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Pork Tenderloin with Thyme and Figs

If you like, serve this juicy roasted tenderloin with soft polenta sprinkled with toasted walnuts and crumbled blue cheese. It makes a beautiful wintertime dinner, when dried figs are especially welcome at the table.

Ingredients:

  • 12 dried mission figs, stemmed and halved 
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine 
  • 1 pork tenderloin, 1 to 1 1/4 lb. 
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs 
  • 1 Tbs. fig jam or honey
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest 

Directions:

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the figs and wine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain the figs, reserving the wine.

Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Pat the pork tenderloin dry with paper towels. Trim the fat and any silvery membrane. Season with salt and pepper.

In an ovenproof fry pan over high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pork and turn to brown on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Arrange the figs and thyme sprigs around the pork. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 145°F, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pork and figs to a platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Add the reserved wine, the jam and lemon zest to the fry pan. Set over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom, until the mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs.

Cut the pork diagonally across the grain into slices 1/2 inch thick. Arrange the figs around the pork and spoon the sauce over both the pork and figs. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor House, 2008).