Posts Tagged ‘pork tenderloin’

For some reason, I tend to make more meals with pork in the fall and winter. I think it’s because many of the recipes I use call for items more prevalent at that time. For example, I love to fix pork stuffed with fruit, either thick chops or a butterflied tenderloin. The nice selection of apples in the fall gives me the impetus to try that again. 

Pork roasting in the oven gives the whole house an aroma that can’t be beat. A few sweet potatoes, an apple pie – that’s all I need.

The following recipe uses dried fruit in the stuffing instead of fresh.  Any combination of fruit works well.


Serves 4


1/2 c. finely chopped onion

1/4 c. finely chopped celery

1/2 c. finely chopped red bell pepper

1-2 t. oil

salt and pepper

1/4 c. dried cranberries

1/4 c. golden raisins (or regular raisins, or dried currants)

1/2 c. dried cherries

1/4 c. bread crumbs

1 large pork tenderloin, butterflied and pounded to a rectangle, about 12 X 6 inches.

1 T. butter

1 – 2 t. oil

1/2 c. red wine

1/2 c. chicken broth

1 T. onion soup mix (optional)

1/4 t. Julia Child’s pork spice mix**

salt and pepper

1/4 – 1/2 c. applesauce, unsweetened, preferably

* Really, any dried fruit will work here. I have used dried apples, raisins, apricots, any combination works well, even prunes.

** If you don’t have time to mix this, just add a pinch of cloves, nutmeg, paprika, thyme and allspice or cinnamon with a little extra pepper.


1. Saute the vegetables in the oil in a small skillet until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cook and stir for 1 minute. Put the vegetables in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Mix the dried fruit and bread crumbs with the vegetables and spread over the prepared pork tenderloin leaving a 1/2 inch margin of meat uncovered with the stuffing. Roll up the pork lengthwise, firmly, but not tightly (the stuffing will be squeezed out if you roll it up too tightly). 

3. Tie with butcher’s string every 1 1/2 inch. Preheat oven to 375.

4. Heat the oil in an oven-proof skillet large enough to accomodate the rolled up roast. Brown the tenderloin on all sides and put the skillet with pork in the oven to continue cooking.

5. Roast for 30-35 minutes. Remove pork from the skillet and cover with foil to keep warm. Remember !! The skillet is hot and so is the handle. 375 degrees will give you serious burn – I know this from experience. Keep a pot holder on the skillet handle. Put the skillet on a burner with medium high heat and deglaze the pan with 1/2 c. red wine. Reduce to a syrupy consistency, about 10 minutes. Add the 1/2 c. chicken stock and the onion soup mix, if using. Cook to reduce halfway, again about 10 minutes. Add the pork spice mix, salt and pepper and the applesauce. Cook to heat through over low heat.

6. Slice the pork and serve with the sauce.

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I have often extolled the culinary virtues of pork tenderloin herein and you may be tired of reading about it. If so, I apologize for yet another tribute to “the other white meat”. But if I can convince one of you “non-believers” to give this lean, quick-cooking, flexible, and delicious cut of meat to give it a try, I will be satisfied with my efforts. Go for it!

I have explained that the whole tenderloin, usually large enough for 4 modest servings, can be sauteed, or pan roasted, oven baked, or grilled, skewered, sliced, cubed, stuffed, rolled, or even ground (perish the thought), and sauced with any number of concoctions, sweet or savory, even sweet and savory. Herbed, spiced, tarted up with colorful fruits or vegetables. The imagination presents the only limitation.

Here is one of my favorite ways to cook quickly a tenderloin sliced into medallions. These cook quickly, about 6-8 minutes. The sauce is an herby, port wine enhanced, broth-based sauce flavored with a touch of tomato paste and pitted prunes which add a deep sweetness to the pork. Once all the ingredients are gathered and prepared, the whole recipe is finished in about a half-hour.


Serves 3 or 4

One pork tenderloin, cut in 8 slices, about 1″ thick

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

1 t. ground cumin, optional

2 T. oil

1 sprig rosemary, leaves stripped from stem and chopped*

1/2 c. finely chopped onions

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c. port

1 T. red wine vinegar

1 T. tomato paste**

1/2 c. chicken broth

12 pitted prunes

1-2 T. butter

2 T. fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Flatten the pork slices slightly and sprinkle with the salt, pepper and cumin.

