Kitchen confidential: Ian Donohue, West Main


Ian Donohue and his pork tenderloin medallions with sweet potato mash

Ian Donohue, Executive Chef, West Main

The secret to great cooking is... to imagine exactly what you want the finished product to taste, smell, and look like. 

The secret to success in the restaurant business is... the same as any other business: hard work and determination

The secret to making West Main's pork tenderloin medallions with sweet potato mash is... not to overcook the pork. The medallions should be at least a little pink in the middle.


West Main's Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Sweet Potato Mash

1 lb pork tenderloin, 8oz per person, sliced into 1-inch thick medallions

2 tsp rubbed sage

2 tsp summer savory, dried

About 1/2 cup flour for dredging

8 oz. sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces

2 oz. red onions, diced

2 oz. fresh red bell pepper, diced

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced into 12 wedges

1 tbsp light brown sugar

1/2 stick butter, divided

2 tbsp vegetable oil

salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350F. 

Toss the sweet potatoes in 1 tbsp vegetable oil with salt and pepper. Roast on a sheet pan in a single layer, tossing with a spatula every 10 minutes until soft and cooked through, about 30-40 minutes. They can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated, if necessary.

Mix the savory and sage with a little salt and pepper. Place the flour in a wide shallow bowl and season with a little salt and pepper.  

Melt 1 tbsp butter in a heavy non-stick sauté pan and add sweet potatoes, red onion, and red pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the peppers and onions are soft and the potatoes are starting to brown, 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt another tablespoon of butter in a small sauté pan and cook the apples over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until cooked through but not mushy, about 8 minutes. In the last minute, sprinkle the brown sugar over the apples and toss until melted.

Once the apples and potatoes are started, heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high flame and add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon of oil. Dredge the pork medallions in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, and add to the hot butter/oil mixture one at a time. Cook until golden brown, turning once to brown the other side, about 4 minutes per side. They should be about medium, but if they seem too rare, you can cover the pan for the last couple of minutes to trap some heat and help them cook through.

To plate, first divide the cooked hash between two plates, piled high in the center. Then lay the medallions over it in a circle around the edge. Top each one with a slice of apple and serve.


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