I really like tenderloin. It’s easy to cook without baby sitting, is completely delicious, lean, utterly versatile, and the left overs make for some tasty ass lunches and weeknight meals. I will share the basic recipe to cook the tenderloin and a few yummy things I have made with it in the past (like these delish mini-sandwiches pictured below.)
Basic Roast Pork Tenderloin
I had a really hard time finding a basic roast method online for pork tenderloin, so I wanted to share mine. There are SO MANY ways to make tenderloin that range from pan searing and transferring to the oven, slow cooker, fussy spice rubs, glazes, overnight marinades, and full one-pan meals where the roast and veggies had to be basted regularly. It was really starting to piss me off. I knew the method existed, why couldn’t I find it again?? After about an hour and many, many search strings, I finally got something that gave me a base approach I could build out, fuss-free. You’re welcome.
- 1 1/2 pound package of pork tenderloin
- 1 large, yellow onion
- Whole white mushrooms
- A few cloves of garlic
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Grapeseed Oil (*Don’t be cheap alert)
- Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 Degrees.
- Trim any silver skin and excess fat from roast, wash it off thoroughly, and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Rub the roast all over with the oil and place in a roasting pan.
- Sprinkle the roast with salt and then freshly ground black pepper.
Make sure you roll the roast around so it gets coated everywhere with the seasoning. This makes a big difference in the quality of your drippings should you want to make gravy. You can definitely add other spices to your rub if you want – dried parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme are popular additions.
- Cut your yellow onion up in quarters or large, rough slices. If you slice, be sure to halve the slices. I like slices personally, they caramelize nicely and taste great with each bite of roast. Yummy in sandwiches, too.
- Next, toss your mushrooms, garlic cloves, and onion in olive oil. Spread them in the pan around the roast and then season liberally with salt and fresh, black pepper.
- Pop that bad boy in the oven for about 40 minutes. If you drank too much wine during prep, now is a great time to pass out on the carpet in front of the TV machine for a sober-up snooze.
- After the timer goes off and wakes you up, grab your digital thermometer and check the temp in the thickest part of the roast. If it’s between 158 and 160 degrees, pull the roast out and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.
If you want gravy….
- Grab a baster and suck out the drippings. Add a 1/4 cup of the drippings into a small sauce pot and turn the flame on low. Stir 1/4 cup of flour into a measuring cup filled with 2 cups of COLD water and mix well.
- Now comes the tricky part. While stirring the drippings constantly, slowly add the flour/water mixture to the drippings. Keep stirring! Keep stirring and stirring until you start to see the gravy get thick and smooth. If it’s thin, don’t stress. The cold air will thicken it when you are done cooking.
- Taste it. If it’s bland, add in more drippings a 1/4 cup at a time until you reach gravy nirvana. You can add in salt and pepper to season. You can add in a splash of white wine or sherry if its handy, or a dash of cayenne if you want a little zippy-do-dah thing happenin’. This part is up to you. It’s your nirvana.
Finally, we eat!
Slice the roast and serve it with a scoop of the caramelized veggies and gravy, if you made it. If you didn’t, flights of sweet-hot mustard, a tart berry jam, and mint jelly is always fun. Hell, eat it plain. Your side is totally wide open. Couscous or quinoa, mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, egg noodles, stuffing. Enjoy!
When to get freaky…
As I said earlier, this roast can be a really elaborate dish cooked with creative glazes that range from sweet to spicy to tart, it can be simple comfort food served with gravy, mashed pataters, and green beans, elegant stuffed with figs and stilton cheese and served over a bed of couscous with a flight of jams and mustards for garnish, and it can be prepped in advance so you have plenty of food for the week. When to get crazy is totally your call and there are a zillion recipes out there to try.
So much leftover….
Oh, this is the best part!! Run to the farmers market, if you have access to one, or hit the bakery section of the grocery store and get yourself a nice, crusty roll of baguette or country bread. Buy some crazy mustard or jam you have always been curious to try (Jalapeño jelly… really? When would I use that…?) You can get cream cheese, too. Just go for flavor, flavor, flavor! Farmer’s markets often have fun spreads and gourmet oils and vinaigrettes you can pick up. The sandwich that is pictured in the post has garlic-mint cheese spread and sweet jalapeño jelly I snagged from an Afghan merchant with a few of the caramelized onions. Oh. My. God.
You can also lightly sear it in a pan with a little oil and pop it in a stew or soup. The broth will tenderize the chunks of meat as the soup cooks. Or, shred it, stuff into a grilled corn tortilla, and add mango-habanero salsa and a sprinkle or onion and cilantro for crunch. So many parties in your mouth, so little time.