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Pork Tenderloin Tournedos with Marsala Sauce

Yield: 4-5 servings

  • 2 pork tenderloins (1 package, about 1 1/2 lbs.)
  • 1/4 lb. pancetta, sliced thin
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms of choice, thickly sliced (wild or domestic) (optional)
  • salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 2-3 Tablespoons brandy
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon dry Marsala
  • 1 cup strong home-made chicken broth, or canned low-salt broth
  • (optional) 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped parsley

Clean fat and tough silverskin membrane from the pork tenderloins with a sharp boning knife. Cut into one tenderloin, going half-way through, lengthwise, and spread open like a book  (“butterfly”). Place the two tenderloins, small-end to large-end, so that the cut part wraps around the uncut tenderloin, forming one larger, reasonably even cylinder. Wrap slices of pancetta securely around the entire cylinder, holding it together. Refrigerate until needed. Remove meat from refrigerator about one hour before serving time, cut into  4-5 two-inch thick rounds, using a sharp chef’s knife.

The rest of the dish will take 20 minutes to complete, and can sit and “rest” for 5-10 minutes after finishing. Plan remaining meal preparations appropriately.

Heat 2 teaspoons butter in a large, heavy skillet. Add the mushrooms, and cook over medium-low heat until soft. Add salt and pepper to taste, and set aside in a bowl.

Heat cleaned skillet over high heat. Add the oil when the pan is hot (the meat won’t stick as much if you add the oil when the pan is hot). Sprinkle the pork rounds with salt and pepper on one side, and place in the pan seasoned side down, being careful not to crowd them. Use two pans if one is not big enough. Cook undisturbed over high heat for around 5 minutes, until well browned on the bottom. Sprinkle the tops with salt and pepper, and turn carefully. Continue to cook over high heat, until just firm to the touch, about another 4-5 minutes. They won’t be quite cooked at this point--don’t worry, they will cook further when sauce is made. Remove meat to a warmed plate. Add the brandy to the pan off the stove, swirling to deglaze any stuck bits. Return to the fire, and carefully ignite if desired. Add the 1/4 cup Marsala, and cook over high heat until reduced by half. Add the chicken broth and return the mushrooms to the pan, and again cook over highest heat until liquid is reduced by half. This should only take a few minutes. Add the optional cream, cook until boiling. Return the pork rounds to the pan, spooning bubbling sauce over them, and cook for a minute more on each side to rewarm and complete cooking. Add the last tablespoon of Marsala to ‘freshen’ the flavor of the sauce. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve immediately, spooning mushrooms and sauce over each serving. Sprinkle a bit of chopped parsley as garnish, if desired.