Pork, without a doubt, is one of the most popular meats in the world, making gains by leaps and bounds every year. More than 100 million metric tons are consumed yearly around the globe.
But before the 20th century, pork in Europe and North America was traditionally a fall dish. The reason was simple: Pigs and other livestock were slaughtered in the autumn after growing in the spring and fattening during the summer.
Still, a lot of people around here buy their pork in the fall to stock up for winter. And that’s exactly what we are doing this year.
Within a couple of weeks, we and some friends of ours will be splitting a pig. It’s at the butcher’s right now, where it will be cut up, smoked (bacon and hams) and wrapped.
I can hardly wait until we get our share. One of the first meals I’m going to fix is a tendeloin that cooked in a wine-shallot sauce. And the shallots will be right from our garden, the best ones we’ve ever grown.
Shallots are member of the onion family and thought to have originated in China about 2000 B.C. They often used in salad dressings stir-fries and sauces to add flavor and are low in calories and fat-free.
Nutritionally, they contain flavonoids, a type of antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables that helps protect the body and may reduce the risk of developing cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Plus, 1 tablespoon of chopped shallots is high in potassium, vitamin A and folate.
Here’s the recipe I’m going to try. It’s very elegant but quick and easy enough to prepare for a weeknight meal.
Pork Tenderloin with Wine-Shallot Sauce
2 pork tenderloins (about 1 pound each)
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaf
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
4 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup merlot or 1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon chicken stock powder or 1 tablespoon chicken soup base (a concentrated reduced chicken broth can be substituted)
2 tablespoons cherry preserves or 2 tablespoons blackberry preserves
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Coat pork with 1½ teaspoons olive oil; rub with rosemary, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Heat a heavy, ovenproof skillet over high heat.
Cook pork, turning often, until lightly browned on all sides, 5 minutes.
Transfer skillet and pork to oven; roast until thermometer reads 150 degrees, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer cooked pork to a platter; keep warm.
Add remaining 1½ teaspoons oil to same skillet. Heat over medium heat.
Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
Add wine; cook over high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium.
Stir in stock concentrate and preserves. Add remaining ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper; adjust seasoning if necessary. Whisk in butter.
Pour into a serving bowl. Slice pork into ¼-inch slices and serve with sauce.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 426 calories, 26 percent of calories from fat, 12.3 grams fat (3.4 grams saturated), 164 milligrams cholesterol, 448 milligrams sodium, 12 grams carbohydrates, less than 1 gram dietary fiber, 5 grams sugar, 53 grams protein.