2. Saute the pork in batches in hot oil 3-4 minutes, turn and saute other side 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining batch. Remove pork to a warm plate and cover with foil.

3. Lower heat to medium, add onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary leaves. Cook, stirring, for a minute to soften.

3. Add port, vinegar, tomato paste and broth. Deglaze the pan. Add prunes and cook, stirring occasionally to reduce by approximately half.

4. Return pork and any accumulated meat juices on plate. Add butter and stir to combine.

5. Serve pork with sauce and sprinkled with the fresh herbs.

*If you’re not a fan of rosemary, just put the whole sprig in the pan when you add the port and remove it when you are ready to serve. It will add just a touch of rosemary flavor.

** If you don’t have tomato paste, you can use catsup in a pinch. I always have a tube of tomato paste, one of the best convenience items for cooks. You can squeeze out the amount of tomato paste needed and return the tube to the refrigerator to store.  The small cans of tomato paste usually leave half the contents or more to be dealt with later. For me, that used to mean the contents suffering a long, slow death in the back of the refrigerator. I know, I know. You can put dollops on a plate and freeze them, keeping them in a plastic bag in the freezer until needed. I tried that once and could never find the bag quickly. Believe me, the tubes are much more user-friendly and cost effective.

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If you have been reading my posts, you have discovered that I am a huge fan of pork tenderloin. It is lean and tender, cooks relatively quickly, is readily accessible, not too expensive, and mingles well with lots of different flavors. It can be a plain, down-home entree, or perfect to serve to your grandest guests. I love pork.

And, it’s not chicken.  Oh, I eat chicken once, maybe twice a week, but that’s just for variety. I could eat pork more often than chicken, easily.  Throw in an occasional steak, pizza, or spaghetti dinner, and I’m a happy camper.

Here is an example of a quick entree that uses balsamic vinegar for a pan sauce.


pork tenderloin, sliced 1″ thick, pounded slightly to flatten

flour, 1/4-1/3 cup

salt and pepper

1 T. butter

1 T. olive oil

1/2 c. balsamic vinegar

1/4-1/3 c. chicken broth

1 T. fresh sage, chopped

1. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish; dredge pork in the flour.

2. Heat oil and butter in a large saute pan or skillet to medium high.  Saute pork, in batches if necessary, a few minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove pork from pan and set aside, covered with foil.

3. Deglaze pan with the vinegar, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Cook, stirring, to reduce the vinegar a little.

4. Add the chicken broth to the vinegar and return the pork to the pan, along with any  juices that may have escaped from the meat.

5. Add the sage and continue cooking, turning the pork over, for a few minutes until the reduced sauce is dark and shiny.

6. Serve the tenderloin slices with the sauce.

(The tenderloin can also be left in one piece, browned in a skillet, and then roasted in the oven to finish cooking. This would be best with the skinny end folded under and tied in place to make the pork even in thickness. After roasting, let the pork rest, covered with foil while you make the sauce in the roasting pan. Slice the pork, and serve with the sauce.)

This pork dish would be great served with potatoes gratin, mashed potatoes, or even baked ones. I would probably not serve broccoli, or Brussels sprouts, or any other strong tasting vegetable with this. The balsamic vinegar sauce is strong enough. I might even serve the following dish instead of potatoes. It is rich and creamy, featuring the subtle taste of fennel, one of my favorite flavors. It can be prepared ahead of time, up to the baking, and then cooked while you are fixing the pork.


2 lbs. fennel

1/2 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

1 1/2 c. cream, half and half, or milk

1/4 – 1/3 c. bread crumbs or panko

1/4 c. parmesan, grated

1 T. butter

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a gratin dish or other shallow baking pan. 
Trim the fronds from the fennel; remove any brown spots from the outer layer of the bulb.  Quarter the bulb and slice 
thinly. Lay the slices in the gratin dish.

