This easy, relatively quick dish is always in season, though I do have seasonal variations that I enjoy. In the summer, I use fresh figs instead of preserves. I sometimes even substitute fresh peaches. Depending on people’s tastes, other fruits also work. Indeed, this recipe is similar to the classic Porc au Pruneaux.
Pork loin is relatively inexpensive, so this can be a flavorful choice when hosting a large table of guests. Each pork loin can serve two to three people.
Ingredients (cooking for two):
Marinade of olive oil, garlic, basil, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper
one pork loin
6 oz. chicken stock
2 oz. white wine
Make a marinade of extra-virgin olive oil with salt and pepper, finely-diced garlic, and chopped fresh herbs–I use rosemary, basil, and thyme. During winter months or when I am in a hurry, I use garlic powder and dried herbs. Put in a Ziploc bag or bags and marinate the pork loins for about a half hour. Remove the loins and pat dry.
Heat a cast-iron pan over a medium flame and butter it. Brown the pork loins on all sides; then, remove to a baking dish. Insert a meat thermometer into each loin, and put the baking dish into an oven heated to 325 degrees. Cook the pork loin to an interior temperature of 160 degrees. Once removed from the oven and put on a cool plate, the temperature should rise by another five to ten degrees. Allow the meat to cool to about 140 degrees before slicing and serving.
To make the sauce, heat the pan you used to brown the pork over a medium flame, and deglaze with the chicken stock and white wine. Keep heating to reduce the volume of the liquid by half, then thicken by stirring in a half stick of butter. Keep adding pats of butter until the sauce will coat a spoon. Important: Once you add butter to the sauce, you must remain with it and stir constantly. If it separates, it is ruined. For this reason, some people use a flour roux, which is somewhat more forgiving.
Turn off the heat and add the fig preserves. You can vary the quantity of preserves for a sweeter or not-so-sweet sauce. Pour the sauce over the sliced pork loin, garnish with parsley, and serve.
I serve this dish with roast potatoes and string beans. For those who enjoy wine, I recommend a regional French white wine called Vouvray.