For Christmas, I gave what I thought to be a very fitting recipe book to David, namely Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey by Southern chef John Currence. It features three “food groups” that I believe he holds very close to his heart. This was our first attempt at a recipe from it, which combined several things I too enjoy, including honey, mustard, pork and apple cider.
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb each)
salt and freshly ground pepper
¾ cup Dijon mustard
½ cup grainy mustard
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
¼ cup grated shallots
2 tsp minced garlic
4 cups panko bread crumbs
5 tbsp clarified unsalted butter
3 tbsp dark chicken stock
¼ cup fresh apple cider
1½ tsp sugar
3 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
Sprinkle each pork tenderloin with about 2 tsp each of salt and black pepper. Place, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to cook. In a medium bowl, blend together both mustards, honey, 2 tbsp rosemary, 2 tbsp shallots and the garlic until well combined. Rub the mustard mixture evenly all over the tenderloins, and then dredge them lightly in the bread crumbs, knocking off as much excess as you can.
In a large, ovenproof sauté pan, briefly heat 3 tbsp of clarified butter over medium heat, about 45 seconds. Gently place tenderloins in the pan and brown on all sides. Place the pan in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes, until the tenderloins reach an internal temperature of about 135 F. Remove tenderloins from the pan and set aside on a cutting board to rest for 3-5 minutes.
Return the sauté pan to the stovetop over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tbsp clarified butter and remaining shallots and sauté until transparent. Add the stock, cider, sugar and remaining 2 tsp rosemary and bring to a simmer. Reduce the liquid by just over half. Turn off the heat and let cool for about 10 seconds. Then vigorously whisk in the cold cubed butter. Slice tenderloins crosswise into ½” thick medallions, drizzle each portion with cider reduction and serve immediately.
A few notes on preparation: we didn’t have shallots, so we used chopped onion instead. We also didn’t clarify the butter, so we started browning them in olive oil and tossed in a few pats of butter later.
We do love pork tenderloin in this house, and this was no exception. David noted that tenderloin isn’t generally the most flavourful cut of pork you can get (I commented that it is like the “chicken breast” of the pork world), but it has a great texture, is easy to cook well and provides a great foundation on which you can layer fun and interesting flavours. A couple of areas to note for next time: 1) we could have made less of the mustard-coating mixture (only needed about half or so to coat the tenderloin), and 2) we could try coating the tenderloins in flour before slathering it with the mustard-mixture and breading, as the breading was somewhat fragile. However, the flavours were quite delightful–David had worried that it might taste too overwhelmingly mustardy, but it mellowed to have a nice balance of flavours.