2. Mix salt, pepper and cream and pour over the fennel.

3. Mix the crumbs and parmesan and sprinkle over the sauce. Dot with butter. (If preparing ahead, cover with foil and set aside until ready to bake.)

4. Bake 25 minutes covered, and 20 more minutes uncovered. (If stored in the refrigerator, add 10 minutes to the first 25 minutes in the oven.)

This would be beautiful with glazed carrots and the pork. I may have to make this next week.

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Lee Bailey is the author of several cookbooks that I have read. Every recipe of his that I have tried, we have enjoyed very much. I furnished one of his recently, Honey Custard with Gingersnap Crumbs. Here is a tasty entree that would go well with that dessert. I would probably serve some type of potato casserole and broccoli with this.

This is a quick-fix dish, probably only takes fifteen to twenty minutes, if you practice “mis en place”, and have everything pre-cut and measured before actually starting to cook.

Pan-Fried Pork Medallions with Rosemary Scallion Sauce

Serves 6

1/2 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper, white or black

2 lb. boneless pork loin, sliced in 1/4″ slices, and pounded slightly
2 T. olive oil, maybe a little more
1 1/4 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. white wine
1 T. white wine vinegar
2-3 med. scallions, thinly sliced
1 T. each, minced fresh parsley and rosemary
2 T. butter
1/2 t. pepper

1. Heat oil in large skillet. Mix the flour, salt and 1/4 t. pepper together in a shallow plate. Dredge the pork in the flour mixture. Fry meat in batches, 3 minutes per side, until the bottom edges begin to brown. Don’t overcrowd the skillet. Add oil by the teaspoon if necessary. Transfer pork to a platter.

2. Deglaze the pan with wine, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add the broth and vinegar. Add scallions and herbs. Boil to reduce the sauce and thicken it slightly, about 5 minutes. Return the pork to the skillet to rewarm, about 3-5 minutes on medium heat.

3. Swirl the 2 T. butter into the sauce and stir in the remaining pepper.

4. Serve the pork with the sauce.


Of all the canned goods I buy, I’ll wager that I buy more cans of chicken broth than any other. I sometimes make my own broth, if I am cooking lots of chicken parts for chicken salad, or another recipe calling for cooked chicken pieces. If I roast a chicken, which I do more in the winter than the summer, I will boil the carcass for broth. When I do, I usually make something that uses it all within the next day or two and rarely have any left to freeze. Therefore, I seldom have good homemade broth on hand when a recipe calls for a half-cup or more.

I usually buy Swansons, low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth, both in the 14 oz. can and the quart box. I have found, however, a brand called Pacific Natural Foods that makes a 4-pack of one cup packages, just right for those “add one cup broth” recipes. Although not particularly low in sodium, I can usually adjust for that by reducing the amount of salt called for in the rest of the ingredients. It is much better than using as 14-oz can and wasting the leftovers, usually by forgetting the remainder hiding in the back of the refrigerator. Somehow, I seldom remember to freeze that little bit of broth, or, if I do freeze it, it gets lost in the depths of the freezer, only to be confused later with that little baggie of lemon or lime juice I wanted to save. If I was a wise cook, and I never thought I was, I would roast an inexpensive chicken, once a week, get two meals from it right away, then make good broth with the remains, freeze or use it during the week in other recipes. sounds like a New Year’s resolution to me.

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Yesterday was a busy day. I had a lot to do before leaving town for the better part of the day to meet my knitting buddies for a lunch and knit session. My neighbor and I did our daily (in our dreams) morning walk at 8:30 for 45 minutes instead of the usual hour. I had 2 loaves of bread ready to bake as soon as I got back so that they would be cool enough to take with me. Before I left for the walk, I looked for a new recipe for pork tenderloin, found one, prepared the marinade for it and got the pork into a food bag with the marinade. I had all the ingredients for a salsa/relish topping but didn’t have time to get that started. As soon as I got back from walking, I popped the bread in the oven (NO KNEAD BREAD, of course), started the relish ingredients simmering, took one of the quickest baths in history, ran back into the kitchen to finish the relish, take the lids off the bread pots, ran back to dress, ran back to get the bread out of the oven. Took the relish off the heat and set aside to cool. Gathered up my knitting projects and left. Whew! By the way, I left the kitchen in a mess.

