Friday, July 15, 2011

Pecan-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon Sauce

This dish sounds kind of rich with strong flavors of mustard and the bourbon, but the flavors were tasty and surprisingly mild.  I think you could feed this to almost anyone and they would like it.... well, maybe not teetotalers with that bourbon! I read about a recipe in the Seattle Times (an Associated Press article) Pecan-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Bourbon Pan Sauce, but I didn't feel like chicken, and had a pork tenderloin to use.  If you do use chicken breasts, I would recommend pounding it out in a similiar way so that each piece is uniform thickness, though you will probably only get to about 1/2" thickness. Just cook it a little longer...

This recipe comes together quite quickly, so you could probably get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.  If you pre-pound the pork into cutlets and also make the chopped pecan flour, you could do it even quicker I bet.  I served this with tomato couscous, but it would be great with rice, noodles or potatoes too. The last time I made couscous, I made about double what I needed (on accident) so I froze 1 cup portions in ziploc bags to microwave for a quick add on.  It worked great!

Makes 6 servings
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup all-purpose white flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large eggs
2 lbs. pork tenderloin, cut into 1" slices
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/4 cup bourbon
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon coarse-grained mustard
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, or parsley
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Pound out the 1" pork tenderloin pieces to about 1/3" thick, use plastic wrap or wax paper using the flat side of a meat 'hammer', or even a rolling pin or wine bottle. Before I pounded it out, it looked like this.

After a couple of smacks...

In a food processor, combine the pecans, 1/2 cup of the flour, salt and pepper, then pulse until the mixture becomes a coarse meal. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup of flour (plus a bit more salt & pepper) in a second shallow dish. In a third shallow dish, lightly whisk the eggs.

Dip both sides of each chicken breast first in the flour, shaking off any excess, then in the eggs, then through the pecan mixture. Transfer to a plate.

In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add 3 of the pork tenderloins and cook until well browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Transfer the pork to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining oil and the rest of the pork tenderloins.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook the pork for 3-5 minutes, try not to overcook, pork has a tendency to get hard when overcooked.

While the pork bakes, make the sauce. With the skillet over medium-high heat, add the bourbon and deglaze, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the broth, honey and mustard and bring to a simmer.

NOTE- My pan was pretty hot, and when I added the bourbon it 'whooshed' up a bunch with steam, so take your pan off the heat, add the bourbon and a bit of chicken stock together.

In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water. Whisk the cornstarch into the skillet sauce and stir until thickened. Stir in the chives and soy sauce. Pour the sauce over the pork to serve.

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