Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rosemary Tenderloin

Dinner with friends one night recently was an unexpected delight of beautifully cooked pork tenderloin. Hours later, with the flavor of the meat still lingering on my palate, the idea arose to try my hand at cooking a pork tenderloin, a particular cut of meat outside my cooking experience. Fortunately, there are a few cookbooks on the shelves around here and finding a recipe that looked easy enough for a first timer wasn’t hard. The Louisiana cookbook, River Road Recipes includes one that looked just about right without requiring three bags of groceries. But before pulling out the pots and pans I read the recipes and comments on pork tenderloin in two other books.

Tenderloin’s small size and leanness make it susceptible to overcooking, so an instant-read digital thermometer is a helpful tool for cooking the meat perfectly. The National Pork Board suggests cooking the meat to an internal temperature of 160°, and that is achieved by removing the tenderloin from the oven at 155°. The pork will continue to cook for a short time after being removed from the heat. If you ask Gordon Ramsey or any others on Master Chef they will tell you to remove the pork at 145° or 150° (it is safe at this temperature) and let it rest five minutes. If you don’t like pink pork, use the higher number, but bear in mind that 150° will result in juicier pork.

The recipe I chose comes from River Road Recipes III (The River Road, running along the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to New Orleans is an area famous for good cooking.) and is the third volume of a series that first appeared in 1959. This dish is called Rosemary Pork Tenderloin.


2-3 lb pork tenderloin, well trimmed

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


Combine everything but the pork in a 12x8x2-inch dish; mix well. Add the tenderloin and turn to coat in marinade. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours. Watch your time on this because some recipes for tenderloin warn that if the marinade includes citrus juice anything over two hours will make the meat mushy. Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator thirty minutes before cooking. Preheat oven to 425°. Coat an iron skillet with oil and sear the tenderloin over medium-high heat to brown on all sides, about five minutes in all. Place the skillet with the tenderloin in the oven and roast from fifteen to twenty minutes, until the internal temperature is 145°. Remove from the oven, tent the pork with foil and let it rest about five minutes before serving.

Overcooked tenderloin is dry and not what you want to put on the table, so care is needed in monitoring the meat’s internal temperature. I use a digital thermometer because it gives an instant read out and lessens the chance of overcooking. No question that the older dial-type thermometer will work and I know some who can use it skillfully, but with my lack of experience I feel more comfortable with the digital.

Any number of vegetables (or fruit) can accompany this dish, and I chose three of my favorites: potatoes and zucchini roasted in olive oil and rosemary, along with steamed fresh asparagus, and a green salad to add some color to the table.

1 comment:

  1. What a delightful, delicious looking and beautifully presented meal! Happy to hear of your success and that it turned out just what you expected.....mouth-watering tender pork tenderloin.


About Me

My photo
Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America