In a small, Northern Vermont Kitchen, we sate our appetites with homemade meals and a love of local ingredients.

Blackened Maple Whiskey Pork Tenderloin with Cherries

My mother and I were on the phone the other night talking about food. We’re both avid cooks or “kooks,” as my adorably heavily accented Canadian Great-Grandfather pronounced it.

And somehow the subject of whiskey came up. More to the point, a bottle of maple syrup whiskey that I received for my birthday from a friend. We were playing with cocktail ideas, when Mom came back around to the original subject at hand – food.

“Wouldn’t that maple whiskey be good with pork and….cherries?”

Well, that blew my mind.

Of course that would be delicious!

So, when a big rainstorm came in yesterday and the temperatures fell back down to the 40’s, it seemed like the perfect time to get into the kitchen and play with maple whiskey, Vermont maple syrup from my aunt and uncle, frozen cherries and pork.

I love the contrast between sweet, savory, and spicy – so just for good measure I coated the meat in a ridiculous amount of blackening seasoning.

It was amazing. Thanks, Mom!

Blackened Maple Whiskey Pork Tenderloin with Cherries

Serves 2.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 teaspoons blackening spice, divided

1 (1 lb.) pork tenderloin

1 ½ cups chicken stock

¼ cup dry vermouth

1 tablespoon maple whiskey

1 tablespoon dark maple syrup

½ cup frozen cherries

1 tablespoon roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large oven proof skillet over medium heat, stir the olive oil and 2 teaspoons of the blackening spice together. When the oil shimmers, add the pork.

Sear on the first side for 5 minutes.

Flip, and sear for an additional 5 minutes.

Add the chicken broth to the pan, and stir well to gather up any browned bits.

Place the skillet in the oven, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pork registers 135-140 degrees.

Stir in the vermouth, whiskey, maple syrup, and remaining blackening spice. Cook over medium-low heat until the sauce reduces by half, about 5 minutes.

Add the cherries to the pan and cook through.

Let the pork rest for 5 minutes, and slice.

Serve the pork with the sauce and cherries.

(Photos by Launie Kettler)

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