Seared Pork Medallions with Three Peppercorn Sauce
Black, white and green peppercorns all come the same plant, Piper nigrum. Black peppercorns are the unripe berries of the plant; they are fermented and sundried, which turns their skins dark. White peppercorns are ripe, as they remain on the plant longer. Once harvested, they are soaked and their skin removed to reveal white seeds. They are milder than black peppercorns. Fresh tasting green peppercorns are picked unripe and then preserved by drying or bottling in brine.(medallions are small, boneless cuts from the pork tenderloin)
1 TB canola or Olive Oil
1 TB coarsely cracked black peppercorns
1 1/2 tsp coarsely cracked white peppercorns
1 TB Butter
1 Large shallot, minced
2 TB green peppercorns, drained if packed in brine
3 TB cognac or other brandy
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup beef stock, reduced to 1/4 cup
Pat the pork medallions dry with paper towel. Using a meat pounder, lightly pound them to an even thickness of about 1 1/4 inches.s Rub with the oil and let stand for 15 minutes. On a plate combine the black and white peppercorns. Push the medallions into the peppercorns, pressing firmly so they adhere.
Set a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle one side of the medallions with a tiny pinch of salt. When the pan is very hot, place the medallions, salted side down, in the pan (do not crowd). Cooking, without moving or pressing down on them, until lightly browned on the bottom, about 2 1/2 minutes. Season the tops of each medallion with a tiny pinch of salt, turn them over and cook without moving them, for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to very low and cook until just firm to the touch, about 1 1/2 minutes longer. Tranfer to a warm plate.
Wipe out the pan and return it to medium heat. Melt the butter, add the shallot, and saute until slightly soft, about 2 minutes. Add the green peppercorns and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add any accumulated juices from teh medallions to the pan, add the Cognac and 1/2 tsp salt, and raise the heat to medium-high. Shake the pan gently for 1 minute, then add the cream and reduced beef stock. Swirl to combine and simmer for one minute longer. Season to taste with salt.
Pour sauce over the medallions and serve at once.
1. Broth: I had one can of beef broth. I had to reduce it, but that probably wouldn't be that great. So I put the broth in a small pan, added a chunk of onion, some rosemary and some carrots...to had some extra flavor and help erase the metallic taste of the canned beef broth. (Generally speaking the canned chicken broth doesn't have the same metallic taste, manufacturers haven't been able to fix that in the beef broth.)
2. Peppercorns: The cracked peppercorns wouldn't have been enough, in terms of quantity to dip and press the pork into, for coating...so I sprinkled them one, making sure they were evenly coated.
3. Wiping the pan out: Sure, it helps, you will still have some nice carmelized flavors left in the pan...just wipe the crumbs, don't wash or rinse.
4. As I was using the canned broth, I didn't season the pork with salt. It was fine! Enough salt in the final sauce from the broth to season everything.
5. Final: This dish was great! Loved it. But the pepper is very obviously up front in terms of flavor. It's spicy, almost hot, but not really. The cream was good in cutting some of that a little bit. With the peppercorn crust and the green peppercorns in the sauce, there was a lovely contrast in texture from the smooth buttery pork medallions and the crunchy peppercorns.
As you can see, we served with carrots. If I were to do a starch, we think potatoes would be best. Maybe roasted or mashed! Delish!