Ryan Thomas is a university graduate who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
Pork tenderloin is one of my great discoveries in cooking. The name itself describes some of the wonderful attributes of it—that it is, well, tender!
It is a big great chunk of meat with no bones that is so easy to prepare and succulently delicious to eat. It looks like a great piece of steak, beautiful when it comes out, juicy and garnished with herbs and sauce. The fact that this cut is so cheap compared to other high-quality pieces of meat makes it a natural choice for many home cooks.
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The sauce is an important element of the finished dish. Pork's great attribute is that it is a canvas upon which an artist can paint with whatever they want. There's a reason why there are a million and one different types of barbecue sauces.
I think that pork goes particularly well with fruity flavors and sweetness, and this recipe goes full to the hilt on this dimension. This marinade is a wondrous combination of blackberries, brown sugar, brandy, honey, and the lively spark of pepper, salt, and some cayenne. The marinating flavors sink deep into the meat, and then it is baked until it is delectably tender in an oven, with carrots as an accompaniment. Some cilantro or other green herb on top provides a lovely contrast at the end, and the sauce boiled down to pour over it. Voilà, magnifique!
I adapted this recipe from My Little French Kitchen by Rachel Khoo, a great cookbook with some excellent photos, well-written recipes, and marvelous food.
- 2 pounds pork tenderloin
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup blackberry jam
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- Salt, to taste, but plentiful
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 3 carrots, chopped
- Cilantro, for garnish
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- Well ahead of time, prepare the marinade. I like to do it in the dish which I will cook the pork itself in in the oven. Mix together the honey, brown sugar, brandy, lemon, jam, some salt, and pepper. Salt and pepper the pork itself, and then plunge it into the marinade and coat thoroughly. Marinate up to overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the dish into the oven, with the pork covered by the marinade. After 15 minutes, turn over the pork and add in the carrots, chopped into roughly homogenous pieces. Turn over the pork and coat with the marinade every 15 minutes or so.
- After 1 hour, take the dish out of the oven. Pour the sauce into a generous saucepan and boil it until it reduces and becomes thick. Be careful of it boiling up out of the saucepan! Preserve the pork and carrots either in the warm oven or with aluminum foil over it.
- One the sauce has reduced, either keep it in the saucepan if this isn't inconvenient or place it into a sauce vessel. Put some cilantro or another green herb over the pork, and serve, pouring the sauce over it. I like to serve it over couscous, but rice would also work.