Medallions of pork brined in pear nectar and wrapped in smoky bacon are just the start of this showstopper of a dish. Sauce it with fresh red pears laced with a punch of sage, and you have a recipe to remember.
You can find pork tenderloin in most supermarkets, and this convenient item is the foundation of many great recipes like this one. Cutting them down into “mignons” appeals to the gourmand in me, but it is also a practical way to ensure even cooking and portion control.
One essential of this dish is to brine the pork in fruit juice. Fruit and pork are a natural combination, and the pear nectar works wonders in bringing flavor and moistness to the meat. And with a basket of fresh red pears sitting on my counter, I’m adding a second layer of fruity flavor to the sauce reduction. Oh, so good!
- 2 whole pork tenderloins
- 2 cups pear nectar
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 strips smoked bacon
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 6 whole garlic cloves
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 unpeeled red pears, quartered and cored
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Remove the tenderloins from the package, and with a sharp knife, cut into 8 pieces approximately 2 ½ inches long. Place in a zip-lock bag and pour in the pear nectar. Rotate the bag to cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
- In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat, add the bacon strips. Cook the bacon halfway until some of the fat has rendered. Remove to a platter and let cool.
- Remove the bag of pork and pour the pear nectar from the bag into a container; save for later use. With paper towels, pat the meat dry. Lightly sprinkle all sides with garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, and salt. Wrap each meat portion with bacon and skewer with a toothpick.
- In the same skillet on medium-high heat, add the pork pieces bacon-side down. Turn the pork and brown on all sides until the bacon is crisp and the meat is about halfway cooked, about 15 minutes.
- Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the reserved pear nectar along with the chicken stock and deglaze the pan. Add the sage. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Let cook until the pork is fully cooked and has reached a minimum internal temperature of 165ºF, about 30 minutes. Remove the meat to a serving platter and keep warm.
- Increase the heat to medium-high until the sauce reaches a boil. Stir the cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water; add to the sauce and whisk to prevent lumps. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the pears. Stir until the pears soften and the sauce thickens to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Pour the sauce over the pork mignons and serve immediately.
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