Pork tenderloin is a great midweek dish because it takes so little time to prepare. The pan sauce in this recipe - with cherry, port and chocolate flavors - perfectly complements the pork and brings a unique element to the dish. Be sure to add the recipe to your file for a quick weeknight meal or an impressive party dish.

Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin with Dark Chocolate, Cherry, Port Pan Sauce

  • 1½ cups tawny port
  • ½ cup dried tart cherries
  • ½ cup dried sweet cherries
  • ½ cup aged balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp grape seed oil
  • 1 1½-lb pork tenderloin
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp ice-cold unsalted butter
  • 1 to 2 pinches freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 oz dark chocolate, more than 60 percent cocoa
  • pea tendrils, for garnish

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a medium saucepan, combine port, cherries, balsamic vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a low boil, then lower heat to a simmer and reduce by half, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed pan, heat grape seed oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Season pork with salt and pepper, and add pork to the pan. Brown tenderloin on all sides, about 1½ to 3 minutes per side. You'll need to turn the tenderloin 3 times to sear it completely.

Place the pan in the oven, and cook the pork to an internal temperature of 150ºF to 155ºF, about 8 to 12 minutes. Remove the pan from oven, put the tenderloin on a platter and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Once the pan sauce has reduced, purée it until smooth in a blender or with an immersion blender. If you used a blender, add the sauce back to the pan. Reheat. Remove from heat, and stir in the butter. Add remaining spices and chocolate, and stir until completely incorporated.

Spoon sauce onto a plate. Cut the tenderloin into 1½- to 2-inch slices on the diagonal, and arrange slices on top of sauce. Garnish with pea tendrils and serve.


Trimming the tenderloin: It's necessary to inspect the tenderloin and trim any silverskin (elastin) to ensure an even texture throughout the meat. If left on, the silverskin becomes chewy and rubbery.

Reducing the sauce: It's important to keep any gastrique (balsamic reduction) thin when warm, as it will set up and become thick upon cooling.

Resting the meat: All your meat-preparation efforts will be lost if the meat doesn't go through a proper resting phase. During the cooking process, all of the juices and fats have been forced into the center of the protein, and they create pressure. When you cut into the meat, that pressure is released, and the juices are lost on the platter. Letting meat rest allows the essential juices to be re-absorbed. As a result, when the meat is sliced, no juices will run, and the product will stay moist and tender all the way through.


Join FEAST and the Schnucks Cooking School Team on Wed., Sept. 28, at 6pm to make the tasty menu below. Tickets are just $40 for a night of cooking, dining and wine. RSVP at schnuckscooks.com.

On The Menu

  • Black currant goat cheese salad
  • Pan-seared pork tenderloin with dark chocolate, cherry, port pan sauce
  • Roasted beets
  • Sweet potato custard with brown sugar caramel brûlée