I have one more episode to watch - just one - and then I'm going to have to get a grip. Last October I discovered the TV show Gilmore Girls on Netflix - all seven seasons. I didn't watch Gilmore Girls when it originally aired, I suppose I was still living under that rock. Several friends mentioned the series to me over the years, telling me I would love it but I could barely keep up with the shows I watched in real time and had no time to watch old shows...or so I thought...it's amazing how much time one can find to waste in the pursuit of happiness. And make no bones about it, watching Gilmore Girls is happiness. So thanks to all those friends who told me to watch Lorelai and Rory because not only do I love them, I am them! Seriously, I could be a Gilmore Girl...well, except for the brain, body, face and the age difference, but other than that I have all of their qualities...sarcasm-junk-food-movies-shopping-reading-and-an-incredible-passion-for-the-inane - that's my middle name! One more episode...I'm saving it...I'm going to watch the last episode on Valentine's Day...romantic, no? I'm so excited! We are going to have Blackberry Ginger Pork Tenderloin with smashed potatoes, salad and Creme Brulee for dessert and we're going to eat in front of the fire and the TV and hopefully watch Luke carry Lorelai off into the sunset, and then the mister will give me some fantastic piece of jewelry and a box of chocolates and while I'm stuffing my face he'll whip out plane tickets to Rome!!! Wouldn't that be amazing?!?! As if! Well a girl can dream...back to reality...this tenderloin recipe is a dream, it's easy to make and definitely worthy of Valentine's Day or any day you want to make special... it is my new favorite - not even kidding one tiny ort - it will be your new favorite, too. I promise. If you're smart, you'll make this for your Valentine, I'm sure it will get you more than a Hallmark card!
This is the most flavorful pork tenderloin you'll ever have - in part because the pork is brined for a quick 20 minutes, which makes the pork moist and tender and while it's brining away you will have time to prepare the blackberry ginger glaze...in a word? Divine!
Blackberry preserves, hoisin sauce and ginger combine into a refreshing glaze, with just a bit of heat from red pepper flakes, which can be dialed up or down depending on your tastes. This recipe is from Jen at Carlsbad Cravings, and Jen didn't say to strain the sauce, but I didn't want to have blackberry seeds in my teeth so I strained it...other than that, her recipe IS PERFECT! Now about Jen, I don't know her, but I love her. I love her blog, her recipes are killer, her photography is amazing, and her journey is inspiring. Go check out her blog, you'll fall in love with her, too!
One little note about Valentine's Day...the mister walked in last night with a beautiful tulip plant, yes, you guessed it "sorry flowers." He was sorry for something and instead of actually saying those words, which he is incapable of saying, he let the flowers do the talking...and then he asked if they could be an early Valentine's gift, since it is Valentine's week. At this point the flowers had nothing more to say. Don't go pulling a groin muscle leaping to the conclusion because I'm happy to spell it out for you, just as I did for the mister...a Valentine's gift, given three days ahead of time is not a Valentine's gift. It is just a gift and in no way can be construed as theeeeee Valentine's gift. Unless it's diamonds. Diamonds trump everything, even my rules. My work here is almost done...moving on...the tenderloin is browned on all sides on the stove-top and then it's slathered in that delicious glaze/sauce and put into the oven to finish cooking.
I'm telling you straight, this one is a home-run, worthy of company, heck, worthy of royalty! Jen said it best, "It looks fancy, it tastes fancy but I promise anyone can make it!" Jen is right...it is fancy.
Blackberry Ginger Pork Tenderloin - Adapted From Jen of Carlsbad Cravings
2 pounds pork tenderloin, silver skin removed
1/4 cup kosher salt
3 cups warm water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup ice cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
Blackberry Ginger Glaze:
1/2 cup blackberry preserves (seedless if you can find it!)
1/4 cup hoisin sauce (found in the Asian section of the grocery store - it's like a thick soy sauce)
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (ginger provides some heat so use 2 if you want more of a kick)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
scallions, chopped, for garnish (optional)
fresh blackberries, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brine the pork: In a gallon size Zip-lock style plastic bag, dissolve the salt in the warm water. Add remaining brine ingredients, mix well, then add the pork. Brine for 20 minutes, no longer.
While pork is brining, make the glaze by melting 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and saute for 30 seconds. Stir in blackberry preserves, hoisin sauce, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning and adjust by adding more salt, pepper or red pepper flakes if desired. At this point, unless you found seedless blackberry preserves, strain the sauce through a fine sieve to remove the seeds. Once strained, return the sauce to the pan to easily reheat just before serving. If you are not going to strain the sauce, just leave in the pan, but turn off the heat.
After 20 minutes, remove pork from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Rub pork all over with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is very hot, add pork tenderloin. Sear on all sides until browned, approximately 1 to 2 minutes per side. Place tenderloin on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with aluminum foil. Brush with blackberry ginger glaze, brushing again after 15 minutes of cooking. Roast tenderloin for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, or until an internal thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin registers 160 degrees. (We like our pork a little more on the done side, if you want some light pink in the middle, cook till 150 degrees. Don't overcook or the pork will be dry.) When pork is done, remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Slice pork thinly and drizzle blackberry ginger sauce over top. Pass remaining sauce at the table. Garnish with chopped scallions and fresh blackberries, if desired.