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Simple Sous-Vide Pork Tenderloin paired with McLaren Vale Cabernet Touriga 2015.
Do you like kitchen gadgets? It can be hard to find truly useful gadgets for a smaller kitchen. I rely on a hand mixer, a small wand blender with a grinder/chopping attachment and a combination slow cooker and pressure cooker. Many of the most aspirational gadgets are really best for family cooking. Don’t we all want equipment that we will use again and again rather than things that gather dust in the back of the cupboard? As a result, it takes me time to decide about getting a new gadget for the kitchen. I’ve been weighing up the benefits of a small sous-vide for some time and I’m truly glad I’ve taken the plunge. The Anova Nano immersion circulator was a present – and so far it’s proving to be the latest ‘must-have’ for me simply because it makes cooking for one or two much easier. For example, sous-vide pork tenderloin here is cooked in a water bath simply with a few fresh herbs, then seared in butter and served with a classic cream and dijon mustard sauce. It’s a recipe that I’ve made without the benefit of the sous-vide on many occasions and it’s a recipe that is vastly improved by sous-vide.
Sous-vide is a process where you vacuum seal your food in a bag (you can do this with a ziplock bag or using a vacuum sealer), then cook it at a very precise temperature in a water bath. While it’s not a technique that works for every recipe, it can be used to cook delicate meats to perfection or to tenderise tough meat by holding it at the perfect temperature, without drying out, until all the cartilage and fat has broken down. In the case of pork tenderloin, it falls into the former category. It’s already extremely tender but it’s lean and very mild in flavour. That combination means cooking pork tenderloin can be a challenge – it quickly becomes tough and dry.
If you are cooking without a sous-vide, I’d recommend cutting the pork tenderloin into medallions which can be pan-fried reasonably quickly in butter. The result won’t be the same, but so long as you manage the cooking time carefully, you’ll still have a delicious meal. Alternatively, you could try filling it with a suitable filling, like this black-pudding stuffed pork tenderloin. Cooking pork tenderloin with a sous-vide though means you can keep the entire tenderloin in one piece if you are cooking for four to six people. If you are making a meal for one or two, cut the appropriate portion size and put it into a vacuum-sealed bag or into a zip-lock and use the water dispersion method to create the vacuum so your bag doesn’t float in the water.
Season the tenderloin well with salt and pepper and a few sprigs of fresh herbs – I used thyme and rosemary. Then put the pork tenderloin in the bag of your choice and seal carefully. Set up your sous-vide and cook to your own personal preference. My own sous-vide pork tenderloin was cooked at 60C for 75 minutes. That resulted in a medium cooked tenderloin which kept all its flavour and had a soft buttery texture. You could, according to Anova, continue to sous-vide for up to four hours total so this would be a great way to prepare meat if you were entertaining.
The Anova website gives clear instructions about how long to cook your meat and at what temperature to get the perfect sous-vide pork tenderloin. Preheat your sous-vide to the right temperature before you start, then just put the meat in and leave it to cook.
Medium Rare: 130°F / 54.4°C for 1 to 4 hours
Medium: 140°F / 60°C for 1 to 4 hours
Medium Well: 150°F / 66°C for 1 to 4 hours
Well Done: 160°F / 71°C for 1 to 4 hours.
About 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, heat a little butter in a skillet which is large enough for your whole piece of tenderloin. Soften the shallot and put to one side. Remove your tenderloin from the water bath and open the bag carefully. If necessary add a little more butter to the skillet and once it is just sizzling a little add the tenderloin and brown on all sides. Put to one side and allow to rest while you make the dijon sauce. Add a teaspoon of dijon mustard and about 100 ml of chicken stock or white wine. Reduce the mixture down by 50% and take off the heat. Stir through 50 ml of double cream and a handful of fresh parsley.
Carve the meat and then drizzle the sauce over, finishing with a garnish of parsley chiffonade.
Now, all good meals deserve a matching wine. I started making this dish with a view to matching it with Hancock & Hancock Cabernet 2015 Touriga, McLaren Vale. It’s a South Australian wine made from a mixture of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon with 10% Touriga, a Portuguese varietal. The McLaren Vale vineyard houses old vines, some over 80 years old, on South-East facing slopes, with three distinct soil types as you move down the hillside. After a first fermentation, this wine had a secondary malolactic fermentation before being aged in a mixture of barrique, hogshead and French oak barrels. It’s a lovely blackcurrant and crushed leaf flavoured wine which the makers suggest will pair well with grilled and roasted red meats.
It was a delicious pairing with the sous-vide pork tenderloin, though I suspect that was partly because of the piquant dijon mustard sauce. I also enjoyed drinking it after our meal. It’s the kind of wine that is hard to stop drinking once you’ve had a glassful and which I’d recommend with steak or with smokey ribs. It would make a good top-end barbecue wine too.
If you’d like to try making sous-vide pork tenderloin yourself, here’s the recipe.
An easy recipe for sous-vide pork tenderloin with a simple cream and mustard sauce
- 250 g Pork Tenderloin
- 20 g Butter
- 1 Shallot Finely diced
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 50 ml Cream
- 100 ml Chicken Stock Or white wine
- 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary
- 1 handful Fresh Parsley
- Salt and Pepper
Season the pork tenderloin with salt and pepper
Press the sprigs of thyme and rosemary
Place the tenderloin in a vacuum bag and seal
Place the bag in the water bath with sous-vide set to 59C for a least one hour and up to four hours
10 minutes before you want to serve the sous-vide pork tenderloin, melt the butter in a skillet large enough to cook the tenderloin
Soften the shallot and set to one side
Take the tenderloin out of the water bath, carefully open and remove.
Sear the tenderloin on all sides, adding more butter to the skillet as needed
Remove the pork tenderloin and set to one side
Add the stock or wine into the skillet, stir through the mustard and reduce down a little.
Take the pan off the heat, add the cream and most of the parsley, reserving a little to garnish
Warm through gently
Slice the pork into thick medallions
Serve the medallions with the sauce drizzled over the top and garnished with the remainder of the parsley
This simple recipe serves two people. Scale it up for up to six people with a larger piece of tenderloin. Cooking your meat in the Sous-Vide means that it will be perfect, without any dryness or chewy texture.
An Anova Nano Sous-Vide Immersion Circulator retails for around £99. I’d recommend also buying a vacuum sealer which you can use for all kinds of food storage. Before I got the Anova Sous-Vide I was improvising and I have made a number of sous-vide dishes which I’ve shared on here already. Check out my Sous-Vide Salmon or my Sous-Vide Duck Breast with Thyme and Honey for more inspiration.
Hancock & Hancock Cabernet 2015 Touriga, McLaren Vale is available at £14.95 RRP from Hedonism Wines