Pork with Juniper Berries

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I love Sundays, especially SAVEUR Sunday when I tackle another delicious recipe from my favorite magazine. Appearing in the November 2014 issue, Filetto di Maiale con Bacche di Ginepro, also known as Pork with Juniper Berries, is an aromatic pan-seared pork tenderloin straight from the kitchen of Chef Maria Luisa Scolastra of Villa Roncalli in Italy.

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This was the first time I ever used juniper berries. To me, they smell a bit floral when purchased dried in the spice aisle. I can’t place my finger on what type of flavor it imparts to a dish, so I looked up and it was best described as having a “clear” flavor that many find pleasant. I know I did.

Word to the wise though, the berries are meant for flavoring, not to eat. While I display them in my dish here, that is to show you that they were used in the preparation of this meal. Please make sure to remove them before serving.

Also, juniper berries are quite difficult to source. Very little everyday grocery stores carry the product. I found mine at Whole Foods. I suggest going there or calling your local grocer first to see if they carry the ingredient.

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I hope you like making and devouring this dish! How could you not? It’s pork on pork, with tons of aromatics.

Pork Tenderloin with Juniper Berries

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

    Side Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 8 oz green beans, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sage, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pork Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz pancetta, diced
  • 1 (1-lb) pork tenderloin
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp juniper berries
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Instructions

  1. Make the Potatoes: Heat the oil in skillet over medium-high. Cook the potatoes until golden, 10–12 minutes. Stir in the green beans, sage, garlic, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium; cook, covered, until potatoes are tender, 6–8 minutes. Transfer to a platter, and keep warm.
  2. Make the Pork: Wipe the skillet clean and heat the oil over medium-high. Cook the pancetta until crisp, 2–3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a plate. Season the pork with salt and pepper; cook, turning as needed, until browned, 8–10 minutes. Add the juniper berries, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and garlic; cook 1–2 minutes. Add the wine; cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from bottom of skillet, until evaporated, 12–15 minutes. Add the stock; boil. Reduce the heat to medium; cook, slightly covered, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into pork reads 145 degrees F. Let the pork rest 5 minutes, then slice into ½" thick pieces. Transfer the pork to the potato and green bean-filled platter.
  3. Simmer the sauce in the pan until thickened, 10-12 minutes. Discard the herbs and stir in reserved pancetta, salt and pepper. Spoon it over the pork.
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Recipe slightly adapted from SAVEUR

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