We're on the cusp of Easter weekend, which for many families means a big gathering, an egg hunt and a spiral cut ham.
If your family is a bit smaller and a ham, a roast chicken or a leg of lamb feels like overkill, a pork loin that serves four might be the way to go.
Creamy pear sauce adds a harbinger of summer sweetness to this dish. It's a mix of savory and sweet best accompanied by some unobtrusive sides — plain, fluffy biscuits and basic roasted asparagus are my picks (don't overseason the asparagus; you can swirl each bite in the pear sauce for extra flavor).
The recipe comes from an award-winning Taste of Home magazine recipe, though I've substituted green onions for shallots here. I opted for Anjou pears, but you might prefer Bosc if you want the pears to stay firmer in the heat.
If you have leftover pork loin, you can slice it thin and serve up biscuit sandwiches the next day with the pears for dessert.
Note: If you have trouble finding pear nectar, look in the international foods aisle at the grocery store; it's often stocked with the Goya-brand varieties.
Pork With Pear Cream Sauce
1 pork tenderloin (1 pound)
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons butter, divided
4 medium pears, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1-1/4 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 cup pear brandy or pear nectar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup pear nectar
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Sprinkle the pork with the herbes de Provence, salt and pepper.
In a skillet, brown the pork in 1 tablespoon butter on all sides. Transfer the pork to an oven-safe dish and bake for 18 to 25 minutes or until a meat thermometer pushed into the center reads 145 F.
Meanwhile, in the skillet, saute the sliced pears and sugar in 2 tablespoons butter until golden brown. Remove from pan and keep warm.
In the same pan, melt the remaining butter. Add the green onions and saute until tender. Stir in thyme.
Remove from heat. Add the 1/4 cup brandy or pear nectar. Return to medium heat and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated, stirring to loosen the browned bits from pan.
Add the cream and nectar. Cook and stir until slightly thickened.
Remove the pork from the oven and keep warm. Let the meat stand for 5 minutes before slicing.
Serve the sliced pork topped with the pears and cream sauce.
— Reach Mel Barber at email@example.com.