Valentine’s Recipe: The Love Roast

When Orlando Hiltzig, chef and co-owner of the Dupont Circle restaurant Mark and Orlando’s, wants to impress his wife, Sara, he heads for the kitchen to make what he calls a love roast. That’s right, lo-o-ove roast (cue the Al Green). The pork tenderloin is surprisingly quick, and Hiltzig says this preparation of caramelized Brussels sprouts will turn even ardent haters of the veggie—such as Sara—into fans. The sauce, Hiltzig says, “is the perfect sweet-and-sour flavor to go with the pork and accent the slightly sweet, salty flavor of the sprouts.”

The Love Roast, AKA Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Sun-Dried Cherry Gastrique

Serves two.

1 pork tenderloin, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more as needed
1 pint Brussels sprouts
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced shallots
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened sun-dried cherries
Dash red-wine vinegar
1/2 cup veal stock
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper, as needed
Optional: Edible flowers, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pat pork tenderloin dry with a towel, and season with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil until it glistens. Place the pork in the pan and sear evenly until it’s brown on all sides (about 1 1/2 minutes on each side). Set the pan in the oven and roast the pork for 7 to 8 minutes, or until medium-rare (it should feel like a ripe avocado).

Trim the ends of the Brussels sprouts, remove the outside leaves, and slice into quarters. Set a pan over medium-low heat and warm 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Add the sprouts to the pan and season liberally with salt. Stir the sprouts constantly until they begin to brown (if the pan starts to look dry, add a bit more oil). When sprouts caramelize, add the garlic and shallots and sauté for another 30 seconds. Remove the sprouts mixture from the pan and set aside.

Make the sauce: Set a small pan over low-medium heat and add the sugar in a thin layer. Let cook until the sugar turns clear (watch the sugar carefully—it turns quickly; if it begins to caramelize, you’ll need to start over). Add the dried cherries and cook for 30 seconds, then add vinegar. When the sugar is dissolved, add the veal stock. Reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the thyme and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Rewarm the Brussels sprouts if needed and place in the center of a plate. Slice the pork tenderloin and fan the meat over the sprouts. Drizzle the sauce around plate and garnish with edible flowers.


Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.