A cherry sauce for pork, in June, just seems appropriate.
This is wild hog tenderloin, sauced with an adult cherry sauce: Not too sweet, a little zippy, and fantastic for a light summer supper. You can of course use store-bought pork, and loin is fine, too.
You can cook your pork any way that makes you happy, but I either grill it or pan sear the tenderloin (or loin). And I keep it in one long length, and slice it to serve, rather than cutting it into medallions first.
Doing this makes it easier to cook the pork properly, which is to say fully cooked, but with a blush of pink, roughly 155°F for wild pork, 145°F for farmed. The temperature difference is to deal with the possibility that the wild pork might carry trichinae parasites, which have basically been eliminated from domesticated pork. Here’s an article I wrote on trichinosis in wild game, if you’re interested.
This cherry sauce has one sorta unusual ingredient: Maraschino liqueur, which is yes, where Maraschino cherries come from. It is a cherry brandy, basically, and any cherry-flavored liqueur will do, and if you can’t find any, use brandy or bourbon.
Green peppercorns are sold in little bottles, pickled in brine. Look for them near the capers and olives. If you can find it, or happen to have it, glace de viande really helps this cherry sauce. It’s cooked down stock that’s gelled up at room temperature. Big flavor in small packages.
You can find my recipe for glace de viande here, or you can also find it in many specialty shops. Or buy low sodium beef stock and boil it down by half.
Serve this with mashed potatoes, crusty bread or polenta. You’ll want a red wine, or a rosé, or a red ale.
I use this cherry sauce with wild pork mostly, but it's great on duck, or even with pheasant or chicken.
- 1 to 2 pounds pork tenderloin or loin, preferably in one or two pieces
- 2 tablespoons canola, sunflower, grapeseed or rice bran oil
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1/3 cup Maraschino liqueur or brandy
- 1/3 cup glace de viande (see above notes)
- 1 tablespoon green peppercorns
- 20 to 30 cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Take the pork out and salt it well. Set it on the cutting board for 20 to 40 minutes to come up to temperature. Do this before you start chopping vegetables and pitting cherries.
Get the canola oil hot in a large frying pan that will hold the pork all at once. Sear the pork on all sides over high heat, then drop the temperature to medium and cook the pork until it's done, about 10 minutes. Use a meat thermometer or the finger test for doneness to determine this: you want 145F for farmed pork, 155F for wild, which is medium-well.
Move the pork to a clean cutting board to rest, while you make the sauce. Add the shallot to the pan and cook for 2 minutes over medium-high heat; you need at least a tablespoon of oil in the pan, so add a bit if you need to.
Take the pan off the heat and pour in the liqueur; this prevents it from igniting in your face. Set the pan back on the heat and use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the browned bits in the pan. Add the glace de viande or cooked down stock, as well as the green peppercorns, and boil this down by half.
Add the cherries and vinegar and cook, stirring often so the cherries are all coated, for about 2 minutes. Take off the heat and add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, swirling the first tablespoon to incorporate it before adding the second. Add salt to taste. Slice the pork and serve with the sauce.