I have talked about Jacques Pépin's book, "Essential Pépin" so often that you are going to think I'm getting kickbacks from the author.
Nothing could be further from the truth; I worship the great man from afar and the numbers who read my blog are vanishingly small; no publicist has come around with tempting offers.
So you know my praise is genuine, untainted by filthy lucre. And it is praise, indeed. This time, we were having pork tenderloin for dinner and I had cut it into medallions to brown and serve - the quickest and best use of a pork tenderloin in my view.
For one thing, you can cut as many or as few as you need. My Beloved and I are not dieting, exactly, but we are trying to watch portion sizes, our besetting sin. So, instead of serving three or four as I might easily have done before, I cut a modest two each. I also like that each piece is nicely caramelized in the cooking. I had the idea to consult with Chef Pépin and dinner was on.
Jacques calls this recipe "Pork Loin Tournedos with Cream and Calvados." I didn't have pork loin or Calvados, but I did have pork tenderloin and Armagnac - close enough! I also didn't have prunes, so I subbed in raisins.
This is one of those recipes where you brown the meat in a pan, remove it to a warm oven to continue cooking, then deglaze and make a sauce right in the same pan, so no flavor is lost. I added sliced shallots to the pan juices and sautéed briefly while the meat rested in the oven, then deglazed with the Armagnac. The recipe for the sauce calls for heavy cream but I usually sub in half and half, since we don't normally have heavy cream in the house. After cooking the sauce to reduce it a bit, I added the raisins, a small handful and, when the pork emerged beautifully cooked to pale pink perfection, I added the collected juices to the sauce, stirred them in and poured it over the tenderloins.
This is a meal at which My Beloved eats with silent, devoted intention - the food is gone in a twinkling. Then, he looks up, blue eyes misty with pleasure and says, "Oh, that was good."