So what does this have to do with planning ahead? Well, I did make the bread dough ahead of time. I did get the pork tenderloin from the grocery. I could have chosen a simpler recipe for the pork, one that didn’t require as much preparation that far ahead of dinnertime. But I knew that I would rather have all that prep work behind me when it was time to fix dinner. All I had to do was fix some rice, steam some carrots, toss a salad (dressing was made ahead of time). The pork cooked on the grill for 20 minutes; it needed to be turned a couple of times and that’s all. The carrots cooked during part of that time and my secret recipe (Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice) was 90 seconds in the microwave. I keep a few packages of Ready Rice in a variety of flavors on hand for last minute cooking. My potatoes have all sprouted too much to use so rice was a good substitute. Try one. They are surprisingly tasty and good in a pinch. I used the Roasted Chicken flavor last night.

The recipe for the pork tenderloin is so easy. As you can see, I threw it all together in a short time yesterday morning. About 10 minutes is all it took. The pork needs to marinate 8 hours and the relish needs the time to mellow a bit. Try it. You’ll like it. Mikey likes it. By the way, it can be cooked in the oven instead of the grill. And it all can be prepared a day in advance if you really like to plan ahead.


(Adapted from epicurious.com)

My changes are marked with an *asterisk*. My notes are in italics.

1 1/2 lb. firm-ripe peaches*
1/2 lb. tomatoes**
1/2 c. chopped red onion (1 medium)
1 T. fresh minced peeled ginger
1 t. Kosher salt
1 T. vegetable oil
1 1.2 t. curry powder
2 T. sugar
1 T. lime juice
*I used a lunch-bag sized plastic container of diced peaches with the juice. No need for fresh peaches if you don’t have any.
**I used 1 tomato

For Pork:
3 scallions, white and pale green parts only, trimmed, chopped
1 T. chopped fresh thyme
2 t. Kosher salt
1/2 t. ground allspice
2 T. fresh lime juice
1 T. molasses (not blackstrap or robust)
1 t. Scotch bonnet or habanero hot sauce or to taste *
2 pork tenderloins (1 3/4 lb. to 2 lb. total) **
2 T. vegetable oil for basting***
*I used regular hot sauce, Tennessee Sunshine
**I used just 1 tenderloin
***I needed only 1 tablespoon oil

To Make Relish:
Peel peaches and tomatoes. Halve peaches and remove pit. Cut into 1″ pieces. Peel and coarsely chop tomatoes. (All this can be simplified by using canned peaches and canned tomatoes. Go for fresh if you’ve got it, but don’t let the call for fresh peaches and tomatoes stop you. They both get cooked anyway so use canned if that’s what you have.)
Cook onion, ginger and salt in oil in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 minutes. Add curry powder and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add peaches and tomatoes with their juices, sugar, and lime juice and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and peaches are tender but still hold their shape, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool, uncovered, then chill, covered at least 8 hours.

Marinate Pork:
Combine scallions, thyme, salt, allspice, pepper, lime juice, molasses, and hot sauce in a blender and blend until smooth. Put pork in a nonreactive dish and rub all over with the marinade. Store covered and chilled, turning occasionally, for 8 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
(I didn’t use a blender for such a small amount. I just minced the scallions as finely as I could and mixed everything in a small bowl. It worked just fine. No need to use and wash a blender. I also marinated the pork in a food baggie, gallon size. No container to wash.)

Grill Pork:
Discard marinade and brush pork with oil. Prepare grill. For gas grill, preheat burners on high, covered, for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to medium. Grill pork, turning, occasionally, for 15-25 minutes, until thermometer inserted diagonally into center of meat registers 145 degrees. Lower heat if necessary to prevent burning. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 15 minutes tented with foil. (Pork will continue to cook and temperature will rise to 155 degrees.) Slice and serve with relish.

This is such a delicous marinade for pork. I would use it even if I didn’t make the relish. It would be good for chicken as well. I don’t think I would try it for beef. The relish is sweet, tangy, with the curry, ginger and hot sauce adding quite a punch. You can tailor those ingredients to accomodate your taste buds.

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