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Pork tenderloin -- simple recipe ideas?

I've never prepared a pork tenderloin before, and in general, I rarely cook meat. So I need advice for what to do with a 2 lb. boneless pork tenderloin. I'd like to do something simple and somewhat spicy, in my dutch oven or roasting pan--I don't have a grill set up yet. What are your ideas? thanks!

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  1. i'd say just pick a flavor profile that suits you. chili and lime, ginger and orange, sauerkraut and caraway, apple and cinnamon. dredge the pork in flour and your spice of choice and citrus zest, if that's the flavor you choose, with salt and pepper. saute until browned. then finish by baking. you can make a pan sauce after you remove the meat to rest. just add a tablespoon each of flour and butter to your pan, stir and brown the flour and add liquid to loosen: chicken broth, orange or apple juice depending on what flavor you went with.

    tenderloin is pretty lean so be careful not to over cook. take it to 5-7 degrees underdone and let it finish while it rests.

    1. It's very easy to simply roast it alongside some vegetables and have the whole meal done in one pan.

      Like above, pick a flavor profile you like - pork is very lean and goes with most anything. I like to roast mine with quartered onions, potatoes, acorn or butternut squash and apples. Shallots, leeks and garlic with rosemary or thyme also works well. I usually brush the tenderloin with a glaze, like hoisin sauce or pomegranate molasses near the end of cooking to give it some color and flavor.

      Pan roasting is another good method, as appycamper described above. I also love to do a dry rub of brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin & garlic powder, and sear on all sides (usually I do this on a grill, but you can use the broiler) baste it with a sauce of olive oil, fresh oj, honey, garlic & jalapenos, then cook indirectly for another 7-9 minutes, until done in the center. Serve with a mango salsa on the side. It's a very lean but versatile cut, don't overcook it, it should still be juicy and a little pink at the very center.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Phurstluv

        They are also very easy to slice into medallions, pound thin and fry up as cutlets, with or without breadcrumbs.

        1. re: Phurstluv

          Add some roasted garlic and roasted red peppers and you have a close approximation of solomo. Awesome on sandwiches.

          1. re: Phurstluv

            I am having fun going through the 2006-2008 Cook's Country annuals, which I bought on eBay for a total of not much more than it would have cost to renew the 2009 subscription I received as a gift.

            One recipe is for "Iowa Skinnies", which are pork cutlet sandwiches on soft buns, with lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Regardless of whether or not you bread (they used a combo of saltines and fresh bread, processed together, and a mayo/egg mixture to dip the floured cutlets), the basic numbers are worth remembering: a one-lb tenderloin sliced crosswise into 4 equal medallions, which are then pounded 1/4 inch thick (any thicker and the breading will burn before meat is cooked through), and sauteed in a little oil for 2 minutes per side.

            1. re: Phurstluv

              Yes, I highly recommend this, just pound it our, dredge in flour, lightly salt and pan fry in oil, makes a good sandwich or just plain.

          2. Do it the simple Italian way. Poke holes all over with a knife and stick fresh rosmary and slivers of garlic in the holes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 350. For 2 lbs I'm guessing about an hour, but keep an eye on it so it is not all dried out.

            One you get your grill set up and if you have a rotiserrie, make it the same way except rub it all down with fleur de sel and cook it on the rotisserie. You will love it.

            1. You might check this link which also lists a lot of other links. The recipe I referred to from Sunset magazine is one of my favorites.

              1. If you bought a 2# package you may find when you unwrap it that there are two small tenderloins. They are often only about 16-24 oz. Stud with slices of garlic, or marinate in your choice of marinade (e.g. Italian dressing or teriyaki sauce) anywhere from an hour to a day. Dry the meat. Sear all around in a pan that can go into the oven, then finish at 375 for 15 minutes (150-155 degrees). Remove to platter and cover loosely with a sheet of foil while you deglaze the pan with the marinade, and/or wine, broth, or juice to make a pan sauce. My usual marinade is 1/4 c each of diced onion, apple cider and teriyaki sauce, with 1/8 tsp each garlic powder, ground mustard, and ground savory. I use garlic powder because fresh garlic burns easily, and I scrape the bits of onion back into the marinade before searing.

                There are many, many suggestions if you search the board or just follow the links below this thread.

