Orange You Cherry Pork Tenderloin

by Kelly on May 28, 2012   

Citrus marries well with the mild flavor of pork tenderloin

Been gone for so long…so many bits and pieces of life have blown across my path for me to trip over. A sick father (in Oklahoma!) now well or well-er, a CD in production, many travels both necessary and unexpected. But I’m back on terra firma and the first recipe I want to share is a wonderful pork tenderloin from Dorie Greenspan‘s beautiful book, Around My French Table. I’m always often looking for recipes that are quick to prepare, and this one caught my eye for both that and for the simple list of ingredients. Most complicated ingredient: cardamom. Next most complicated: oranges. I had both on hand. The cherries are not in Ms. Greenspan’s original recipe so they can be considered optional. Perfectly prepared pork tenderloin highlights the “tender,” and this looked very promising.

I have Ms. Greenspan’s book on long-term loan from my young friend, Sarah Green, who, had she stayed in town long enough, would have been my Kitchenelly co-worker. Instead she lammed out to Sonoma where she became a “cellar rat,” doing everything from crushing grapes to scrubbing out vats to grilling lunches. She is now on the other side of the planet in New Zealand (where they have just finished their wine season!) doing the same thing. She writes eloquently of her experiences at crushed and stirred. Please check it out.

Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin…with Dried Cherries | 4 servings

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan, Around My French Table

3 oranges (I like a Valencia or other sweet orange)
5 or 6 cardamom pods
1/2 small red onion or sweet onion
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 1/2 pounds
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
20 dried cherries
1 or 2 chive spears

Rinse the oranges and dry them. Cut the peel off one of the oranges, taking care not to get too much of the white pith. Try to get strips of at least one inch. Halve and juice that orange and set aside. Cut the longer strips of peel down to roughly one inch and slice all the peels into thin matchsticks. Set aside until needed.

Don't worry if you don't get every last bit of peel

A simple juicer works just fine, or use a citrus reamer and collect the juice into a bowl or measuring cup

Cut the longer strips down, and slice into very fine matchsticks

Slice the peels off the remaining 2 oranges, right down to the flesh. Slice them into their natural sections along the membrane line. Set aside until needed.

Try not to catch too much of the flesh, but don't leave the white pith on the orange

They slice easily into segments once the peel is removed

Crack the cardamom pods open with the tip of a knife and empty out the seeds inside. Discard the tough green pods. “Bruise” the seeds by pressing them with a table knife.

The pods are a little tough to open but can be pried or sliced open, depending on how dry they are

The seeds are hard little things and won't really crush under the knife but pressing on them will start to release their flavor

Finely chop the onion and set aside.

I like the color that the red onion imparts

Slice the tenderloin first in half, then slice each half in half again, and one more time again for 8 equal pieces.

This technique helps get even pieces

Try to make the slices as even as you can

The ends of the loin will be a slightly different shape

Over medium-high heat in a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil. Brown the pork slices for 2 to 3 minutes per side, salting and peppering the slices before turning.

A little salt and pepper at this point

They won't be dark brown, just aim for a nice sear

Reduce the heat slightly. Add the orange zest, juice, caramom, and onion and sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper. Stir the liquid to mix in the ingredients.

Reducing the heat slightly will keep the juice from popping up when it's added to the hot oil

When the liquid shows the first little simmer bubble, reduce the heat all the way to low, cover, and keep at the gentlest low simmer for 10 minutes.

If the mixture fully boils, it will start to firm up the meat -- this super low simmer is more like poaching, and won't contract the proteins, thus keeping essential moisture in

Add the orange segments and dried cherries. Bring the liquid back up to a the first little simmer bubble, reduce the heat again, and cook another 3 minutes. The pork should be at about 145°F on an instant read thermometer.

The orange segments will cool down the liquid, so bring it back up to the tiny bubble level

Transfer the pork and orange segments to a warm serving platter. On high heat, cook down the sauce for 1 or 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper if needed, and pour over the pork. Serve immediately, sprinkled with minced chives.

I like it over Israeli couscous, but it would be delicious with a creamy mashed potato or rice.

Knock, knock.

Kelly McCune © 2012


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Barry Franklin June 8, 2012 at 11:45 am

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