Pork Medallions with Pomegranate-Cherry Sauce

Let me start by saying that I am so excited about sharing today’s recipe with you.  Why?  Because it’s been far, far too long since I’ve been absolutely floored by the flavor of a quick, easy, any-day-of-the-week recipe.

Today’s recipe is Pork Medallions with Pomegranate-Cherry Sauce from the November 2009 issue of Cooking Light.  I actually made it for the first time last week, but Dr. O was home late and I didn’t feel like having a photography session before we could sit down to eat.  It was so good that I almost thought about posting it without a photo, but what fun is that?  Needing that photo was the perfect excuse for making the dish again last night.

I like to have most of my ingredients lined up and ready to go before I start cooking, so I started by combining the sauce ingredients (1/2 cup of pomegranate juice, 1/3 cup dried sweet cherries, 1/4 cup dry red wine, and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar) in a medium bowl.  In a tiny bowl, I stirred together 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and 1 teaspoon of water.  I also set aside 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.

With my prep out of the way, I trimmed a 1-pound pork tenderloin and cut it into 12 equally-thick pieces.  I sprinkled both sides with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.  In a large nonstick skillet, I heated 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat and added the pork.  (All of the medallions fit in my 12-inch skillet.)  I cooked the medallions for 4 minutes on each side, transferred them to a plate, and covered them with foil to keep them warm.

Keeping the skillet over medium-high heat, I added the juice, cherries, wine, and vinegar to the pan.  I brought the mixture to a boil, reduced the heat to medium, and cooked it for 2 minutes.  Next, I added the cornstarch and water (stir it before adding if the ingredients have separated) and brought the mixture back up to a boil.  I cooked the sauce for 1 minute, stirring constantly, and then removed the pan from the heat.  I added the butter, stirred the sauce until the butter melted, returned the pork to the pan, and tossed to coat.  I served the pork over couscous with garlicky peas and mushrooms on the side.

Pork Medallions with Pomegranate-Cherry Sauce

From start to finish, this meal takes 15 or 20 minutes, and the results are seriously good (and good-looking) enough that you could serve this at a dinner party.  The pork ends up so tender and juicy, and the sauce is just to die for.  I love the play between the tartness of the pomegranate juice, the sweetness of the cherries, the acidity of the vinegar, and the richness of the wine.  (Side note: I used Merlot the first time I made the sauce and Cabernet Franc the second time; both worked very well.)   This is one of those meals where you exclaim how delicious it is on the first bite, but you’re still raving when your plate is clean.  Mmmmmm.  It’s quick and easy for sure, but it will make any night of the week feel special.  Give it a try!

TIPS:  With a couple of microwave tricks, you can get your sides done while the pork cooks.  When you first put the pork in the pan, heat the couscous broth in a small ceramic baking dish in the microwave.  (The broth will need 2 – 3 minutes on high to come to a boil; your liquid amount should be the same as the amount of couscous you intend to cook.  For example, if you’re going to make 1 cup of couscous, microwave 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth.)  When the broth reaches a boil, remove the dish from the microwave, and stir in the couscous.  Cover the dish and let it stand for 5 minutes.  Just after you cover the couscous, flip the pork, and then put a bag of Steamfresh veggies in the microwave for 5 minutes (or whatever the recommended cooking time is).  Once you finish the pork sauce, fluff the couscous, season the veggies (if they aren’t already) and serve your gorgeous meal!

Recipe link: Pork Medallions with Pomegranate-Cherry Sauce

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