PORK TENDERLOIN WITH LEEKS (ITALIAN)
Based on a Marcella Hazan recipe tweaked to make it a bit less heavy and calorific, we enjoyed an exceptionally subtle pork dish tonight, tenderloins braised on a bed of leeks, resulting in a delicately flavored, tender meat that could almost be mistaken for veal ...
Cut the roots and the wilted yellow ends from three or four leeks; wash well, sp lit them lengthwise, and then cut each into 1/2-inch segments. Rinse very well in plenty of running water (leeks can be VERY sandy), and drain.
In a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or quality nonstick pan, melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, and add all the cut-up leeks. Stir well, then cover and cook over low heat just until the leeks wilt and start to soften but not to brown. Add a bit of salt to taste, stir, and then take out about 2/3 of the leeks and reserve until later.
Put one more tablespoon of butter in the pan with the remaining leeks, turn up the heat, and then put in about 1 pound of pork tenderloin, turning frequently unt il it's browned on all sides. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste, and pour in 1/2 cup white wine, turning up heat until the wine comes to the boil. Cover, turn heat down to a very low simmer, and cook for about 30 minutes or until the pork is done and tender.
Remove the pork to a warm plate, and run the cooked leeks and pan juices through a Foley mill or process it in a Cuisinart to make a puree. Return the pork to the skillet with this puree and the reserved leeks, and warm over very low heat for an additional five to 10 minutes. Slice the pork into medallions and place them in a circle on a serving plate. Pour the leek mixture into the middle of the circle, and serve.
I served it with a rich, nutlike dark-brown "Wehani" brown rice from Lundberg Family Farms of Richvale, Calif., and thought it made a particularly felicitous match, but any brown rice or bulghur would work with it quite well -- or maybe a mound of whole-wheat pasta tossed with garlic.
A very dry and tart Pouilly-Fume (Loire Sauvignon Blanc) made a wonderful match. I think Brooklyn Brown Ale, were it available here, would have been an equally delightful beer match.