Pork Tenderloins with Dates and Walnuts
The term mudéjar is used for Muslims— and for their culture— who converted to Christendom during the Reconquista. The first mudéjares date back to the late eleventh century, when the Castilian king, Alfonso VI, expelled the Muslims from Toledo, allowing only converts to stay. Almost half a millennium later, in 1502, just ten years after the conclusion of the reconquest in Granada by the Catholic Kings, a royal decree ordered that every Muslim in the newly united country must convert or leave.
The use of pork in this dish illustrates the degree to which the mudéjares assimilated the culinary customs of their Christian neighbors. Accompany the tenderloins with mashed potatoes.
Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.
To butterfly each tenderloin, cut it in half horizontally, stopping just short of cutting all the way through. Open each tenderloin flat, cut side up, as if it were a book. Insert the dates, alternating with the walnuts, in the opening, forming a row. Close the “books” tightly, season with salt and pepper, and brush with the olive oil.
Place the stuffed tenderloins in a baking pan. Cover with the tomatoes, carrot, celery, onion, wine, and stock. Place in the oven and cook, carefully turning the tenderloins at the halfway point without allowing the stuffing to fall out, for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Using a wide spatula, lift the tenderloins from the pan and set aside on a plate; keep warm.
Transfer the contents of the baking pan to a saucepan and add the thyme and rosemary. If you like a thicker sauce, stir in the cornstarch mixture. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, remove from the heat, and then pass through a food mill fitted with the medium plate held over a bowl; keep warm.
Cut the tenderloins on the diagonal into 1 ½-inch-thick medallions and arrange on a warmed platter. Spoon the sauce over the tenderloin slices and serve immediately.
Murcia serves authentic Mediterranean cooking: cereals, vegetables and olive oil are the base of this cuisine, which finds its source of inspiration in the market garden - natural, authentic, tasty and with a character all of its own.