                1. i have an uneasy feeling that many responses here are more relevant to cooking a pork loin roast than to cooking a pork tenderloin--tho, i agree with greygarious that a 2 lb. tenderloin would be pretty big. maybe it is a smallish piece of loin?? maybe the pack is a two-fer.

                  at any rate, i observe that once browned a 1-lb tenderloin will get done in, say, 15 minutes in a 400 oven. it'll be a bit pink after resting. some of the earlier mentioned tactics might seriously overcook a normal-sized true pork tenderloin.

                  1. I hijacked the steak / veal Oscar concept for what I call Pork Felix:
                    Marinate a tenderloin a day in Stubbs pork marinade, bake according to size, ( I grill ), slice half inch medallions, top with alternating spokes of asparagus and crab (snow or king) leg segments, top with hollandaise or bearnaise.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: appycamper

                        I pan sear my tenderloin medallions with a rosemary/olive oil blend of seasonings..
                        I like to serve with a small ravioli or tortellini with a rich cream sauce as well.

                    1. I like a glaze of raspberry jam, orange juice, and a chipotle pepper(s) in adobo sauce. Sweet, smoky, spicy goodness. In the oven, it should take no more than 20 minutes at 350.

                      But that's just one flavor combination. There are plenty of other good ideas above. Pork tenderloin is a lean meat with a fairly neutral flavor, so it plays well with others.

                      The key here is that it's a lean meat. No matter what flavor profile you want for your finished dish, it's absolutely essential not to overcook the pork. Well-done pork tenderloin is dry and tough.

                      I recommend cooking it to an internal temp of 140-145F, so there's plenty of pink left. If you have a thermometer, go by the numbers. If not, cut into the tenderloin and check the color. You can hide the cuts; you can't hide an overcooked center.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        That sounds good. I have a recipe I want to try this week (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... ) that involves putting chopping chipotle and some adobo sauce inside the tenderloin. Do you think raspberry would be a good addition?

                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                          Hmmm, those flavors sound pretty straight-up Mexican. It might work, but I'm not sure how the sweet-and-sour of the raspberry would play with the cumin.

                          1. re: alanbarnes

                            Gotcha. I read a lukewarm review of the recipe elsewhere and think I might just pass.

                      2. I do pork tenderloins (agree with greygarious about tenderloin size so who knows what we're talking about) all the time on the grill. I tend towards a somewhat spicy Asian marinade. About four minutes a "side" (so that's four side) usually gets it perfectly done for me.

                        1. This is my favorite recipe for pork tenderloin. It couldn't be much easier, and it turns out unfailingly tender, juicy and delicious.

                          Curried Pork Tenderloin

                          2 lbs. pork tenderloin
                          2 Tbl. brown sugar
                          2 Tbl. curry powder
                          2 tsp. dry mustard
                          1 tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika
                          1 tsp. salt
                          1 tsp. pepper

                          Trim fat from pork. Mix sugar and spices in a small bowl. Rub pork with spice mixture. Place pork on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part. Bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until the thermometer registers 145 degrees F. (meat will be slightly pink in the center). Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Serves 2-3.

                          1. How do you feel about latin flavors? This recipe involves a dry rub of paprika, cocoa, cumin, etc. You rub the meat, sear it, finish it in the oven, and serve up with tropical fruit salsa. It's really good!


                            1 Reply
                            1. The best method I've found for making perfect, juicy pork tenderloin came from a recipe in Parade magazine. Pick any rub or marinade that strikes your fancy -- lots of yummy ideas above. Or just insert slivers of garlic and season the pork with salt and pepper and maybe some cumin.

                              Heat oven to 400. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil over medium-high heat in an oven-safe skillet. Once the oil is hot, sear the pork tenderloins on all sides for 10 minutes (2-3 minutes per side). Make sure you use the full 10 minutes. Add a cup of liquid (I use a combination of dry sherry or white wine and chicken broth) to the skillet and transfer to the oven. Roast for 10 minutes in the oven. Remove from oven, transfer tenderloins to a cutting board or plate and let rest for another 10 minutes. Slice and serve. You can reduce the liquid in the skillet to make a sauce if you want.

