Pork tenderloin with caramelized pears and pear-brandy cream sauce

I’d forgotten that pears are a fall fruit, until I started noticing them cropping up at the supermarket. I remembered how delicious poached pears are, and wondered, given our experimentation with fruit + meat combinations in the summer, if it would similarly translate into a tasty meat combination. Thankfully, Epicurious provided several options involving pears and pork for me to choose from, and I couldn’t resist trying out one involving caramelized pears, brandy and cream.

Recipe

adapted from Epicurious.com
Serves 2 

1-1/4 lb pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into 1″ thick slices
3 tbsp butter
2 ripe pears, peeled, quartered and cored
1-1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup chopped onions
4 thyme sprigs, finely chopped
2 tbsp brandy
1/3 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup pear juice

Melt 1-1/2 tbsp butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add pears and sugar; sauté until pears are tender and deep golden, about 8 mintes. In another skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter over high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper and sauté until just cooked through. Transfer to plate and cover. Melt 1/2 tbsp butter in same skillet, add onions and thyme and sauté for a few minutes. Add brandy; boil until reduced to glaze, scraping up any browned bits, about 2 minutes. Add cream and pear juice; boil until thickened to sauce consistency. Season to taste. Reheat pears if necessary. Pour sauce over pork and pears and serve.

Musings

A few notes on preparation: The original recipe called for pear nectar. We, however, couldn’t find any, so drained the pear juice out of canned pears (which had been canned in pear juice, not water). Furthermore, it also called for pear eau-de-vie (clear pear brandy) or pear schnapps. We just used straight brandy.

It had been a little while since we’d broken out tenderloin, so we’d forgotten just how tender and delicious it can be. The caramelized pears were tender and sweet, and made a succulent addition to the already succulent pork. The sauce, while not as creamy as I was expecting (though that may have come from David not using as much cream as the recipe specified), had just the right amount of sweetness. The combination of mashed potato, pear and pork was certainly a delicious one.

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