January 15th, 2014

Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Braised Choucroute and Bacon

This is my kind of food and perfect for this time of the year. The smell that lingers in the kitchen is simply wonderful and inviting and is the kind that creates lasting memories.

This dish is perfect for sharing, a family-style supper for two, providing more than generous servings if the pork tenderloin is on the small side, but if it is on the larger side, then this is perfect for a family of four (two adults and two children).

I would like to mention here that cooking pork tenderloin perfectly is more difficult than cooking fish to perfection. Pork tenderloin is, to my mind, very underused and I think it’s perhaps because it’s very lean, with no fat at all, and if it’s overcooked it will be tasteless and very dry. For that reason, I cook my pork tenderloin medium to medium-well done. Pink is perhaps pushing it too far, but at the other end of the spectrum, well done is not good for the reasons given above. Cooking the pork in butter helps to keep it moist, and once the butter turns nutty brown (burnoisette), it adds plenty of wonderful flavours to the pork. If you are cooking your pork medium/medium-well done, then make sure you rest it well. You do not want pink juices on your plate.

This version of choucroute garnie might provoke a bit of controversy, as the true meaning of choucroute is fermented sauerkraut cooked according to the people of Alsace with pieces of sausage and bacon. My version is perhaps the cheat’s way and is slightly ponced up, but then I suppose it’s my prerogative to simplify it and adjust the method and recipe to suit my lifestyle and cooking.

Here at the British Larder we make our own sauerkraut by fermenting the cabbage for a month before use, it’s work in progress and we continue making batches of sauerkraut as the winter progresses. Over the festive period we where serving it with roasted duck breast to be precise, and it’s absolutely delicious.

Pork tenderloin is not only shredded and used in stir-fries, no, it’s absolutely ideal and perfect when cooked whole like this and enjoyed by all. This delicious recipe is something special, so do give it a try.

For the pork tenderloin

  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • a sprig of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 325–400g whole pork tenderloin, silver skin removed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For the braised choucroute and bacon

  • 500g white cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 tablespoon Aspall Cyder Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 100g smoked streaky bacon, finely diced
  • 80g celery, finely diced
  • 80g onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 125ml Riesling wine
  • 125ml white chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For the lemon and herb crumbs

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mixed flat-leaf parsley and thyme leaves
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon

First, marinade the pork tenderloin. Using a pestle and mortar, crush the coriander seeds, garlic and thyme together, then mix with 1 tablespoon of the rapeseed oil. Rub the marinade into the pork, massaging to get the marinade into the crevices of the meat, then place the pork on a plate, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours (the pork can be left to marinate like this for several hours or overnight).

While the pork is marinating, make the braised choucroute. In a container or bowl, mix the shredded white cabbage with the vinegar and a generous seasoning of salt and black pepper, then cover with cling film and leave it at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Wash the cabbage in cold water and then leave it to drain well in a colander for 30 minutes.

Melt the butter and sunflower oil in a medium casserole over a medium heat, then add the bacon, celery, onion and garlic and sauté for 8–10 minutes or until the bacon starts to colour slightly but not too much. Add the drained cabbage with some salt and black pepper, then cover and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, adding a bit more butter at this stage, if you need it. Now add the wine and cook, uncovered, for about 8 minutes or until the wine becomes syrupy, then add the stock, cover, reduce the heat to low and braise the cabbage for 20 minutes. Stir in the mustard and taste, adjusting the seasoning if needed. Remove from the heat and keep the cabbage warm (or reheat it just before serving), while you cook the pork and prepare the crumbs.

To cook the pork, preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Remove the pork from the fridge and season generously with salt and black pepper. Heat the remaining rapeseed oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a high heat, then add the pork. Brown the pork on one side until golden, then turn it to brown the pork all over – altogether this should take 6–8 minutes. Add the butter and once it has melted, spoon the butter over the pork to create a glaze. Place the pork in a roasting tin and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer the pork to a plate, cover with foil and leave to rest for 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the lemon and herb crumbs, melt the butter in a small, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat until it starts to foam. Reduce the heat to low and continue heating until the butter starts to brown (this is called burnoisette or nutty brown butter). Add the breadcrumbs to the burnoisette with a bit of salt and black pepper, then stir continuously whilst toasting the crumbs until they turn golden brown, about 2–4 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a small bowl and leave to cool for a few minutes.

Mix the cooled golden crumbs with the chopped herbs and lemon zest. Re-heat the cabbage until piping hot, if you have not kept it warm.

To serve family-style, spoon the hot braised cabbage on to a warmed serving dish, carve the pork into 1.5cm-thick slices and place on top, then scatter over the lemon and herb crumbs. Serve with steamed seasonal vegetables, such as purple sprouting broccoli or wilted Swiss chard.

Serves 2–3 as a family main course


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2 Comments to “Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Braised Choucroute and Bacon”

  1. Jim says:

    I made a big batch of Dukkah (Egyptian nut and spice mixture) for Christmas presents this year. I had a bit left over so I rolled some pork tenderloin in it, quickly seared it to create a crisp coating and finished it off in the oven. Really worked well.

  2. Luke Neoh says:

    This is a great recipe….I can taste the pork after reading this!
    Yes, I shall certainly try it this weekend. Thank you.

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