I’ve been in a dinner rut lately.
I know. Crazy right?
It’s been busy at our house the past couple months. Even more than usual, I guess. It’s birthday season for us. Following the holidays we have a slew of birthdays in our immediate and extended local family so I do a lot of prep for those. Which really just means I get to think about decorating cakes all the time.
So anyway, after a few weeks of the same last minute dinners I was determined to make something really great with just what I had in the house.
I’ll say it again – a well stocked pantry = happiness.
So last night we had this wonderful, pan seared, then roasted, pork tenderloin with an intensely flavored sweet and savory pan sauce. Best part is it’s all done in one pan so there’s less clean up.
Let’s grab our ingredients shall we?
Here’s what you need: some olive oil, maple syrup, dijon mustard, whole grain dijon mustard, chicken broth, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, heavy cream, and two cloves of garlic. Oh, and the pork tenderloin. That’d be good.
First things first – pat down every square inch of the surface of the meat. When you stick it in the pan you don’t want any excess moisture getting in the way of a beautiful brown sear.
Generously sprinkle the kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper all over both sides of the pork.
Set your oven to 400 degrees.
Heat two tablespoons of oil in a cast iron pan (or any oven safe pan) over Med-High to High heat until the oil faintly smokes. Add the meat immediately and leave it there for a minute. We want to get the bottom nice and brown. Flip and keep searing in this way until the whole outside is golden brown and lovely.
Mmm. Like that. Once you’ve got the outside totally seared, pop the pan into the preheated 400 degree oven. You want to cook it until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. (If you don’t already have a digital probe thermometer I implore you – buy one for yourself. They’re the coolest things ever! You stick the probe into the meat before it goes in the oven and it’s connected by an oven safe cord to the digital readout device thingy that sits on your counter top. You can see as your meat temp goes up degree by degree. Essential to getting the timing right! I will never go back!)
While the meat is cooking through, now would be a good time to prep your sides (if you’re having any, I assume you are). We had some scratch mashed potatoes and green salads. Simple stuff.
Here ’tis straight out of the oven. I want to say that took about 15 minutes. But do not go by the time – go by the temperature. So important.
Now, the next step is the easiest and one of the most important ones but it’s the one we all forget (or choose not to follow) once in a while. Let the meat REST. 10 minutes. Go. Get busy with your sauce. You’ve got other stuff to do.
Mince your garlic…
And throw it in the pan with all the drippings from the meat. Can you tell I let my pan get too cool? Oops. Your pan should be HOT. Like, take it out of the oven and put it back on the burner over Med-High heat. (Word of warning – remember to use your oven mitts when you grab that pan out of the oven. I know, it sounds like common sense. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at that pan handle in the oven and reached my bare hand out to grab it like usual. ::Facepalm:: Don’t be like me.) Cook it for just under a minute.
Next, pour in a cup of chicken broth…
…a tablespoon of each of the mustards…
…and a couple glugs of pure maple syrup (about 1/4 cup). Let that simmer down until it’s reduced to about a half a cup. Usually if we want a sauce thickened we turn to flour or cornstarch. And those methods are fine and perfect for many applications. But in this case, with a mild pork tenderloin, I wanted to amp up the flavor. Reducing does that nicely.
Finally, we’re going to pour in just a little bit of cream to round out the flavor. Not enough to make the sauce creamy, just a couple tablespoonfuls. Taste your sauce now and add salt and pepper to taste. Remember you salted the pork already so the drippings are salty to begin with.
Slice up your pork into 1/2 inch slices.
And pour that wonderful sauce all over the pork. This pork is tender and juicy. The sauce is savory and sweet. Pair with some mashed potatoes and a green somethingorother and you’re good to go! Restaurant quality dinner on the table in about half an hour (ehh…maybe 40 minutes)!
Pork Tenderloin with Maple Dijon Pan Sauce
1 Pork Tenderloin
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
For the sauce:
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Whole Grain Mustard
1/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pat pork dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle all sides generously with salt and pepper.
Heat canola oil on Med-High heat in a cast iron (or other oven-safe) pan just until the oil faintly smokes.
Using tongs, place pork in pan and sear for at least one minute without moving it, or until bottom is golden brown. Flip and repeat until all sides are seared.
If you have a probe thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the pork. Move pan into preheated oven. Remove when thermometer reaches 155 degrees. (Watch it as it’s getting close – the temp goes up really fast towards the end so being a minute or two off makes a big difference in the juiciness of the meat.) If you don’t have a probe thermometer, check with the old fashioned kind after about 15 minutes.
Move the pork to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes without cutting into it. Put the pan with all the drippings back onto the burner over Med-High heat.
Mince the garlic. Add to drippings in pan and saute for 1 minute.
Add chicken broth, mustards, and maple syrup. Allow to cook down until reduced to about 1/2 a cup. Add the cream and taste before seasoning with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cut the pork into 1/2″ slices and pour sauce over the pork.