This blog, and the people who run it (really just me and the voices) work on the assumption that you do indeed know how to cook. You're past the point of googling how to roast a chicken, saute some onions and/or boil water. We also work on the assumption that you're also past the point of thinking it's okay to use Hamburger Helper, canned vegetables and/or Velveeta in your cooking.
So, I figured you'd enjoy something a bit fancy after all the recent chicken posts.
Pork tenderloin is basically a fantastically versatile tube of lean, porky goodness. Simply roasted with salt/pepper/olive oil, it's semi-healthy. Given a bit more time/effort/ingredients, it can be a conveyor of all manner of sluttiness.
And WTF, exactly, is a gastrique? It's a fancy sweet-and-sour sauce, a reduction of vinegar and sugar that can be flavored with anything you'd like. It cuts the fattiness of slutty meats and adds a new dimension of flavor.
The dish you see above (and below as it's just too pretty not to show at different angles, right?) is what we had for dinner last night.
Most of it is pretty easy, but the gastrique is going to be a bit tricky, and you'll need one of those thermometers that clips onto the side of your saucepan. Seriously. Don't do this without one.
Slutty Rosemary Pork Tenderloin
with Fig Gastrique and Roquefort
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 1/2 pounds
2 tablespoons freshly chopped rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped dried figs
2 or 3 tablespoons crumbled Roquefort (you can use plain old blue cheese, but I like Roquefort because it's creamy and extra stinky)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Pour the olive oil down the center and sprinkle with the rosemary, salt and pepper. Roll the tenderloin in it, coating evenly. Pop that sucker in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes (you're going to cook it for a total of 30, so the timer is just to remind you to flip it over halfway through). You'll want it to come to 140/145 degrees. Any higher than that and you might as well toss it in the garbage.
While the pork roasts, make the gastrique. Add the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and stir for about a minute. You want the sugar to be as incorporated and dissolved into the vinegar as possible, but it won't fully dissolve due to the liquid/solid ratio. Add the chopped figs and stir to mix. Clip on your thermometer and turn your burner as hot as it'll get. You'll not only bring this mixture to a boil (no need to stir during), but you'll keep it at a sustained boil until the thermometer has reached 220-225 degrees, at which point you'll immediately (and carefully) remove it from the heat and pour into a heatproof bowl to cool down. The temperature you're bringing it to is the 'syrup stage' and it's essential that you do so otherwise you'll end up with a weird liquid (not hot enough) or fudge (too hot).
When the pork is done, let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing, then slice, drizzle with gastrique and sprinkle with the Roquefort. Yes, it tastes as ridiculous as it sounds.