I would never have made this dinner were it not for a trip to Stew Leonard’s. CT’s famous (or infamous if you don’t like singing milk cartons and talking chickens) dairy store had a whole case of these babies for $9.99.
So home they came. Now what to do with them.
We ate some plain, of course, and the little foodies all tried one. They were ambivalent about the flavor, and to be truthful, I think these figs were overripe. However, I am not a fig expert. They looked pretty, so I ate them.
Next, I paired some wedges with the Cambozola cheese—fantastic!
And lastly, I turned to the Internet for some inspiration with the dozen or so leftover figs. The California Fresh Figs website will tell you everything you want to know about figs. And it told me about this recipe: Pork with Pinot-Infused Fig Chutney. I could taste this before I even bought the remaining ingredients. You could say it sang to me. (That might seem dramatic to non-foodies, but the rest of you know what I’m talking about.)
Can you tell I need to sharpen my knives? It looks like I sawed through this pork with an electric carving knife. It really was tender. Really.
Some other recipes that caught my eye: Brie-Stuffed Figs with Truffle Ham Hock Risotto and Balsamic Port Reduction, Saucy California Baked Figs, and Turkey Sliders with California Pepper Fig Salsa.
Pork with Pinot-Infused Fig Chutney
For the chutney:
- 1 cup chopped dried or fresh California figs
- 1 cup Pinot wine
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 cinnamon sticks [I used one large stick]
For the pork brine:
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup fresh rosemary leaves [I used less, dried]
- 1 teaspoon coarse pepper
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, smashed
- 1 1/2–2 pounds pork tenderloin
[Don’t let the word “brine” scare you. Every part of this dish was amazing.]
- For chutney, stir ingredients all together in small saucepan. Heat to boil; reduce heat, simmer, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover; increase heat slightly, cook 10 minutes more or until liquid has all evaporated. Remove cinnamon sticks (may be prepared several days ahead and stored in refrigerator.)[I made this the day before.]
- For brine, combine boiling water and salt in mixing bowl, stir to dissolve; cool. Arrange a gallon-size resealable plastic bag in a large bowl to keep it upright and pour in salt-water, remaining brine ingredients, and pork; seal well. Put sealed bag on a sheet pan or large rimmed plate in case of leaks. Chill for 48 hours, turning bag occasionally. [I only chilled for 24 hours. It was still delicious, but I would plan to do 48 hours next time for maximum flavor and tenderness.]
- Remove pork from brine, drain and rinse thoroughly; pat dry. Cook on a well-oiled grill over medium-high heat for about 40 minutes [mine didn’t take nearly this long; probably 20 minutes], turning occasionally, until pork is cooked to medium (160°F).
- To serve, slice pork and serve with warm chutney sprinkled with chopped fresh rosemary.
- Serves 4-6.