Tender Meat For Tender Moments: Pork Tenderloin

Last winter, while grocery shopping, I found this pork tenderloin on super sale and it called out to me saying “Take me home!  I would make for the perfect candle lit romantic meal.”  (I never get freaked out by talking meat).  So I did, but I never got around to actually making it.  I’m still working on cleaning out my freezer and this pork tenderloin was at the top of this list.  After 12 months in the deep freeze, I finally hauled this little guy out and got to business.  Although, I’m sure it wasn’t as great as it would have been if I hadn’t neglected the poor thing for so long, but it did turn out very well and it was a very special meal full of special tender moments.

I’d never made a tenderloin before, so it was a bit of an adventure.  Although, I went maverick on it quite a bit, I based my recipe on this food network recipe with a few ingredient additions and substitutions. I used hard apple cider as the marinade and gravy base, since the apple flavor is such a traditional pork side-kick, although you can beer as the original food network recipe uses.


Tenderloin ready to be roasted

Roasted Pork Loin with Apple Cider Gravy

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 22 oz. bottle Hard Apple Cider
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 (3 1/2) pound boneless pork loin, tied
  • 1 Tbs butter, sliced into tsp slices
  • 1 large garlic clove sliced
  • sage leaves
  • 1-2 Tbs butter for roue
  • 1-2 Tbs flour for roue

Evening before or morning of meal, prepare your marinade: In a sauce pan, melt butter.  Saute onions and garlic in butter until nicely browned, about 5 minutes or so.  Stir in dried spices and allow to saute and toast for about 1 minute.  Add apple cider and mustard and bring to a boil.  Allow to cool.

Marinate your pork loin: Place your raw pork loin in a container.  Pour the prepared marinade over the pork and cover.  Refrigerate 8-24 hours.

Prepare your tenderloin for roasting: Remove loin for the marinade and set marinade aside.  Using a meat tenderizer or the flat side of a cooking handle of a random tool.  Hit the tenderloin a bit to make it flatten out a bit and to tenderize the meat.  Season the tenderloin on all sides with sea salt or kosher salt and pepper.  Place the butter and garlic slices along with some sage leaves, dried or fresh, along the center of the meat.

Truss your tenderloin:  Using string, tie your tenderloin up into a circular log.  I’ve never done this before, so I sort of just winged it.  I started wraping the string around one end, and then tied it off on the bottom of the log, or the opposite side of where the meat overlaps.  I tied a knot and then bring the sting forward, holding it in place.

Wrapping the string around the meat, I pulled the string behind where I was originally holding the string forward and pulled it around, securing the string in place.  I repeated this until I got to the end of the roast.

If you didn’t get that, which I can understand, check out this video demonstrating a slip knot method, skip to 54 seconds to see the process.  My garlic, butter and sage, did squeeze out a bit when tying up, but I just slipped as much of the filling under the string again as I could.

Brown Tenderloin: Using a skillet over medium-high heat, brown all sides of the tenderloin to prepare it for roasting.  This helps trap the juices inside the meat and keep your roast nice and juicy.

Roast Tenderloin: On a baking sheet, roast tenderloin at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads about 155-160.  Remove from oven and tent with aluminum foil until ready to serve.

Make Apple Cider Gravy: While the tenderloin roasts, prepare gravy.  Take half of your marinade and place in a sauce pan.  Bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat.  Meanwhile, mix together your roue paste by forking together an equal amount of butter and flour until it forms a paste.  When sauce is boiling, add the roue paste and stir occasionally until your sauce thickens to a gravy.  You can start out with just 1 Tbs of roue paste and add the second if the sauce is not thickening quickly enough.

Get Ready For Romance: Slice your tenderloin.  Serve your tenderloin with mashed potatoes and a salad or vegetable side.  Spoon your apple cider gravy over the tenderloin and your potatoes.  Get plates on table, Barry White on the stereo, light the candles and step into something a little more comfortable! This meal is definitely going to spice up your life.  Have fun!

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