Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pork Tenderloin, Blueberry Balsamic Reduction

This won't be shocking to most of you- there's a lot of people out there whom I dislike.  Shitty drivers are at the top of the list.  I don't even have to be driving in my own car and poor motorists still piss me off.  I'm talking about those alley-honkers.  Them dipshits fly down the alley and then lay on the horn as they near the end, warning about their approach.  So cars traveling properly in the street, people walking their dog(s) on the sidewalk, and kids on their bikes are supposed to yield to them because of an audible warning?? I don't think so.  Proper etiquette would be to slow down, (or not do thirty mph through an alley to begin with) perhaps even make a full stop, and make sure you don't plow into something.  Like me, enjoying a leisurely stroll where I should be, on the sidewalk.  Save the horn honking for what it was meant for- the lightest tap to alert someone to stop looking at Facebook on their dumbphone cause the light is green, laying on the horn whenever a cabbie does the slightest thing to annoy you, and multiple short blasts to gain the attention of a hot chick or for when you are saying goodbye as you drive off from a loved one you won't see for a while.  No other times, including alley-honking, is a car horn necessary.  

On the other hand, I really like some people, especially the Grandmas.  I wanted to make something nice to thank Omma for babysitting the lovely Clare for a few days.  A somewhat quick dinner, as this was a weeknight, but certainly a meal that was restaurant quality.  Thanks to Clare's other Grandma, I had a pork loin doin some chilling in the freeze that was begging for some grill time.  Pair that with a silky blueberry balsamic gastrique, and you got a tasty dinner that says thank you.   

The title of this dish says 'reduction', cause I thought 'gastrique' might sound too fancy for you, but that is the proper moniker.  It's not a difficult task, it's just french for a vinegar/fruit/sugar combination that is heated and reduced in volume.  So go ahead and reduce that sauce, knowing you're practicing classic french technique.  She'd be proud. 

Grilling or oven-roasting a pork loin is easier than cooking burgers, cause you don't have to make the burgers!  You're not buying pre-formed patties from the store, are you?  Let's hope not.  Want more pork tenderloin recipes?  This one is good for the upcoming fall, this guy here is tasty year-round, and if you act soon, there is a small window left of summer to squeeze this herby citrusy grilled loin on your dinner plate. 

Speaking of not much time remaining in summer, the tail end of the season means there's been a lot of dead animal on the grill for months.  Not sure about you, but I'm craving some lighter dishes like this mouth-watering recipe that I can't wait to eat to change up the pace, and this other veggie dish will do the same and use up some zucchini from the garden.

Now, for some important deets.  The way hogs are bred these days, the chances of eating an undercooked piece and ingesting trichinosis is on par with getting struck by lightning.  A touch of very slight pink in the middle of a loin is cooked to perfection.  Of course you could also cook until not pink throughout, but without a brine in this recipe, I would yank it off the grill at about 155F and it should reach the ideal 160F while resting.  Don't let the FDA scare you into thinking otherwise. 

Pork Tenderloin, Blueberry Balsamic Reduction
3-4 servings

1/2 medium yellow or red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C dry white wine
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 C blueberries, rinsed
4 TB good balsamic vinegar
1 TB light brown sugar
1 ts fresh lemon juice
2 TB unsalted butter, cold, diced
1 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed of any silver skin (that's the concentrated section of silvery fat that will not melt, but don't trim off all the little pieces of fat!)

Fire up the grill for high heat, about 400 degrees F (alternatively, roast in a 375F oven for 22-25 minutes).  

For the Blueberry Balsamic Reduction-
In a medium saute pan, cook the onion over medium heat in a few TB's of EVOO.  Cook about four minutes until translucent, but not brown.  Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds, then add the white wine.  Stir well, scraping any fond off the bottom of the pan.  Increase the heat to medium-high and let reduce for a couple minutes, then add the blueberries, balsamic, and brown sugar.  You could mash up some of the berries with the spoon, most will burst with the heat during the 10 minutes or so it will take to reduce.  Stir/smash a few times during this time.

For the pork-
With a preheated grill and your protein at room temp, oil up them grates and season your meat liberally with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.  Grill on a fat side over high heat for 4 minutes, then turn 1/4 and cook its side for 2 minutes, then 4 minutes on the other larger surface, then 2 minutes on the other small side.  Most loins are shaped similarly, this will ensure an even sear on all sides.  Move to a cooler, indirect part of the grill and take the temp- 155F is the goal, continue to cook, turning every 2 minutes, until you reach that temp.  Remove from the heat and cover lightly with aluminum foil.  Don't even think of cutting into this little piggy for at least 10 minutes. 

Bring it together-
While your pork is resting, your sauce should be nicely reduced to purply goodness.  Remove the thyme sprigs, strain using a strainer or cheesecloth into a small saucepan.  Add a squirt of lemon juice, a pinch of S&P, and the cold pieces of butter.  Whisk well to create a shiny, yummy sauce.  Slice your loin bout 1/3" thick and plate on top of the sauce.  Sprinkle some fresh thyme for garnish.  Tastes well with a green salad, a side of rice pilaf, and a glass of Pinot Noir or Gamay.   

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