Portion control. It’s something that allows me to eat pretty much anything I want and still lose weight. I mean, I’d rather eat a small amount of something I love than a big plate of something that’s just so-so. And with a dish like this, portion control is a must..but it’s so amazingly good, it’s also a challenge not to eat way more than I should. That being said, this isn’t a totally unhealthy recipe, in fact, with the exception of the oil and butter that the the pork and mushrooms are sauteed in, it’s not so bad. To cut the calories, you could probably bake the pork medallions, and maybe next time I’ll give that a try, but for now we’ll stick with a little oil and butter and some extra self-control.
Chicken marsala is something I’ve always loved and used to order it quite a bit when I’d go out to eat. But now that I’m serious about getting rid of this extra weight, I avoid dishes like this in restaurants because I’m sure they’re loaded with unnecessary amounts of extra calories, so instead I’ve started making “fancier” foods at home so that I can control the ingredients. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen pork marsala on a restaurant menu, which is a shame for all those restaurants because this is WAY better than the chicken version. It’s literally melt-in-your mouth good..ever had a piece of chicken you could say that about? I sure haven’t!
My family loves pork in pretty much any form, and since pork tenderloin is the leanest variety of pork, it’s one of those meats that’s a regular on my grocery list. In the summer I usually grill it, and in the winter it’s usually pan-seared then roasted in the oven. Both of those methods result in tender, tasty pieces of tenderloin, but when you eat anything on a weekly basis, it can get a little boring. So I knew I needed to come up with some new ways of using my old favorite, and this dish was the perfect place to start.
This method requires a little more work than grilling or roasting pork tenderloin, but it’s so worth the extra effort. If you’re a beginning cook, this may seem a little overwhelming, but trust me, it’s not hard at all. Most tenderloins are about a pound each, so you’ll want to cut each tenderloin into 8 equal-sized pieces, about 2-ounces each, cutting cross-wise through the tenderloin. Working with 2 or 3 pieces at a time, place the pork between 2 big pieces of plastic wrap, leaving about 2 inches between the meat pieces. You’ll need a meat mallet for the pounding part, and you’ll be using the flat side..don’t use the bumpy side because you’ll end up with a shredded pile of plasticy pork! Gently pound them to about 1/3″ thick..the tenderloin is very tender so it won’t take much pounding. And don’t go too thin, because as good as pork tenderloin is, it’s pretty lousy when it’s over-cooked, and the thinner the pieces, the more quickly they’re going to cook. Once you’re done with all the pounding, you can throw the pork back in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them, or move right along to the cooking and eating.
To brown the pork, coat the medallions in a little flour that’s been seasoned with salt and pepper, shake off the excess flour, then, in batches, saute them in a large skillet over medium-high heat until they’re lightly browned but not fully cooked..you want to leave them a little pink in the middle. For this type of browning, I never use non-stick skillets..I’m just not comfortable getting them that hot..but if it’s what you prefer to use, then you can get away with using a little less oil. Place the browned pork on a large platter and cover with foil while you make the sauce. See, not hard at all, right?
Next you’re going to saute your onions and mushrooms and make the sauce using the wine, chicken stock, and a little cornstarch to thicken it up just a bit. Then you’re going to throw those delicious little pork medallions into the sauce and heat them a few minutes until they’re heated through..then you’re done! All you need now is some pasta, rice, or in my case, mashed potatoes, to soak up that delicious sweet sauce, and since we’re trying to be healthy here, a green veggie for good measure. Oh yeah, and maybe a glass of marsala too…
From start to finish you should be able to put this entire recipe together in less than an hour, and that’s including the cutting and pounding part. Not bad for something that tastes and looks like it should be on the menu of the fanciest restaurant in town!
- 2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- salt and pepper
- 2-4 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup shallots or sweet onions, finely chopped
- 2 cups sliced baby bella or white mushrooms
- 1½ cups marsala wine
- 1½ cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1-2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
- Slicing crosswise, cut the pork tenderloins into 8 equally-sized pieces. Place the tenderloin pieces with the cut side up between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently pound to about ⅓”-1/2″ thick.
- In a shallow dish or pie plate, combine the flour with a pinch of salt and pepper. Season the pork pieces with salt and pepper, then dredge in the flour so that they’re completely covered, and shake to remove any excess flour.
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high. Brown the pork pieces in the oil, about 2-3 minutes per side. The pork should just be lightly browned and still a little pink on the inside. Place the pork on a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Add more oil for each batch of pork that you brown.
- Once all of the pork is browned, remove the pan from the heat and pour off any remaining oil, leaving the browned bits on the bottom of the skillet.
- Add the butter to the skillet and melt over medium-low heat. Add the onions or shallots and a pinch of salt and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook about another 5 minutes, stirring often, until they begin to soften. If needed, add a little more butter.
- Increase the heat to medium and add the marsala wine, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer over medium until the wine is reduced by half, about 5-10 minutes.
- Stir in 1 cup of the chicken stock and continue to simmer over medium heat. Stir the corn starch into the remaining ½ cup of chicken stock, and slowly stir it into the sauce. Continue to simmer the sauce over medium heat, stirring often, another 5 minutes or so until it just begins to thicken.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, taste sauce for seasoning, and add additional salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the parsley, then add the pork medallions to the sauce and heat through until the pork is just slightly pink inside and the sauce thickens a little more, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to over-cook the pork as it will become tough once it’s over-done.
- Serve immediately with pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes.