Brandy-infused pork tenderloin

Brandy-infused Pork Tenderloin. (Courtesy of Courvoisier)

Brandy-infused Pork Tenderloin. (Courtesy of Courvoisier)

Rita DeMontis, National Food Editor, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 5:51 PM ET

I've been adding alcohol to my humble collection of recipes for years. Port is an awesome addition to my seafood casserole and my cassata frozen dessert dish. Marsala wine is excellent with veal not to mention ricotta cheese, and I've cooked with cognac and brandy in various roasts, soups and even cakes. Most alcohol evaporates during the cooking process (the longer the process the more it burns off), leaving a rich, intense taste to the dish.

Here's a selection of excellent recipes courtesy of Courvoisier, an award-winning cognac with a strong French lineage.

Brandy-infused Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:

  • 2 pork tenderloins (3/4 lb/375 g each)      
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (125 ml) canned whole cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) cognac
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) shallots, minced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Sprinkle pork tenderloins generously with salt and pepper.

Add olive oil to a heavy skillet and saute pork tenderloins on medium heat -- turning every 2-4 minutes to make sure tenderloins are evenly browned.

Remove browned tenderloins from skillet and set aside into an oven-proof roasting pan (they are not fully cooked at this point). Leave brown bits and any remaining oil in skillet.

Add cranberries to skillet, saute on medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup cognac to pan, continue to cook until mixture reduces to about 2/3 of its original volume and has thickened slightly. It should be a gravy-like consistency. Pour cranberry/cognac glaze over the tenderloins in the roasting pan. Roast tenderloins in oven for approximately 20 minutes or until desired doneness is achieved.

Baste tenderloins with glaze at bottom of the pan. Allow tenderloin to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Serves 8.

Cognito

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 whole lime, sliced
  • 2 1/2 tsp. (12 ml) sugar syrup
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) fresh mint
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. (35 ml) cognac of choice
  • Apple juice
  • Garnish: Fresh mint sprig and apple slice

Directions:

Muddle lime wedges and sugar in bottom of a highball glass. Clap and rub mint to release oils, and place in glass. Pour in cognac of choice. Fill with crushed ice and top with apple juice. Garnish with fresh mint sprig and apple slice.

Serves 1.

Summer of Punch

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes, sliced
  • 1 cup (250ml) cognac of choice
  • 2 cups (500ml) apple juice
  • 1 cup (250ml) ginger beer
  • 1/4 cup (50ml) lime juice

Directions:

In a large punch boil, place freshly sliced cucumber and limes. Stir in remaining ingredients, leaving ginger beer until last. Serve in freshly iced glasses.

Summer Fresh Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) grated fresh ginger
  • 4 Tbsp. (60 ml) light olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) cognac
  • 4 Tbsp. (60 ml) fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) orange pulp
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) fresh baby spinach or mixed greens
  • 3 plums, sliced
  • 2 oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) sliced yellow pepper (can alternate pepper based on preference)
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) pecans

Directions:

Dressing: In a small Mason jar, combine garlic, ginger, olive oil, cognac, orange juice and orange pulp. Shake dressing and add salt and pepper to taste. Dressing can be made one day prior and left to marinate overnight. Shake before serving.

Salad: In a large salad bowl add spinach/mixed greens. Slice plums, oranges and yellow peppers and add to bowl. Top with pecans and stir in dressing when ready to serve.

Serves: 4

Roasted Tomato Bisque

Ingredients:

  • 8 vine ripened tomatoes, halved and cored
  • 1/3 cup (75 ml) olive oil
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) cognac
  • 1 1/2 cup (375 ml) chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup (375 ml) tomato paste
  • 3 cups (750 ml) vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) thyme
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup (250 ml) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups (500 ml) milk
  • Salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450F (230C). Spread tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1/4 cup (50ml) olive oil and 1/3 cup (75ml) cognac. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for about 25-30 minutes.

In a large stockpot, heat remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and minced garlic and saute for 10 minutes, or until onions are tender and just beginning to brown. Add tomato paste and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes, until paste is blended into onion and garlic mixture. Add remaining cognac and cook for 3 minutes, until most of liquid is evaporated.

Add roasted tomatoes and all of their juices, along with vegetable stock, thyme and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and blend soup until a thick consistency is achieved. Return to low heat and season with salt and pepper. Stir in milk and Parmesan cheese.

Serves 10.

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