Those of us who cook often end up with a dish that we love to make. It’s always a crowd pleaser, or maybe we just like showing off, it may be one that showcases our best talents. For whatever reason, when we make this dish we are in control of the evening. Call it a signature dish or a house specialty, it is a meal that never fails to impress your guests.
My husband has a recipe that he has made on special occasions for more than twenty-five years. When I say that, I don’t mean a special occasion like Christmas or Thanksgiving, I mean having a guest to our home for the first time. For him, this is a special occasion. This is an opportunity to take favorite plates from the cabinet, mix a few cocktails, and try out his jokes and well rehearsed “off the cuff” remarks. It is also an opportunity to prepare a dish that he associates with his beloved hometown, but cannot tell you why. There is nothing in the list of ingredients that could not be found anywhere else in the U.S. It seems that he was just thinking of his time growing up in the southwest when he first cooked this meal. For reasons that he can’t articulate, this meal reminds him of home.
Old Pueblo Pork Tenderloin
For the brine:
3 cups orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice
1 cup basil leaves
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 lbs pork tenderloin ( 1 large or 2 smaller )
1 tablespoon butter
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup creme sherry
Trim the fat and the silver skin off the pork tenderloin. Tuck the tail under so that the roast is a uniform thickness, and tie with string. Place in a bowl or sealable bag and pour in the citrus juices, the basil and the garlic. Place in refrigerator for twenty-four hours.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. First to the grill. Over a charcoal (or better yet, mesquite ) grill, quickly sear the tenderloins until they have some color and smoke. Do not dry out. Place the tenderloins in a baking dish, and place them in the oven for ten minutes for smaller tenderloin, or twenty minutes for larger. They should be at 160 degrees when removed from the oven. Keep warm.
Put 1 tablespoon of butter and the shallot in a medium high pan and lighty brown, pour in the chicken stock and reduce by 1/4. Add the cream and reduce by half, add the sherry and reduce until it begins to thicken a bit.
Cut the tenderloin into inch and one half pieces, and top with the sherry cream sauce. Serve with small roasted potatoes and butternut squash.
( serves 6 )