Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Carrots and Salsify

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Boldly flavored and colorful on the plate, this dish pairs carrots with salsify — a woefully underappreciated, delicious root vegetable — to make a filling main course, perfect for an autumn or wintertime dinner for a crowd.

4 cups water
1/2 lemon
1 pound salsify
1 pound carrots
2 1-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat
Kosher or fine sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup drained canned chickpeas, rinsed and blotted dry
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp unsweetened dried cranberries
1 Tbsp firmly packed light brown sugar
1 star anise pod
1/4 tsp pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

2. Pour the water into a bowl and squeeze in the juice from the lemon. Trim and peel the salsify, cut into 3/4-inch lengths, and immediately drop into the lemon water to prevent discoloration. Drain the salsify and blot dry with paper towels. Peel and cut the carrots to match the size of the salsify pieces. Set aside.

3. Season the pork generously on all sides with salt and pepper. Place a 12-inch ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high. Add the oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the pork tenderloins and sear on all sides until browned and nicely caramelized, about 6 minutes total. Transfer the pork to a large plate.

4. Add the salsify to the pan and sauté, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add the carrots and continue to sauté, stirring frequently, until the carrots and salsify are browned at the edges, about 5 minutes longer. Add the chickpeas and 1/2 tsp salt and stir for 1 minute longer. Use a spatula to make two wide channels through the vegetables, and arrange the pork tenderloins in the channels so they rest directly on the pan bottom and the vegetables surround them on all sides.

5. Place the pan in the oven and roast the pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a tenderloin registers 140 to 145 degrees, about 10 minutes. The center should be rosy when cut into with a knife. Transfer the pork to a carving board and tent loosely with aluminum foil.

6. Place the pan with the vegetables over medium heat. (Remember that the handle is hot.) Add the orange juice, water, cranberries, brown sugar, star anise, pimentón, and 1/4 tsp pepper and mix well. Bring to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Stir in the butter, parsley, and oregano. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

7. To serve, cut the pork on a slight diagonal into 1-inch-thick slices. Arrange a portion of the vegetables in the center of each warmed dinner plate and fan three or four slices of pork over the top. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Recipe by Diane Morgan from Roots: The Definitive Compendium with More Than 225 Recipes, Chronicle Books (2012)

Photo by Antonis Achilleos


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