If a dish I’m cooking has Roquefort in it (or even near it as a garnish), my spouse, displaying a near-Palovian response, can’t wait to try it. Imagine then his excitement when I recently served roasted pork tenderloins topped with an unusual Roquefort sauce. I discovered the recipe in a small French community cookbook given to me by a Parisian friend.
Roquefort, definitely the star in this entrée, is combined with crème fraîche and Dijon mustard, then spread atop and along the sides of sautéed pork tenderloins. The tenderloins and some chopped shallots are enclosed in foil and roasted until tender. The delicious juices remaining in the foil packages after roasting are transferred to a pan, then turned into a “sauce au Roquefort.” I tweaked this recipe slightly, studding the pork with garlic slivers and adding roasted Bosc pear wedges as an autumn garnish.
Although my husband savors all blue cheeses, his favorite remains Roquefort, often referred to as the king of cheeses. Rich, tangy, and slightly moist, this sheep’s milk cheese has a unique taste. During the many years I wrote a nationally syndicated food column, whenever Roquefort was called for in a recipe, I always added “or other good quality blue cheese.” Without fail a few weeks later, a representative of Roquefort cheese in the States would send me a letter stating that “There is no substitute for Roquefort!” I still smile at that memory!
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Roasted Pork Tenderloins with Roquefort Crème Fraiche Sauce
2 pork tenderloins, each about 1 to 1 1/4 pds
4 oz Roquefort 2 tbsp crème fraîche
2 tbsp Dijon mustard with seeds
4 medium garlic cloves, halved and then cut into slivers
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp canola oil
1/3 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken stock plus extra if needed
Rosemary sprigs for garnish, optional
1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Have ready two sheets of aluminum foil each cut about18 inches long plus a rimmed baking sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the Roquefort, crème fraiche, and mustard until blended. Remove and reserve 2 tablespoons of this mixture for the sauce.
3. Trim pork tenderloins of any excess fat and with a sharp knife remove as much of the thin membranes (called “silver skin) as possible. Stud each tenderloin with half of the garlic slivers, then pat dry with paper towels. Salt and pepper the tenderloins well. Fold tapered end of each tenderloin in about 2 inches, and tie with string so roasts have an even diameter.
4. Heat oil in a flame-proof roasting pan set over medium heat. When quite hot, add pork tenderloins. Sauté on all sides until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes or more. Remove the meat from the pan and remove pan from heat. Off the heat, add the shallots to the pan, and stir for 30 seconds just to soften slightly. Transfer each tenderloin to a sheet of aluminum foil and scatter half the shallots around each. Set aside the roasting pan for making the sauce after the pork is roasted.
5. Spread the tenderloins on top and part way down their sides with the Roquefort mixture. Then fold the foil around each tenderloin and pinch to form a packet. Transfer packets to the baking sheet. Roast the tenderloins until slightly pink inside, 15 to 20 minutes. Open packets (carefully as there will be steam inside) to check for doneness. An instant read thermometer stuck in the center of each roast should read 145 to 150 degrees. Watch carefully so you don’t overcook.
6. Remove packets to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Open packets carefully again (since there will be steam inside), and transfer juices and shallots to the reserved roasting pan. Set the pan over medium high heat. Whisk the chicken stock and the 2 tablespoons of remaining Roquefort mixture into the pan. Cook, whisking constantly until sauce has thickened slightly and is hot, 3 to 4 minutes or more. If sauce becomes too thick, thin with extra stock. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
7. Cut roasts on the diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices. Serve each portion napped with some Roquefort pan sauce, and if desired, garnished with a rosemary sprig. Pass extra sauce in a small bowl. Serve with roasted pears. Serves 6.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2019
Roasted Pear Wedges Sprinkled with Rosemary
6 slightly ripe Bosc or Bartlett pears, quartered and cored, stems left on
4 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place pears in a 3-quart baking dish (a 9 by 13-inch pyrex will work). Whisk the balsamic and olive oil together in a small bowl until blended. Pour over the pears and toss well to coat with the mixture. Arrange the pears skins sides up in the dish.
3. Transfer the dish to the oven and roast 10 minutes. Then turn pears and continue to roast until tender when pierced with a sharp knife, 20 to 25 minutes or longer. (Pears can be roasted 2 hours in advance; reheat in a 350 degree oven until warm, about 10 minutes.) Serve pears garnished with a sprinkle of rosemary. Serves 6.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2019