Thyme Dusted Pork Medallions with Pear and Rutabaga Mash

Pork tenderloin is a delicious weeknight dinner and it cooks up really fast when sliced into pork medallions. Everyone knows that pork, sweet potatoes and apples are great together but did you know that porky loves to be partnered up with rutabaga and pear as well? Aside from being fun to say, old fashioned rutabaga is kind of like a squash and every bit as delicious. The saucy yellow/orange mash and thyme scented meat is, to coin a phrase, “what’s for dinner.”

It’s that easy: If you’re not familiar with them, rutabagas can usually be found near the potato and onion bin at your market. They are quite large and look like giant gold and brown turnips. Just peel, slice and dice them down and store the remaining rutabaga in the fridge for another use such as in soups or stews.

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Hands on time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

1 pork tenderloin cut into 1-in thick rounds
Salt for sprinkling plus 1/2 teaspoon
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups (about 1 1/2 lbs) rutabaga, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 shallot, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt plus more for sprinkling
1 cup orange juice, 2 or 3 oranges squeezed or from the carton
2 pears, peeled, cored and diced into1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 teaspoon orange zest

Preparation

Sprinkle the pork with salt, pepper and thyme, patting it on so that it adheres.

Heat a 12-inch frying pan with a lid over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil shimmers add the pork medallions to the pan, thyme side down and brown them, about 2 minutes. Turn them over to brown the other side, about 2 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate. They are not cooked through at this point.

Add the rutabaga. shallot and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the hot pan and sauté the vegetables for about 2 minutes to get them hot and started cooking. Add the orange juice and bring it to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer the vegetables for about 10 minutes. Stir in the pear and cook another 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter, top with the pork medallions, cover and cook another 3 minutes to finish cooking the pork. Transfer the meat to two heated plates. Taste the vegetables and season them with more salt and freshly ground black pepper. There should be some liquid in the pan. If there’s more than 1/4 cup, pour some of it off. Add the orange zest and mash the rutabaga pear mixture with a potato masher. Scoop the rutabaga mash onto the heated plates with the pork and dot it with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter.

Extra Hungry? A salad of radicchio and endive tossed with a splash of balsamic, a glug of olive oil and a scattering of goat cheese crumbles rounds out this meal perfectly.

In the glass: If you’ve read through a few of my recipes it should come as no surprise that I love pork and I love Pinot Noir. So guess what I’d want to drink with this meal? Look for a bottle from Cloudline or Castle Rock for a tasty glass for under $20.

Serves 4

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