Had originally planned another recipe to share with you today, but after enjoying this meal on Friday night – I had to share it with you guys ASAP. I’d had it on my list since I saw it in the Lee Brothers cookbook, and couldn’t wait to make it. We have a couple of fig trees (bushes?) in our yard, which produce two crops of giant, juicy figs a year. Once in the early summer, once again in the fall. They aren’t the traditional dark-skinned Mission fig that you usually find in the store, either. They have a very pithy white skin, that usually proves a bit complicated when going to make something like preserves with them, and I end up having to give them a peeling first. Didn’t matter for this dish, they just cooked right down into a delicious gravy.
And the Madiera. My God. I’m sold on this stuff as a marinating liquid! The pork has a relatively quick 1 hour soak in the Madiera, then is seared off in a cast-iron pan and finished off in the oven. Madiera is a sweet, fortified wine that I always have hanging out in my liquor cabinet. Great for a quick deglaze, and after-dinner drink, or a marinade. The sugars in the wine helped to give the most gorgeous caramelized crusts I’ve ever seen on a hunk of meat. No joke. Then, you add the marinade to the pan, along with the figs – and put it all in the oven for about 20 minutes. What comes out is sheer perfection. I served with some steamed broccoli and garlic rice pilaf. If you have figs available to you – whether in your back yard, or at the grocery store – add this to your menu plan. I can’t wait to make it again!
Pork Tenderloin with Madiera Fig Gravy
1 cup Madiera or Sherry
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 pounds pork tenderloins
2 tsp canola or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp butter
2 shallots, finely diced
1 tsp all-purpose flour
1 pounds fresh figs, trimmed and quartered
Pour the Madiera and vinegar into a gallon-size Ziploc, and add the garlic, thyme, and 1 tsp of salt. Seal the bag and agitate to combine. Add the pork tenderloins and marinade at room temperature for 1 hour, turning the bag over several times.
Heat the oven to 450, with a rack positioned in the top third of the oven.
Transfer the tenderloins to a cutting board, reserving the marinade, and pat the meat dry with paper towls. Brish the tenderloins with 1 tsp of the oil, and season them with 1 tsp of salt and the black pepper. Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in a large cast-itron skillet over high heat until it shimmers. Add the tenderloins and sear, turning them occasionally, until they are nicely browned, 5 to 6 minutes.
Transfer the tenderloins to a plate, add butter and shallots to the pan, stirring until the butter has completely melted, and then add the remaining 1/2 tsp salt and the flour. Cook until the shallots have softened and are fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the figs and the reserved marinade and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low, add the tenderloins to the skillet, and nestle them among the figs. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast, turning the meat once, for about 15 minutes (an instant-read thermometer should register 135 defrees).
Remove the skillet from the oven and let the tenderloins rest on a cutting board, loosely covered with foil, for 5 minues. Then slice tenderloins into 1/2-inch thick medallions and serve with the sauce.
Source: Simple, Fresh, Southern by The Lee Brothers