Backyard fig season. It is over.
Supermarket fig season. Hasn’t started yet.
What’s a girl to do? Eat caprese-everything and roast never-ending jalapenos? I guess, but it’s no where near as fun.
I’ve had my eye on this beauty of a recipe from Tide & Thyme for ages but after 2 parts poor planning and 1 part just not caring, I found myself with fewer figs and a different cut of meat than the recipe called for. But I didn’t let that stop me.
And with more madeira than we’d ever care to drink and no more figs to pair it with, I went all in and started the meat off in a madeira brine the night before to make the pork loin extra juicy.
It turned out to be one of those cook-once-and-eat-all-week meals. And not a single person complained. Especially when leftovers were served up with some brie in the form of a quesadilla.
If you absolutely must eat this for dinner tonight, skip the brine and go with the 1-hour marinade. There are no losers here.
Pork Loin with Madeira-Fig Sauce
An overnight rest in a madeira brine makes for an extra flavorful, juicy pork loin topped with a fresh fig and madeira sauce.
- For the brine:
- 1 cup madeira
- 2 minced cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup salt
- Black pepper
- ~3 lb pork loin
- Cold water
- For the sauce:
- Olive oil
- 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 2 shallots, finely diced (~1/3 cup)
- 1 tsp flour
- 1 lb figs, trimmed and quartered*
- 1 cup madeira
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- *I didn't have a full pound. We all survived. Also, I reserved a few quarters for tossing with the cooked sauce at the end.
- The night before, dissolve the salt in 4 cups of water in a deep dish (I used my dutch oven).
- Add the madiera, garlic, and a generous amount of pepper.
- Add the pork loin and then add enough water to just cover the meat, if necessary.
- Cover and refrigerate until the next evening.
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Discard the brine and transfer the pork to a place, patting them dry with a paper towel.
- Brush the meat with oil and season with black pepper and 1 tsp of salt.
- In a large pot or dutch oven (bonus points of it's oven-safe, it will cut down on a dirty dish - consider cutting the pork loin in half if size is a problem - I did), heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Sear the meat, turning every 2 minutes or so, until nicely browned all over.
- Transfer the meat to a plate and add butter and shallots to the pan.
- Stir in the remaining salt and flour and cook until the shallots have softened, ~3 minutes.
- Add the figs, madeira, red wine vinegar, and garlic to the pan, bringing to a simmer.
- Return the pork loin to the pot and transfer to the oven (or transfer everything to a large baking dish if you didn't have an oven-safe pot large enough).
- Bake to an internal temperature of 140 degrees, remove from the oven, and loosely tent with foil, letting the pork loin rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with the pan sauce.
Yields: 8 servings
Estimated time: 24 hours