                              It's really easy to dry out pork tenderloins because they are so lean and they cook so quickly. I guarantee that this cooking method will always produce a tender, juicy tenderloin.

                              1. pierce loin with a knife and insert slices of garlic and rolled fresh sage leaves. be liberal with the number of "inserts." then drizzle with good evoo and fresh thyme leaves and roast in a medium oven till done. delicious and easy. not spicy, but has great depth of flavor.

                                try a "cuban" pork flavor profile using sour orange. you can't go wrong with mojo! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bo...

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Perfect. I'm using your sage/garlic combo on Friday, when we are having some friends over for dinner. Thanks!

                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                    christina, have you tried the sublime "niman ranch" pork tenderloin? it's WOW!

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      Here's a recipe I LOVE! I deglaze the pan with white wine and add chopped onions or shallots and crushed red pepper for a killer sauce.


                                      1. re: mamaciita

                                        i thought this was an odd statement from that recipe, though.
                                        ""Pork tenderloin is juicier than most other cuts of pork and is quick-cooking and lean.""

                                        I wouldn't say tenderloin is juicier than most other cuts of pork, would you?

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          Maybe in comparison to cooked-to-death pork chops, but generally, no. I brine it for that very reason.

                                          Haven't tried the Niman Ranch tenderloin, but maybe I'll get some when I'm back in the States.

                                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                                            nice blog! i so wanted to grab that fish and have some breakfast! ;-).

                                            where are you located -- germany?

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              Yep, Berlin! Til July, anyway...


                                  2. re: alkapal

                                    Is that for a tenderloin or whole loin? It sounds like what I do to a whole pork loin, which is usually up to five lbs! I stuff it with rosemary and garlic.

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      to the sage & garlic roast recipe i mention above, also add:
                                      after you drizzle with the olive oil, pour some medium body white wine over the tenderloin. let marinate/rest in the fridge for at least a couple of hours or overnight. then roast.

                                    2. Easiest recipe for pork tenderloin ever:

                                      Slice about 3/4 in thick so you end up with little medallions. Spread with dijon mustard and sprinkle generously with paprika. Sauté 4 minutes each side in olive oil. Done.

                                      1. Thanks so much for all the wonderful ideas!! I had two 1-lb. tenderloins in the package (you all were right!) and I'm officially a tenderloin convert. This was a lot more versatile (and tasty!) than I thought it would be. Everyone's tips about internal temp were especially helpful so I didn't overcook it!

                                        I didn't have time to marinate or do a rub, so I dredged the tenderloins in some seasoned flour, sprinkled with garlic, rosemary, and lemon zest, and browned them up in my dutch oven. Then I baked them to an internal temp of almost 150 which left a nice bit of pink in the center. While they rested, I made a simple lemon and rosemary pan sauce to drizzle on top. I was so impressed! I will definitely be buying more of these and keeping them in the freezer. I'm excited to try the different rubs, glazes, etc. suggested here. thanks all:)

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: scarletcerise

                                          Excellent! Lemon and rosemary are two of my favorite flavors for pork.

                                        2. I was watching America's Test Kitchen and got the following recipe.

                                          Maple/bourbon glazed tenderloin
                                          1/2 cup maple syrup
                                          1/4 cup molasses
                                          2 T. bourbon
                                          pinch of clove and of cayenne
                                          1/4 cup of cornstarch
                                          2T. sugar 1T. salt
                                          2 t. pepper

                                          spread the dry ingredients on a cookie sheet and coat the tenderloin. Heat 2 T oil in a pan until well browned (about 12 minutes).
                                          Then place tenderloin on a rack on a rimmed cookie sheet. Add syrup mixture to a pan and reduce down. Coat each loin with about 1T of glaze. Coat at 375 for about 12 minutes. Do a second coat of glaze. cook a little longer and do a 3rd coat. Cook until internal temp is 135.

                                          DH and I both loved this recipe and the leftovers went into fried rice the next day.

                                          1. There is recipe on Martha Stewart's website called Pork Tenderloin and Mustard-Wine Sauce that is sooo easy and really good!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: clbeth

                                              another very simple recipe is Michael Chiarello's lemon salt recipe. Zest a few lemons and grind the zest in a mortar and pestle with salt. Add 1 Tb olive oil and fresh ground pepper, then rub over the tenderloins. Then sear and bake until done (about 145 degrees).

