• Christine Tizzard

Pork Medallions with Red Wine Juniper Sauce

If you like gin, you will love juniper. Its crisp, piney, peppery taste has a hint of citrus and this bold red-wine juniper sauce smothered over simple juicy cumin-spiced pork is an impressive dish.


Pork tenderloin is amazingly versatile and super easy to cook, yet I find is often overlooked. This inexpensive prime cut is tender, lean, mildly flavoured, requires no marinating and can be cooked in 10 minutes. You could call it the “poor man’s filet mignon,” but that would discount its tremendous flavour. Tenderloins vary in size and are sometimes sold two in a package. One 1 1/2lb (700 g) tenderloin is enough to feed a family of four but, by all means, double this recipe, because the leftovers are amazing.


PDF Download available here.

MAKES: 4 servings

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

COOK TIME: 15 minutes

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED: large ovenproof sauté pan, digital thermometer


Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb (700 g) pork tenderloin

  • Salt & Pepper to taste

  • 1–2 tsp (10 mL) ground cumin (or to taste)

  • 1–2 Tbsp (30 mL) neutral flavoured oil

  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 3 Tbsp (45 mL) butter divided

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) red wine

  • 10 juniper berries, lightly crushed

  • 1 cup (250 mL) beef or chicken stock


Method:

1. Preheat oven to 400 °F (200 °C).

2. Cut tenderloin into medallions (or small steaks) on the diagonal, about 1. inches (4 cm) thick. You should get at least 4 medallions and 2 smaller end pieces. Season with salt, lots of pepper and ground cumin.

3. Heat an ovenproof pan over high heat. Once hot, add the oil and sear the medallions, about 3 minutes per side. Once turned over, add thyme sprigs, garlic, and 1 Tbsp (15 mL) butter. Transfer to the oven for 6–10 minutes or until an internal temperature of 140°F (60°C) is reached. Smaller end pieces will cook more quickly, so remove ahead of time.

4. Remove pan from the oven, transfer pork onto a plate and let rest while making the pan sauce.

5. In the same pan over medium heat, add the wine, juniper berries, and stock. Liquids will immediately start bubbling and reduce. Add in 2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter to finish the sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over the medallions and serve.


PORK TIP

Pork tenderloin, being so lean, is easily overcooked.

This, again, is where I stress the value of a digital thermometer,

which makes it so easy to cook meat properly.

Take the pork out of the oven once it registers 140°F

(60°C) in the middle of the thickest part and let it rest

for 5 minutes. The result will be juicy pork with the

slightest blush of pink.


COOL FACT: JUNIPER BERRIES AREN’T REALLY BERRIES

Juniper berries are used to make gin, so we know they

must be good for us. The berry, which is actually a seed

cone of the juniper tree, is typically sold whole in the spice

section of your grocery store. They look like big dark purple

peppercorns and are easily crushed, which should be

done just before using them. This helps to release the berry’s

essential oils.

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