Cookbook Profile

Pork Tenderloin with
Figs, Brandy and Parsnips

Serves 4


Figs or other dried fruit with pork make a great combination because the fruit marries nicely with the naturally sweet meat. I particularly like dried California Calimyrna figs but you could also use black mission figs. (Don't use the harder Turkish figs.) Prunes are a good substitute. Dried apricots are also delicious but they are chewier and need to be softened first by simmering in chicken stock or sitting in hot water while the pork cooks.


2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon salt, plus salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,
   plus pepper to taste
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 pork tenderloins, about 12 ounces each
2 pounds large parsnips
8 chives
12 dried California Calimyrna figs or
   16 black mission, 5 to 6 ounces
1/3 cup quality brandy or cognac
2/3 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg or mace


1. Put the oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Combine the 1 teaspoon salt, � teaspoon pepper, and allspice and spread the mixture on a pie plate or wax paper. Cut each tenderloin in half lengthwise. Roll the 4 pieces of pork in the seasoning mixture. Put the pork in the skillet, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, turning once.

2. While the pork cooks, peel the parsnips. Thinly slice crosswise as uniformly as possible while the hot-water tap runs. Put the slices and 1/3 cup of hot tap water in a microwave-safe container. Cover and cook in a microwave oven on high power for 10 minutes, or until just tender, shaking the container once during cooking. (Or put the parsnips in a deep skillet or wide saucepan and barely cover with hot water. Cover and cook over high heat for 10 minutes, or until just tender.)

3. Meanwhile, chop the chives. Remove the stems from the figs and halve lengthwise (kitchen shears work best for both of these tasks). Combine the figs with the brandy and stock in a small bowl.

4. After the pork has cooked for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low and gently add the brandy, stock, and fig mixture. Cover, raise the heat to high, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pork to a cutting board. Let the sauce reduce and thicken slightly for about 2 minutes while you slice the pork.

5. Drain the parsnips and toss with the chives, butter, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Put the pork on a platter and pour the sauce and figs over the top.


Cooking to Beat the Clock:
Delicious, Inspired Meals in 15 Minutes

By Sam Gugino
Photographs by Dawn Smith
Chronicle Books
Paperback, $16.95
40 full-color photographs
Publication Date: January 1999
ISBN: 0-8118-1860-8
Recipe Reprinted by permission.


Cooking to Beat the Clock



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This page created May 1999