Grilled Medallions of Pork in Black Cherry-Pepper Sauce with Spaetzle and Braised Fennel

Grilled Pork Medallions
This German-inspired dish is one of my personal favorites. The sweet tartness of the black cherries perfectly offsets the flavor of the pork, and the black pepper adds just the right amount of bite. The deep colors of the pork and Black Cherry-Pepper sauce look lovely with spätzle, and Braised Fennel is a delicately flavored accompaniment. This recipe calls for glace de viande. Glace de viande is made by heating a stock over medium-high heat—skimming impurities as they rise to the surface—until reduced to a thick, gelatinous syrup. One quart of beef, chicken, fish, or white veal stock yields about 1/2 cup of glace de viande and is packed with concentrated flavor that will enhance all your German meat and fish dishes, soups, and sauces. Glace de viande keeps in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or you can freeze it in an airtight container or wrapped ice cube tray for up to 3 months. If you don't have time to make your own, there are now several high-quality packaged preparations on the market. Otherwise, you can simply leave it out of this recipe, as it is terrific even without it.
Course Entree
Keyword grilled, Pitted cherries, Pork tenderloin

Ingredients

For the Pork Medallions:

  • 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloins
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Black Cherry-Pepper Sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pound fresh pitted cherries or 1/2 canned pitted cherries in juice, divided
  • 1 tbsp Asbach Uralt
  • 1 tsp glace de viande
  • sea salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

For the Braised Fennel:

  • 2 fennel bulbs with greens
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots diced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp Absinthus or other German absinthe

For the spaetzle:

  • 1 package Bechtle Bavarian Style Spätzle 500 g

Instructions

For the Pork Medallions:

  • Cut the tenderloins into pieces about 1 inch thick. Season with the salt and pepper.
  • Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Grill the tenderloins until golden brown, about 2 minutes each side.

For the Black Cherry-Pepper Sauce:

  • Place sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a medium-sized stockpot and caramelize the sugar over low heat. Add two-thirds of the cherries, 3 cups water, Asbach Uralt, and glace de viande. Cook until the cherries are soft, and then remove from heat.
  • Place the cherry mixture in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve into a saucepan. Reduce over medium-low heat until it becomes syrupy, about 2 minutes. Add salt to taste and the black pepper.

For the Braised Fennel:

  • Remove the greens from the fennel bulbs and reserve. Cut the bulbs into quarters. Remove the root, as it is bitter. Using a mandoline, cut the fennel into fine strips. If you do not own a mandoline, cut the fennel into juliennes.
  • In a sauté pan, melt the butter. Add the shallots and cook until glossy, about 1 minute. Add the fennel and cook until tender. Add the cream and reduce until it has a coating consistency. Season with the salt and pepper. Add the Absinthus. Chop and add the reserved fennel greens.

For the spaetzle:

  • Prepare the spätzle according to the package instructions. You may wish to sauté the spätzle in butter before serving.

Presentation:

  • Place the spätzle on the center of each serving plate. Place the pork medallions around the spätzle and drizzle with the Black Cherry-Pepper Sauce. Using two tablespoons, shape the Braised Fennel into quenelles and place them between the pork medallions. Slice the remaining 1/3 cup cherries in half and use as garnish.
Adapted for the CMA from Biró: European-Inspired Cuisine (Gibbs Smith 2005). © Marcel Biró and Shannon Kring Biró. All rights reserved. Photo credit: Marty Snortum.

Notes

!Wine Pairings:
Urziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett by Alfred Merkelbach Germany
Selbach-Oster Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spätlese Mosel, Germany