Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apricot Risotto
Pairs Well With
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each
Black pepper in a mill
½ cup apricot conserve or apricot jam, such as Ken Coopersmith’s homemade We Be Jammin’ Apricot Jam
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
5 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup dry white wine
6 ripe apricots, halved and pitted
4 cups homemade chicken stock
3 or 4 slices bacon
2 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, cut into small dice
1½ cups Italian rice, preferably Vialone Nano or Carnaroli
½ cup minced dried California apricots
3 ounces (¾ cup) grated Estero Gold, Vella Dry Jack or similar cheese
2 tablespoons fresh snipped chives or chopped Italian parsley
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a heavy pan ― an All Clad saucier is ideal ― set over medium heat, season the pork all over with salt and pepper and brown the tenderloins on all sides; it will take about 4 minutes.
While the pork browns, put the conserve or jam into a small bowl, add half the cardamom, half the garlic, half the lemon juice and a splash of the wine and stir until smooth.
When the pork is browned, use tongs to transfer the pork to a roasting rack or roasting pan and arrange the apricots, cut side up around it. Brush the pork and apricots all over with the conserve or jam mixture and set on the middle rack of the oven. Cook until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145°F, about 15 minutes; brush a few times during cooking. When the pork is done, remove it from the oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.
Meanwhile, return the heavy pan to medium heat, add the bacon, cook until it is crisp, and transfer it to absorbent paper to drain.
Pour the stock into a saucepan, add 2 cups of water, heat and keep warm over a low flame.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat, add the butter to the pan and, when it is melted, add the onion and sauté until soft and fragrant, about 12 minutes; do not let it brown.
Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until each grain turns milky white, about 3 minutes. Season with salt, add the remaining wine and simmer, stirring gently all the while, until it is nearly completely absorbed.
Begin adding stock to the rice, ½ cup at a time, and stirring between additions until the liquid is absorbed. After the third addition of stock, stir in the dried apricots and continue adding stock and stirring until the rice is just tender, about 18 to 22 minutes.
Before the final addition of stock, add the remaining cardamom, garlic and lemon juice and the cheese. Taste, correct for salt, season with pepper and stir in the remaining stock. Remove from the heat.
Working quickly, cut the pork into ¼-inch-thick slices.
Divide the risotto among individual soup plates or wide pasta bowls and arrange pork alongside. Add apricots, sprinkle with chives and enjoy right away.
To pair with this big, expressive wine, we turned to our friend Michele Anna Jordan, noted local food writer and accomplished chef. Her suggestion was Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apricot Risotto. The recipe calls for a wide range of spices and dried fruit as well as jam, and the resulting pairing of luscious, tender, fruit-scented roast pork and luxurious risotto complements and elevates this Pinot. (For a complete Coopersmith experience, we made this with Ken’s homemade We Be Jammin’ Apricot Jam. Fantastic!)