pork tenderloin with spicy blackberry sauce + asparagus

25 Jan

Sometimes the best dinners are comprised of perfectly seasoned and cooked meat and vegetables with just a drizzle of a fantastic sauce. Take the previous tilapia post. Super simple preparation, but a stellar sauce to make everything shine. Same goes with this pork tenderloin recipe. The warm, spicy sweet blackberry sauce makes it all seem so special, when in reality it’s a quick weekday recipe made with items that were on sale this week.

We used the grill for the pork and asparagus, but oven roasting is a snap too. I’ll detail both methods. After getting back from the grocery store, I realized that not only were the frozen blackberries I used on sale, but fresh ones were too. I just spaced. And I think they were cheaper fresh. Oh well, maybe the frozen ones used in-season, ripe-when-picked blackberries. I think any kind of berry would be great for this sauce – so if there’s something that you really like, or you have a bag of mixed berries laying in the fridge, try it! We all know apples go well with pork, so you could peel and chop up some apples and see how that goes. Other vegetables besides asparagus would obviously work as sides too – sauteed bitter greens, roasted root vegetables, whatever.

The original recipe called for straining the blackberry sauce so that the result was a smooth, silky, thickened liquid. Not only could I not be bothered with doing this, I wanted the texture of the macerated blackberries and the minced shallots. Either way you do it, it’ll be good.

red wine blackberry sauce
adapted from Rachael Ray

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
3 thyme sprigs, or 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1 10 ounce bag of frozen blackberries, or fresh equivalent
3/4 cup dry red wine, (I used pinot noir)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 -2 tablespoons honey, depending on your desired sweetness (I used one)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add shallot and thyme and cook for about 3 minutes, until softened.
2. Add the blackberries, wine, vinegar, honey, and crushed pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Once sauce is reduced, you may now strain through a sieve to remove the solids if you wish.

pork tenderloin + asparagus

1 1 – 1 1/4 pound tenderloin, trimmed and at room temperature
1 bundle asparagus, bottoms trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Preheat grill on high heat.
2. Rub oil over pork and season generously with coarse salt and ground pepper.
3. Grill pork for approximately 12 minutes (4 minutes per side, then repeat to get those fancy cross-hatch grill marks), or until thermometer inserted in the middle reads 145 degrees. Let the pork rest for 5 minutes before cutting into it to ensure the juices don’t all flow out.
4. Brush asparagus with some oil. Half way through cooking the pork, add the asparagus to the grill and cook, flipping once, for about 6 minutes.

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat.
3. Season pork with salt and pepper and cook until browned, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes.
4. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast pork until an inserted thermometer reads 145 degrees, about 10 minutes. Let the pork rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
5. On a foil or parchment lined baking sheet, place asparagus and brush with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 8 minutes.

Serve the pork and asparagus with a generous spooning of the blackberry sauce. A great weekday winter meal!

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