Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Plum Barbecue Sauce

Jeff here.  Since my better half generally leaves the handling and cooking of meat (on the stovetop, in the oven, or on the grill out back) to me, she's invited me to do a guest post on this delicious roast pork dinner from last week.  To be honest, though, the pork is simply a vehicle for the real star of the show, the plum barbecue sauce.  It makes the pork look really good in the picture above... and it tastes as good as it looks!

Asian cuisine has always been a favorite of mine and Kristin's.  Kristin ate her share of pad thai in college, and I was introduced to the Korean specialty bibimbap when I worked in New York City during my second semester of sophomore year.  (That dish is right up my alley: its name means "mixed meal," and I have a tendency to jumble my food together when I eat.)  We both love a good curry, although our palates can stand different levels of heat, and who can resist a well-prepared General Tso's Chicken?  Raw fish is where Kristin draws the line, so she doesn't share my love of sushi and sashimi, but what can you do?  (You can give me her share.)  But I digress.

We hadn't been waiting too long to make this delicious roast pork in plum sauce.  Kristin found it in this year's July issue of Cooking Light.  Since we enjoy cooking and eating local foods, we were able to get a taste of several New Jersey products, including the locally grown plums (bought at the Village Farms stand on Route 206), the pork tenderloin (from the nearby organic Cherry Grove Farm, just up the road from Village Farms), and ketchup made from 100% New Jersey tomatoes (from First Field).  Despite all the tomatoes we get from our backyard garden and our CSA share, we have not yet made our own ketchup, so we cracked open the jar we bought at another town's Farmer's Market (which just closed down) a few weeks ago; we were not disappointed.

As I said above, the sauce is really the highlight of this recipe.  The natural saltiness of the pork is well-complemented by the sweetness of the plums and the tangy-ness of the rest of the sauce.  The plums will break down most of the way, thickening up the sauce considerably, but the small chunks that remain are a delicious treat, bringing a change of texture to a mouthful of pork. 

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Plum Barbecue Sauce
From Cooking Light, July 2011

2 tbsp canola oil
1 c onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1/4 c ketchup (we used First Field Ketchup)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (the sauce didn't pack much heat, so feel free to add more red pepper flakes)
2 cloves
1 1/2 lb black plums, pitted and quartered

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add canola oil and swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes until plums break down. (I thought the plums would need to be cut smaller, but they really do break down well. Don't worry about any chunks that remain. They're delicious too.) Discard cloves. (We forgot to do that. No one has taken an unlucky bite yet...)

2 tbsp canola oil
2 1-lb pork tenderloins (we only used a single tenderloin, but we made all the sauce)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 450°. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Sprinkle pork evenly with salt and pepper. Add pork to pan and sauté 7 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.

Transfer pork to a foil-lined jelly roll pan and coat with 1/2 cup plum sauce. Roast at 450° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, turn pork over and coat with an additional 1/2 cup sauce (and breathe it in). Roast for 10 minutes, until internal temperature is 155°. Remove from pan and rest 10 minutes.

Slice crosswise and serve with plum sauce. (Garnish with a couple sprigs of thyme, if you'd like.)

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