I had a few cherries left – maybe a cup and a half – that were close to losing their oomph.  Not being able to let things go to waste, I thought a cherry sauce on a pork tenderloin would be a fun way to use them up.

A million or so years ago I worked at the Hyatt Lake Tahoe.   I was hired as a cook at their gourmet lakeside restaurant, Hugo’s Rotisserie.  Hugo’s signature dish was the rotisserie duck.  Unbelievably good, it came as a classic l’orage, with a green peppercorn sauce, and a magnificent cherry sauce, among others…  I think we used Montmorencies, but I’m not really sure.  It was 1976.  The fact that I remember I lived at Take Tahoe at all is rather remarkable.

That sauce had our hand-made demi-glace, kirsch, the cherries… it was silken-smooth and studded with perfectly-halved cherries.  As it should be in a gourmet resort hotel restaurant.

I knew I wasn’t about to replicate that sauce but I also knew “savory” and “cherry” went very well together.  I had several directions I could go.

I decided a bit spicy-sweet was the way to go…

Cherry Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cup cherries, pitted
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Saute onion, garlic, and peppers in a bit of olive oil until wilted.  Add tomato paste and cook to remove raw tomato taste.  Add cumin and cook to remove raw taste.  Add tomatoes, wine, and vinegar.  mix well.

Add cherries and heat through.  Mash some cherries to release juices.

Check for seasoning and ass salt and pepper, as desired.

The flavor-profile was at the opposite end of the spectrum from Hugo’s, but it worked really well.  The slightly-southwestern spices with the sweet cherries was a fun combination.  And it worked perfectly with a grilled pork tenderloin.