Thursday, 19 May 2011

Pork Tenderloin with Madeira Sauce

Rich, delicious sauces always say comfort food to me. A little goes a long way, and they can instantly turn an ordinary cut of meat into something very special. This is the sort of sauce I serve on an easy to cook piece of meat after a long week, with a nice glass of red wine. I usually keep sides very simple and mostly vegetable based, but for deep, deep comfort I rely on classic mashed potatoes.

Just the smell of the Madeira splashing into the pan says home to me and it gives the house a gorgeous aroma. This sauce is such an easy way to indulge your family with something really special, without a huge amount of effort. It’s also amazing for last minute entertaining. Madeira is a fortified wine similar to sherry and it gives this sauce a uniquely deep, rich flavour. Having said that, sherry works perfectly well, and although the flavour is not identical, it is certainly delicious. The majority of the alcohol cooks off during cooking, and I have been serving this to my extremely healthy (six foot five inch tall, 18 year old) son since he was a little boy, with absolutely no ill effects whatsoever. However, I appreciate this is a very European custom, so you may prefer to keep this very comforting sauce for adults only if you are concerned.

To serve three to four people you need:

1 to 2 pork tenderloins
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons of butter
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons flour
cup Madeira
about 1 cup chicken or pork stock

Place the tenderloins in a roasting dish, drizzle them with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven at about 350 or 175 for about 40 minutes or until an internal temperature of 325 or 165 is reached.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and gently sauté the onion until it begins to become translucent. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they begin to soften and cook up.

Sprinkle the onions and mushrooms with the flour and stir together. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the Madeira and stir in. Now gradually add the stock, stirring after each addition and allowing the mixture to thicken after each addition. You want a gravy-like thickness.

If, after adding a cup of stock the sauce is still too thick, gradually just a bit more stock until the desired thickness is reached.

When the tenderloin is cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for about ten minutes. Slice and serve with some of the sauce poured over top. Serve the remaining sauce in a gravy boat on the side.

Leftover gravy can be refrigerated and carefully reheated in a saucepan the following day. Gradually add a bit of Madeira or stock, stirring constantly, to thin the consistency out a bit as it does become very thick when chilled. As for any leftover tenderloin, watch this space for a fabulous pasta recipe you can make. It’s so good, you may even want to cook extra tenderloin just so you have leftovers!

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