                                            2. I really like this recipe for pork tenderloin, with some big adaptations:

                                              Before coating in mustard and roasting, I like to dry off the meat from the marinade, season with salt and pepper, and sear on all sides in a roaster on the stovetop. Then I rub the meat in mustard, put it on a rack in the roaster, and add about 3/4 c. white wine to the pan. Cover the pan with foil and roast about 20 min. or until desired doneness.

                                              I changed the sauce a bit, too. I reduced the mustard to 1 tsp. and added 3-4 Tbsp. of pork drippings, plus another 1/2 c. white wine. Thicken slightly with a flour slurry, and you've got a great main dish on your hands. Yum.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                My husband found this one and it is an easier version but messier. It's really good!

                                              2. I like to slice it down its length - opening the fillet like a book. It then gets a layer of thinly sliced garlic and chopped prune (or dried apricot). Tied back together with stirng; rubbed with olive oil and bunged in the oven.

                                                Or fried medallions - mushroom, grain mustard, cream sauce.

                                                Leftovers of either are good on a lunch time salad or sandwich

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  Nice. I like to do something similar with mushrooms and almonds and spinach. Except I butterfly the tenderloin with cuts that divide the meat into thirds, then thin it more with a good pounding. I also brown stove-top before throwing her in the oven.

                                                2. I rolled a couple in loads of homemade Sri Lankan 5 spice powder before roasting. Served with a green mango chutney I had made a few days earlier. Highly recommended.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                      Oops, I lied: It's more than five spices:

                                                      1 tbsp raw rice
                                                      1 2-inch piece cinnamon
                                                      3 cloves
                                                      2 tbsp coriander seeds
                                                      1 tsp black peppercorns
                                                      Seeds from 3 green cardamom pods
                                                      1 tbsp cumin seeds
                                                      1 tsp black mustard seeds

                                                      Normally I also add a couple of fresh curry leaves and a tablespoon of grated coconut, but did not for this batch. The only key is toasting everything until very dark brown before throwing it all in the mortar-and-pestle.

                                                      1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                                        eip, it's an interesting combo with pork to use curry leaves, but when i looked at a red pork curry from sri lanka, it had curry leaves. http://www.asianonlinerecipes.com/onl...
                                                        i love to use curry leaves. my current fave with them involves shrimp, shallots, mustard seeds and coconut milk (made by chef ramesh at raaga restaurant near us). ooooooh yummy! (they're also great in a cabbage dish, also with mustard seed -- dry cabbage curry http://vegetableplatter.blogspot.com/... ).

                                                        i was looking for a recipe for pork badun, which your spice list made me think of. but there are some differences. http://recipes.wikia.com/wiki/Sri_Lan...
                                                        here are the spices (plus g&g): turmeric, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, cardamom and clove. vinegar and onion are also used. i love pork badun!

                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                          Thanks for the links! And, yeah, curry leaves. Good, addictive stuff. It might sound odd, but my favorite thing to do with them lately is add them to the melting butter for slow-cooked scrambled eggs on weekend mornings. I usually do two for about six eggs or seven eggs, and fish them out after about 20 minutes---or whenever the flavor seems strong enough.

                                                          1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                                            with eggs, eh? sounds very interesting. you know, that combo sounds even more appealing if i could eat the curried egg with a sri lankan "hopper" with some seeni sambol! ;-)). or i might try frying the egg in the curry leaf-infused oil instead -- like i do with bacon fat basting of the egg in a skillet.

                                                            i've got some sambol recipe links here in this recipe for sri lankan black meat curry: http://www.chow.com/recipes/14154-sri... (note that the first link to seeni sambol takes you to a site with several sri lankan recipes).

                                                    1. re: skippy66

                                                      That sounds good, is the ground coriander flavor very strong? My husband (thinks he) doesn't like it much.

                                                      What do you serve it with?

                                                      1. Stuff it! Slice up half of a sweet onion and pan cook in olive oil until caramelized, add some slivers of pear, then allow to cool. Butterfly the tenderloin, season with garlic pepper, then stuff with onions and pear. Tie up with string, pan sear a bit, finish in a 350 oven. Allow to rest before slicing.