Pork Medallions with Braised Fennel
Slices of pork tenderloin, lightly seasoned and quickly sautéed in olive oil are delicious topped with garlic-thyme braised fennel, finished with cream and a little bit of tangy blue cheese. Mashed potatoes make a perfect accompaniment.
- 1 lb pork tenderloin
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 bulb fennel
- 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 ounce blue cheese (about 1 tablespoon - see notes)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Trim the pork tenderloin of any silver skin and fat, then cut it into 3/8-inch thick slices. Season the slices on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Trim the stalks from the fennel and reserve for another use (see notes). Save a few of the fronds, chop them for garnish and set aside. Cut the bulb into thin slices. It is not necessary to discard the core.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the fennel slices and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes, turning frequently. Add the chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until fennel is tender.
- While the fennel cooks, heat the remaining olive oil in a separate pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add about half of the pork slices in a single layer, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for 1-1/2 minutes per side (or to desired doneness). Transfer the cooked pork to a serving platter, cover to keep warm and repeat the process with the remaining slices.
- Remove the cover from the fennel, increase the heat to medium-high and simmer until nearly all of the broth has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the cream and heat through for 1 minute. Add the blue cheese and combine until smoothly melted, 1 minute longer.
- To serve, arrange the pork slices around the edge of a plate and mound the fennel in the center. Sprinkle with the reserved fronds for garnish.
Even if you're a big fan of blue cheese (we are too), don't be tempted to add any extra. A little bit complements the flavor of the fennel and the pork really well - too much would simply overpower the entire dish.
About the fennel stalks:
Don't throw away the fennel stalks. If you slice them very thinly, they make a great addition to a green salad dressed with freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and a little garlic.