Pork tenderloin poached in milk and seared in rhubarb syrup, roasted peaches, candied rhubarb segments and wild blackberry pickles, milk and peach sauce

This recipe was partially inspired by the Britton chef Olivier Bellin, at least for the unusual method of poaching the filet mignon -this term referring mainly to the pork tenderloin in French and generally not to the beef cut as in English- in milk. I added a few twists to this recipe, such as rubbing the loin with salt and sugar, like for a gravlax, on rhubarb segments, before searing it in butter and, another personal twist, glazing it with some rhubarb syrup (see below).
But this recipe includes another unusual technique. I am very fond of rhubarb but I had always been frustrated about the way to use it in savory cooking. As a matter of fact, I like its aspect when raw, its shape and its beautiful colors varying between tender green and crimson, but of course, it is not, hardly, edible as such, and soon as you cook it, you lose its texture and its colors. I have been trying, unsuccessfully, different technique of cooking it without disaggregating it, till I found a technique proposed by a French home cook on Internet. After some personal adjustment, it simply consists in blanching the rhubarb stems or segments in boiling water and then, in candying them in sugar for a certain time. The recipe I saw called for 24 hours, but as I was short of time, I did it only for 90 minutes, and it worked perfectly well. The rhubarb is was tender, its acidity was balanced by the sugar, and it has kept its original shape and colors. A treat. Delicious!
I served with roasted peaches and wild blackberry pickles, but apples, pineapples, celeriac would do the job, for instance… all the more so as those were the three ingredients used by chef Olivier Bellin! For the record, for his recipe, Olivier Bellin didn’t use any sauce, as he just added a few anchovy segments to enhance the flavors of this dish. It just shows how he was, rightly, confident about its cooking method. The loin simply poached in milk was simply like a piece of butter, tender, moist and melting in mouth… That said, as I had this delicious cooking milk, loaded with tons of flavors, I decided to use part of it to make a -fabulous- sauce, with peach purée and some other umami additions. This was simply divine.

Levels of difficulty
60 minutes
90 minutes
45 minutes

Ingredients 2 servings

§  1 pork tenderloin
§  1 cm thick slice of onion
§  1 carrot sliced in segments
§  1 celery stem sliced in segments
§  1 garlic glove, crushed
§  Around 1/2 liter of milk, or the sufficient quantity to cover the loin (choosing an appropriate size saucepan)
§  2 peaches, cut in wedges, 3/4 of which will be roasted and the remaining quarter will be used for the sauce
§  Some rhubarb stems of (optional) different diameters, cut in segments, keeping some trims and/or less presentable stems to macerate with the meat
§  1 tbsp. of neutral oil
§  1 tbsp. of butter
§  1 tbsp. of butter to roast the peaches
§  1 tbsp.. of butter to sear/glaze the loin
§  1 tbsp. of soy sauce
§  1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar
§  1/2 tsp. of nuoc mam (optional)
§  1 tbsp of coarse salt (for rubbing the meat)
§  1 tbsp. of sugar (for rubbing the meat)
§  ~1/2 cup of sugar (for candying the rhubarb)
§  3 bunches of herbs ( thyme and/or rosemary, sage, marjoram…)
§  Wild blackberries (or any other berries)
§  ½ cup of vinegar (rice, apple, white…)
§  Pepper (or piment d’Espelette)
§  Salt

§  Blanch the rhubarb in boiling water, from 1 to 3 minutes depending on the diameter, the wider, the longer, then cool them down in iced water, pet them dry, coat them generously in sugar to dry-candy them for around 90 minutes.

§  Rub the meat with salt and sugar, as well as with the 1st bunch of herbs, put it in a container with the rhubarb trims, and let rest the whole in the fridge for around 45 minutes, taking it out, and brushing out the salt and sugar, around 15 minutes before you start cooking it

§  Pour the milk in a wet saucepan (it avoids burning the milk), add the 2nd bunch of herbs, and gently put to boil. Put it out of the burner as soon as the milk surface starts to simmer, and let it rest, and the herbs infuse, for around 15/20 minutes

§  Put the oil and the butter, the onion, the carrot segments, the rhubarb segments, the garlic, the 3rd bunch of herbs in another saucepan adapted to the loin (possibly cut in 2 halves), some salt and pepper, and start to heat the whole gently (3/4), stirring them regularly

§  After 5 minutes or so, when the vegetables in the saucepan are warm, place the pork loin on top of them, and let rest, always at moderate heat (it is not meant to be a searing process), gently stirring the whole so that the pork is coated by the aromatized oil/butter,  for a few minutes

§  Add the milk, so that it covers the pork, possibly adjust the burner to heat up the milk and bring it to simmer, but not to boil. Depending on the size of your loin, it should take 7-10 minutes. Check by pressing the meat between your thumb and index. The meat should be rare. Let it drip and rest on a grid out of the saucepan.

§  Take around 1 cup of the cooking milk, strain it, heat it in a pan to start reducing it… without burning it. Add the peach wedges reserved for the sauce, and poach them in the milk. Process the whole, strain it, replace it in the pan, add the soy sauce, the balsamic, the nuoc mam according to your taste and continue to reduce it till obtaining a coulis texture. Adjust the seasoning and reserve

§  Make wild blackberry pickles by soaking them in vinegar, outing to boil and let the rest out of the burner till serving

§  Roast the remaining peach wedges in butter in a pan, and, when the peaches are ready, add the rhubarb segments for a few seconds, just to warm them up without cooking (and disaggregating) then. Reserve the peaches and the rhubarb under an aluminum foil
§  Put the third batch of butter in the peach pan and heat it to get a light brown color (hazelnut) and seared the loin into it. Add the syrup rendered by the candied rhubarb (you will see, it represents a significant quantity) and further glaze the loin into it.
§  Then plate it as you wish…