Adapting with a Little Know-How

Give your pork a holiday feel with the flavors of orange, rosemary and thyme in this fabulous Orange Herb and Pork Tenderloin recipe. A bed of sweet potato cubes lends the tender meat a little sweetness, and the tangy, butter-kissed sauce makes the most of the flavors in the marinade. And steamed bright green beans add a pleasant pop of color, just dress with a spritz of Fleur de Sel and a drizzle of a good flavored olive oil (in this case we used Herbs de Provence EVOO.)

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This recipe is an adaptation from an article we found in the McCaffrey’s Supermarket seasonal magazine “Real Food.” But caution! Plan ahead for this meal because the meat needs to marinate for 3 hours or up to overnight, cook for another hour
(?? seriously??), and then rest for another 5 minutes… Guess who didn’t take that into account when we planned to make it? If we had gone ahead and made it the weeknight we were planning to, we would be eating dinner at 2:00 a.m. Obviously, that wasn’t going to fly…

However, there is a happy ending. The weekend was coming up so we decided to marinate the tenderloin on Sunday, allowing it to get happy overnight, making a much easier go of it on a Monday evening. (OK, so this wasn’t one of those “Meatless Mondays” we often blog about.)

And we also thought about the cooking times. An hour for a pork tenderloin didn’t sit right with us, and I’m glad we paid attention to our intuition. After 30 minutes—half the time—the pork registered 150 degrees (not the 160 the recipe called for), which was where we wanted it to be, temperature-wise. Cooking it for an hour would have produced a dried, tough piece of meat.

Oh, and the sauce. I knew from experience that reducing it was going to take way longer than 3 minutes as per the recipe. Instead I started reducing it as soon as I put the meat and potatoes in the oven. And although it was thick enough after about 20 minutes, I just turned the heat way down until everything else was ready and swirled in the butter before pouring over the pork.

In the end, perfect…

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Cubed sweet potato and onion get tossed with oil and salt.

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The pork tenderloin marinated over night in orange and fresh herbs.

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Cutting the cooked pork into 1/4-inch slices.

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The plated meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. pork tenderloin
  • 1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 large oranges, zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp. black pepper, coarsely cracked
  • 4 TBs. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • rosemary sprigs for garnish

Directions

  1. Unwrap tenderloin. If wet, pat dry with paper towels.
  2. In a large sealable plastic bag, combine rosemary, thyme, salt and 2 Tbs. orange zest. Add 3/4 cup juice, black pepper, 2 Tbs. oil, and vinegar, and massage bag to mix.
  3. Add tenderloin, press air out of bag, and seal tightly. Turn to coat with marinade. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or over night. The longer the better—and we marinated overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Transfer pork to a heavy sheet pan and refrigerate the marinade. Roast the pork for 25 to 30 minutes (checking periodically after 20 minutes for doneness), until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 150 degrees. Let rest 5 minutes.
  5. After putting the pork into the oven, toss sweet potato cubes, onion, and 2 Tbs. oil in a large bowl, then toss onto a sheet pan covered with parchment or foil. Roast potatoes the same amount of time, 25-30 minutes, then remove from oven and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
  6. While pork and potatoes are cooking, prepare the sauce. Pour marinade into a 1-quart saucepan. Boil marinade on med-high heat for 15-20 minutes, until thick and syrupy. Whisk in butter, swirling over the heat.
  7. Slice meat into thin slices (about 18). Serve 1/2 cup sweet potatoes topped with 3 slices pork and drizzle with sauce. Garnish with rosemary and serve.

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