When I informed The Husband that I was going to make pork with a rhubarb sauce, he dismissed the idea out of hand. He does not like sweet in his savory.
I could have added that rhubarb is a vegetable, not a fruit, and that it’s so tart (not sweet) it’s rarely present in a recipe without some kind of sugar added for balance. But I would have been banging my head against a wall. So I rocked on regardless because I love rhubarb.
An import from England, rhubarb was known in 19th century America as “the pie plant” because that was where it usually ended up — in pies, often paired with strawberries. But I think the rhubarb’s acidity makes it a splendid ingredient in savory dishes, too.
To eliminate the toughness of the strings, some cooks peel their rhubarb before cooking. I deal with the issue (and more easily, I think) by thinly slicing the stalks across the grain of the strings.
In my recipe, it needed some counter-balancing sweetness, so — as a sop to The Husband — I kept the granulated sugar to a bare minimum in favor of fresh orange juice. By the way, given how quickly this recipe comes together, you do want to make sure all your ingredients are prepped and ready to go before you start rolling.
PORK TENDERLOIN MEDALLIONS WITH RHUBARB-ORANGE SAUCE
Start to finish: 45 minutes
2 pork tenderloins (about 1 1/2 pounds total), trimmed of fat
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups thinly sliced rhubarb
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Chopped fresh chives, to garnish
Trim off the thin end piece of each tenderloin, cutting off about a 3-inch section. Slice the remaining portion of each tenderloin crosswise into 3/4-inch rounds. You should end up with about 18 to 20 pieces, including the 2 thin sections cut from the ends. Season the pork on all sides with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Working in batches, add the pork to the skillet. Cook, turning to brown on all sides, for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until the pork is just pink at the center (about 145 F). Transfer the pork to a plate, cover with foil and let it rest while you prepare the sauce.
Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil, the rhubarb and the sugar. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the orange juice and simmer for 2 minutes.
In a small bowl or glass, whisk together the water and cornstarch, then add to the simmering broth in a stream, whisking. Return the sauce to a boil, then whisk in the mustard and any juices that have collected on the plate from the pork.
To serve, divide the pork medallions between 6 plates, then top with some of the sauce. Garnish with chives.
Nutrition information per serving: 200 calories; 60 calories from fat (30 percent of total calories); 7 g fat (1.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 75 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 25 g protein; 420 mg sodium.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Sara Moulton was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years, and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows. She currently stars in public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” and has written three cookbooks, including “Sara Moulton’s Everyday Family Dinners.”
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.