pork, pork and more pork: fennel rubbed-pork tenderloin with fig sauce & pork chops a la Vera

Today I am posting what I had originally planned to post about yesterday, before being sidetracked by chocolate and butter and the way those brownies just melt in your mouth...I wish I had just one teeny one left to nibble on right now...oops, there I go again...sorry.


Today's post is about meat, more precisely pork tenderloin.

Rewind again.

Remember the Sunday family lunch I wrote about the other day? Well, I knew exactly what I didn't want to make as a main course: no roasts, too obvious (mother-in-law territory). No chicken, made that last time my mother-in-law stayed with us. No foreign recipes (for those of you who didn't read that post, it is not that we don't like foreign food. I just always end up making it for F's family in the effort to prepare something different). No fish (we all just spent a lovely vacation on the island of Elba and had tons of fish). It had to be tasty, simple, yet not obvious. It needed a special touch. Wait... September = figs. Figs = prosciutto. Prosciutto = pork! That's it!

I was excited. I bought the pork tenderloin. I bought fig jam. Then I went to get figs, except, believe it or not, no figs at the market. In September! 

I decided to make it anyway, my ingredients were bought. But I do suggest, if making this dish in fig season, to caramelize some figs and serve them with meat. Unless you are planning to actually make the whole sauce with caramelized figs, which would be even better. I am posting my quick version of the recipe because that is what this blog is all about: making something good and fast (and by fast I mean the time it takes your toddler to get bored of the toy you stuck in his hands in an effort to distract him for a little).

6 pork tenderloin steaks
1-2 tbsp fennel seeds
2-3 tbsp fig jam
olive oil
1/3 cup stock

Grind the fennel seeds in a mortar and rub over the steaks. Fennel seeds and pork is a match made in heaven, so don't be shy about quantities. Heat some butter and a little olive oil in a pan. When the pan is very hot, put in your steaks. When they get nice and brown, flip them over and sprinkle them with salt. When that side is brown, turn again and sprinkle the other side with salt and pepper. When you are sure they are cooked through, but not dry, set them aside. Add a little butter to the pan if needed and sprinkle in a little flour. Start mixing on a medium-low flame with a whisk, allowing the flour to soak up all the caramelized juices from the meat. Add in a little stock (I had some vegetable stock left over from my risotto, but you could also use any other stock or wine) and keep mixing until it thickens, making sure to get rid of the lumps. Add the fig jam and mix vigorously. If it thickens too much, add a little more stock. Taste for salt. Put the individual steaks on plates and pour over the fig sauce.

This turned out to be even better than I expected. Caramelized figs would have made it sublime. It makes a delicious, original meal and is inexpensive. A perfect dinner party idea. Come to think of it, the next time I make this I will try roasting a whole pork filet!

Ooops...sorry, forgot to take the picture!

Are you ready for more pork? Here is another idea for a quick week night meal.

Pork chops with Pimenton de la Vera rub and stir fry snow peas

Ingredients for pork chop
3 pork chops
11/2 tsp Pimenton de la Vera
1 1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients for stir fry
snow peas
ginger, a knob
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced 
sesame oil
peanut oil
soy sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Flatten pork chops with a flat meat mallet and rub them with Pimenton de la Vera (the fabulous spicy, smoked paprika from Spain) and salt. Then grill them on a very hot grilling pan (or an outdoor grill, lucky you!) until they are cooked through but still juicy. Let rest while you prepare your stir fry.

Toast the sesame seeds in a pan. Pour the peanut oil and a little sesame oil in a hot wok and quickly add in the garlic (which you could also chop of course) and the ginger (which you will have previously peeled and grated). Throw in the snow peas and stir for about a minute. Then add in the sesame seads and a dash of soy sauce. The snow peas should stay nice and crunchy.


  1. I happen to have fresh figs in the fridge and some fig jam in the pantry, that my mother in law gave to me. Voila, I think dinner is set for tonight. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  2. Gosh, I LOVE pork tenderloin and how it marries so well with surprising sweet flavors. And I also adore figs. I think this recipe is made for me! >__<

  3. My Kitchen in the Rockies - Any time!
    Sophia - thanks for visiting. Am going to look at your blog right now.


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