Slow-cooked Tenderloin, Pure and Simple

Pork Tenderloin

A luxuriantly leisurely roast from Janet Wynne Evans that takes a good 4-5 hours in a slow cooker but is well worth the wait and will show off best bottles to a tee. A slow, leisurely roast seems to bring out the best both in expensive and cheaper tenderloins. The meat gets a good browning and then 4-5 hours in a slow cooker. The benefit of buying your fillet from the butcher is that you can request (a) a nice layer of fat which will melt away in the cooking and flavour the juices, and (b) the bones. These I use as a trivet for the meat and don't discard them when their work is done. Hold the icky-sticky barbecue sauce, for they will be the best ribs you have ever had. I have often sneaked a couple while pretending to be so busy in my very small kitchen that all boarders are repelled. Now guests will know why!

Janet Wynne Evans

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 kg pork fillet, in one piece, tied, with bones if possible
  • 1 large onion, wedged into eighths
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • A bouquet garni of bay leaves, thyme and parsley stalks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 120ml double cream

Method

Note: slow cookers vary enormously so always follow your handbook, and have a meat thermometer at the ready. Some need to be preheated, others don't. This dish takes a good four hours on my HIGH Crock-Pot setting, correspondingly longer on models offering AUTO or MEDIUM. I tend to avoid LOW unless keeping cooked food warm.

Firstly, ensure the meat is at room temperature by removing it from the fridge an hour before you are ready to cook. Preheat your slow-cooker for 20 minutes if your model requires it.

If you have the bones, preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6-7. Lay the bones in a roasting pan and brown for 20-35 minutes until the rawness has disappeared.

Heat a large frying pan and add the oil. Season the joint generously with salt and pepper and carefully lower, fat side down into the pan. Brown it thoroughly, for a few minutes on each side, including both ends. I find it helps to stand it on end wedged in long barbecue tongs.

Remove from the pan and keep warm. Add the wedges of onion and brown them too.

When all that's done, remove the bones from the oven and drain off the rendered fat (save it for roast potatoes).

Remove the lid of the cookpot and work fast now to minimise heat loss. Place the loin of pork at the bottom, in contact with the heat, and tuck the bones and onion wedges around it. Push in the bay leaves and the herbs. Replace the lid and don't touch for 4 hours. If you do sneak a peek, be willing to atone for your impatience with an extra 15 minutes on the cooking time. I know they eat late in Spain, but really, don't be tempted!

After 4 hours, remove the lid of the cookpot and insert your meat thermometer. It should register at least 75°C. If it does, it's done and you can remove it to rest for 20 minutes in a warm place. If not, give it another half-hour. It won't come to any harm if you leave it longer, but the meat will become ever-more tender and friable, not conducive to a nice slice. The joint will also have shrunk quite a bit. If you like your pork pulled rather than manicured, this matters not.

Strain the contents of the pot into a bowl or jug, retrieving the bones as advised, for instant gratification, or even a little appetiser for your patient guests.

Strain the cooking liquid through some kitchen paper into a small pan to defat the cooking juices and reduce these until it tastes right - if there is very little juice, add some wine to what there is and boil down until syrupy and concentrated. Finish with a couple of tablespoons of double cream whisked in until bubbling thickly. Pour into a warmed sauce-boat and bring to the table with the pork.

I serve this with roasted Savoy cabbage and baby potatoes with their skins on.

Wine Recommendations:

This is an immensely forgiving recipe which wallows happily with any mellow, fruity wine of any colour. Riesling has a definite rapport with pork, so Riesling Tradition, Kuentz-Bas is a good choice. For reds, try Corbières Château Ollieux Romanis or celebrate another great pork producer, Corsica, with Fiumeseccu from Domaine Alzipratu; but this is gentle enough not to scare off a good Bordeaux.

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