Since the key ingredient is the bourbon, let's talk about bourbon for a moment. Bourbon is part of the whiskey family, just like Scotch, Irish, Canadian and Tennessee whiskeys. The difference between Bourbon and all the other whiskeys is location, location, location. Bourbon comes from the area of Kentucky that was once Bourbon County. (Though the county was divided up a long time ago). The mash content is at least 51% corn, though more often it's as high as 70%, and aged in new charred oak barrels for at least 2 years. While Tennessee whiskey may be made of the same ingredients, it is filtered through maple charcoal, lending it's particular flavor. Canadian Whiskey is usually higher in Rye and of course Scotch and Irish are primarily malted barley, though Scotch uses peat in their process to give those "smoked earth" notes that are absent from the Irish.
blah blah blah blah blah......
Suffice it to say that this recipe is best with Bourbon. Though my dad also makes it with Pendleton which is a Canadian "style" whiskey, and it is nice as well, I personally prefer Maker's Mark Bourbon.
And while Maker's isn't the oldest Bourbon distillery (Jim Beam) nor the most expensive on the market (Woodford Reserve - save that for your $1000 Kentucky Derby Mint Juleps), it is a small batch distillery that values Quality over Quantity. And I must say that, for the price, the quality and consistency of Maker's Mark is perfect for this recipe.
Originally, this wass a recipe for 6 pork loins, however, I enjoy the sauce so much that I usually cook only 4 pork loins in the same amount of sauce. Tonight however, I have but 3 pork loins, and, well.... I am making the same amount of sauce as I would for 6. Trust me, it really IS that good... And awesome over rice too...
Bourbon Pork Loins
4 Pork loins (technically it's 6)
Cracked Black Pepper
8 TB Unsalted Butter, divided (6TB for searing & 2 TB to finish the sauce)
3 TB Olive Oil
3/4 cup (177 ml) Heavy Cream
3 TB Dijon Mustard (Though I usually use Gulden's Brown)
1/2 cup (118 ml) Maker's Mark Bourbon
1 Shallot, minced fine
8 oz (227 g) Button Mushrooms, sliced
1/4 tsp Thyme
Season the pork loins with Salt and pepper on both sides.
Place 6 TB of the Butter and the 3 TB Olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
In a small pitcher, measure out the Heavy Cream and add the Mustard.
Stir until combined, then set aside.
Now that the butter and oil are heated, add the pork loins...
Sear for 3 minutes on each side, you don't want to cook them all the way through (this will depend on how thick your loins are, mine were about 1 inch)
When seared, move the pork loins to a clean plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Add the bourbon to deglaze the pan. (you really wanna get that fond scraped up and incorporated into the sauce)
Continue stirring the mixture until it reduces to a thick sauce.
Add the shallots...
Then the mushrooms.
Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove the cover, sprinkle with thyme.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, then add the Heavy Cream/Mustard mixture and stir to combine.
Move the pork loins back to the pan, nestling them down into the sauce.
Cover and cook 3 minutes...
Turn the pork loins and cook an additional 3 minutes.
Move the loins from the sauce, and onto warmed plates.
Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 TB of butter. (Yep, it's time to release your inner Paula Dean)
Season with Salt and Pepper, then spoon the mushroom sauce over each pork loin and add a sprig of thyme for a simple garnish and dig in.
If your not serving this with rice, I would suggest some sourdough rolls, cause you gonna wanna sop up the sauce, otherwise you might be reduced to licking the plate.