Just because the holidays are over and we're into a new year, that doesn't mean the need for "roast beast" is over. Hearty winter dinners are still the order of the evening, but cold weather eating doesn't have to be all about stews and soups. You can serve up some easy (and relatively quick) meals with a bit of finesse, using pork tenderloin and coordinating it with whatever flavoring elements you decide to add.
Pork tenderloin is a tempting entree item since it's generally lean and mild, is easy and quick to fix and with planovers in mind, it can star in later weekday dinners, like stir-fries, quick pasta or hot sandwiches.
Our recommendation du jour is that you ignore those tenderloins out there that others have seasoned for you and just get the "plain" ones. It's probably a good idea on several levels, but mainly because the manufacturers' flavors that we've tried seem too full of sodium and preservatives and certain spices that may not be to your, and your family's, tastes.
And our project du jour is to provide suggestions for you to try when you're in the mood to fix a "Sunday" roast any night of the week.
Maple syrup seems a natural with pork, as you'll discover in this simple recipe. Accompany with oven-roasted butternut squash, some buttered Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes. Or do a rice pilaf.
2 (12- to 14-ounce) pork tenderloins, at room temperature
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 tablespoon each, butter and peanut oil
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup, divided
6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, divided
3 tablespoons reduced fat/sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons country style (coarse) Dijon mustard
Rub tenderloins all over with sage, then sprinkle with coarsely ground pepper.
In a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high, heat butter until hot and bubbly. Add tenderloins and cook until brown on all sides, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook about 10 minutes longer, turning occasionally, until a thermometer inserted into pork registers 160 degrees.
Remove to a platter. Tent with foil to keep warm.
In a small bowl, whisk together 5 tablespoons of the maple syrup, 4 tablespoons of the vinegar, the 3 tablespoons chicken broth and the Dijon mustard. Keep handy..
Add remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low. Return pork and any accumulated juices to skillet. Add maple syrup mixture and turn pork in glaze just until coated, about 2 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board. Wait 5 minutes, then carve into thin slices. Arrange pork slices on a warm platter.
Stir remaining maple syrup into glaze in pan. Taste for pepper, and salt. Spoon over pork and serve. Makes 6 or more servings.