**Disclaimer: Sam had absolutely nothing to do with the abominable photo above. Sam was not on hand to take a photo when Jake made this dish, so Jake took matters into her own hands. And while we’re on the subject of abominable, Sam does not at all like prunes with her pork. Or prunes with anything, for that matter.**
Pork Tenderloin with Prunes and Cream
Please don’t be put off by the thought of prunes. This is a really sumptuous dish, rich in flavor and appearance, and a breeze to make. It’s from the area around Tours in France, renowned for its luscious prunes, although I find those from California to be equally delicious. Pork tenderloin is the filet mignon of pork – not to be confused with pork loin – and is tender, cheap and low in calories. I always have a few of them in the freezer ready to pull out to marinate for the barbeque or to turn into this dish, perfect for a special dinner. I recommend that, at least the first time, you make the dish for just two. If you make it for 4 or 6 you may need to brown the meat in two skillets, and it gets a bit tricky. Its one drawback is what to serve with it as it’s pretty rich and pasta or rice just don’t do it. I usually settle for mashed potatoes although couscous is a good alternative.
8 pitted prunes, cut in half
1 cup white wine (a chenin blanc or dry riesling would be best)
1 teaspoon each butter and vegetable oil
1 pork tenderloin, weighing about 12 oz.
1 teaspoon currant jelly (optional)
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or whipping cream
Soak the prunes in the wine for at least 3 hours or overnight. Trim the tenderloin of any fat or membrane and cut it into 1/2″- 3/4″ rounds – you should have 10-12. Season with salt and sprinkle with flour (or shake them gently in a tablespoon of flour mixed with a teaspoon of salt in a plastic bag). Have all your ingredients close at hand as the whole cooking operation takes about five minutes.
Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet until beginning to brown. Add the pork in one layer and cook until browned – no more than 2 minutes – then flip over and repeat on the other side. Immediately remove the pork to a warm plate. Add the prunes and their wine to the pan, let it bubble and reduce a little, add the currant jelly if you have it and then the cream. As soon as it has thickened, put the pork back in, turn the heat down and let it all cook together for about another minute. The sauce should be a lovely coffee-cream color. Serve immediately.