Birch Pork Medallions
Updated: Sep 29
The exquisite flavour of birch syrup will leave you craving more of this marinated pork!
Trees and forests have always inspired me, and learning to cook with food from the forests of both my native (Canada) and adoptive (Australia) home has really stirred me up with new branches of delicious ideas. I was amazed when I discovered the birch syrup a few years ago on a trip to visit family in Québec. I had never tasted it before when I was still living in Québec. The production and popularity are still recent, and it is certainly one of the favourite ingredients in boreal gourmet cuisine. The unique flavour reminds me of molasse a little, but it is less sweet, richer in flavour and lighter in texture. Birch syrup is a dark condiment that can be used like pure maple syrup for marinades, dressings and desserts but in smaller quantities. It is cultivated with a similar method to maple but is more challenging as it takes much more sap to produce syrup. This is why it is more expensive and sold in small bottles. To this day, I have never seen any imported product of birch syrup in Australia, but you can purchase them from Québec’s fine terroir food shops if you're travelling the Belle Province.
Birch syrup, a tasty gem from the Laurentian mixed forest • © Bottle and Brush Studio 2019
There are many native varieties of wild spices coming from both the Canadian wild forest and the Australian “bush” (iconic term used here for forest or woods and also for agricultural areas). I’m not an expert in bush tucker*, but as an enthusiast foodie, I enjoy experimenting with wild flavours. I’ve found that saltbush, a versatile salty herb, combines greatly with this recipe, but you can try it with diverse types of herbs. Pork tenderloin is very easy to cook and is a lean cut. It can be roasted in the oven or on the “barbie”(BBQ). The pork filets, often called medallions when sliced, are tender, especially when marinated and cooked just right.
*Traditional Indigenous Australian bushfood made with native flora or fauna.
Pork tenderloin filet (about 500 to 600g)
1 tsp birch syrup (or 2 tsp maple syrup)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
60 ml olive oil
1 tsp saltbush* + a pinch to sprinkle when serving
Pinch of pepper
*Saltbush (found in a bushfood shop online) is a salty, herbal flavouring that can be substituted with any dried herbs, a pinch of salt, or an herbal salt blend.
PREPARATION: Marinade the filet for 2-3 hours in the fridge.
When ready to cook, brown the pork on every side in a pan.
Roast in the oven at 200C (390F) for about 20 minutes (per 500g), or on the BBQ for about 20 minutes at medium.
Let sit covered with foil for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Cut slices to serve.