Slow Cooked Pork Tenderloin with Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove and Red Wine Confit Gravy

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. --Julia Child

The weather has been really Spring-like and warm lately--until this past weekend, that is, when the temperatures plummeted and icy, cold rain fell for hours on end, the wind gusting and sending everyone ducking for cover.  

Actually, it's the perfect weather to stay in bed under the covers, unless you were up early like me, pulling your trusty slow cooker/crock pot out of the closet to make some slow-cooked deliciousness.

I had a 2lb. whole pork tenderloin (two pieces) just waiting to be used.  I dusted sides of each loin with white pepper, nutmeg, ginger and stuck a clove in each end.  Then, I smashed and sliced up some garlic cloves and placed them on one loin, topping with the other and tying up both pieces with some kitchen twine.  (Tip: Cut your string long and place vertically on your cutting board, then place the meat on top -and season and stuff from there. It makes it much easier to tie it all up.) Then, I rubbed some olive oil on the meat and added a bit more salt and white pepper and placed it in a large skillet on medium-high heat until it was nicely browned on all sides.

In the meantime, I coarsely chopped two medium yellow onions and smashed two more garlic cloves and placed it all in the bottom of the slow cooker.  I also added about a cup of dried dates and three pieces of crystallized ginger, broken into pieces.  I added the pork on top and then topped with a few spoonfuls of a lovely Spiced Fig & Red Wine Confit spread from 'wichcraft that I bought at Williams-Sonoma a few weeks ago.  On top of that went 2 TBS of unsalted butter, cut into cubes, 2 pieces of bacon (diced) and 1/2 cup of red wine and 1/2 cup of water. I set the cooker to the 8 hour setting and that was it.

Eight wonderful-smelling hours later, I pulled the pork out of the pan to rest (cutting off the strings and fishing out the cloves) and strained the lovely juices into a small pot, discarding the solids.  I heated the juices to a boil, added in about a tablespoon of Wondra, a pinch of salt, a dash of nutmeg and a teaspoon of garlic powder and whisked until it had thickened.  Right before serving, I swirled in 1 TBS of butter into the sauce.  The meat broke apart into wonderful chunks and I served with herbed mashed potatoes.

It was the kind of dinner that warms you from the inside out.   Maybe Spring will be here sooner than you think....