A Little Black Magic

A fragrant mix of fennel seeds, orange zest, and fresh rosemary gives this quick-to-prep dish a French accent. The basis for this Pork Tenderloin Provençal recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking’s Erica Clark, although I made numerous changes while still maintaining the integrity of the dish.

My twists? For one, incorporating black garlic with it’s perfect mix of sweet and savory, producing a molassesy richness with tangy garlic undertones, yum! I had never cooked with black garlic before (nor have I eaten it that I’m aware of) but found the tender texture with a melt-in-your-mouth consistency similar to that of a soft dried fruit. Black magic, indeed!

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I used four large black garlic cloves along with three regular cloves in my rub.

Secondly, to further enhance the meal, I made a pan sauce using the 1/2 cup fresh juice squeezed from the orange after zesting, along with one large cube of our homemade chicken stock, about 1/3 cup. After the meat rested, we poured the pork drippings through a sieve into the skillet with the orange juice and broth and let it reduce down by half, then swirled in two tablespoons of butter. This sauce was sooo good, we both wanted more!

Our package of two pork tenderloins weighed in at a whopping 4.75 pounds, so I tripled the other ingredients (except the olive oil, which I doubled) to make sure there was enough to cover all of the meat. And due to the larger size, the tenderloins took an additional five minutes to come to temperature. These changes are indicated in the directions below.

Luckily we had enough leftovers for two more meals. One we just reheated, the other we made a pork fried rice dish, but knocked off the outer seasonings first.

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Ingredients (Lynn’s revised version)

  • 2, 2 to 2 1/2-lb. pork tenderloins
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced, preferably half black garlic cloves)
  • 3 Tbs. whole fennel seeds, coarsely ground in a mortar and pestle
  • 3 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup juice from zested orange
  • 1/2-1/3 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Brush the pork all over with the olive oil, and season generously all over with salt and pepper.
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  2. Combine the garlic, fennel seeds, rosemary, and orange zest, and press the mixture all over the pork. Transfer to a small rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the pork registers 135°F, about 25 minutes.
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  3. Let rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes before slicing and transferring to a platter.
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  4. While meat is resting, bring the orange juice and chicken stock to a boil and reduce down by half. After the meat has rested and is sliced, pour the juice from the cutting board into the reduction through a strainer, and cook for another minute.
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  5. Take the sauce off the heat and swirl in the two pats of butter. Pour over the platter of sliced meat, and serve.

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