BRAISED PORK TENDERLOIN
Pork Tenderloin is such a lovely cut of meat in terms of texture, with its mild flavor making it a great candidate for punchy sauces and seasoning. Plan ahead for this recipe and follow my cooks notes for an incredibly tasty and moist result.
PREP TIME: 10 min
STOVE TIME: Wonderbag Method 25 min
Conventional Method 1 hour
FOR THE MARINADE:
Salt and pepper
2 pork tenderloins
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp grain mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup (240ml) milk
3 Tbsp (45 ml) olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
1/2 cup (120 ml) white wine
MARINATE THE PORK
Salt and pepper your pork tenderloins on all sides. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, thyme, mustard and Worcestershire. Distribute evenly across the 2 pork loins, and rub the mixture into the meat using the back of a spoon.
Place your seasoned pork loins into a Ziploc bag and pour in the milk. Seal, trying to squeeze out as much air as possible, and let sit in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Remove the ziploc bag from teh refigerator one hour before cooking to let the meat come closer to room temperature.
1) When ready to cook, remove pork from marinade, reserving the liquid for later.
2) Heat a 2 ½ quart (3 litre), shallow braising pan (with short side handles) on medium-high, add 2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil and brown the pork on all sides (about 3 min per side). Remove pork from pan and set aside.
3) Add remaining Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil and onions, and sauté for 5 minutes, until soft and golden.
4) Add the wine to deglaze the pan, cooking for about 2 minutes and stirring to dislodge any of browned tasty bits from the bottom of the pan.
5) Pour in the reserve marinade and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
6) Place the browned pork loins on top of the boiling onion mixture and immediately cover the pot with its lid, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
7) Seal your lidded pot in the Wonderbag and leave it to cook for a minimum of 4 hours (best to leave it 6-7 hours, or all day, the flavours develop the longer you leave it).
No Wonderbag? Then I recommend you switch to a 'roasting' technique:
Preheat your oven to 350F/180C, then follow steps 1-5 above. Place the browned pork loins on top of the boiling onion mixture and move your dish to the oven.
If you don't have a shallow braising pan, then use a normal frying pan for steps 1-5, and transfer to an oven-proof baking dish.
Roast in your preheated oven for 20 min, or until an internal meat thermometer measures 145F/62C. Remove pork from oven, cover with foil and let rest 5 minutes before carving.
Transfer the pork to a cutting board for carving. If you've used the Wonderbag method, then you can place your cooking pot back on the stove over medium-low heat to further reduce the sauce a bit (if desired), while you carve the meat.
Pour sauce into a pitcher, gravy boat, or directly over the platter of meat...as you wish!
INGREDIENTS: Pork Tenderloin can be a bit tricky to cook. Many people have told me they tend to over cook it, it dries out and/or becomes chewy. I’ve had the same experiences in early days, and I’ve found my success with cooking pork tenderloin comes from 2 things:
1) Marinating it in milk (yes milk) and spices for 4 days (yes, 4 days) to tenderize, swell the fibers with moisture, and infuse with flavor.
2) When cooking, it’s important not to completely submerge the meat in boiling liquid as it needs a slow cook at a low temperature (aka, below boiling point). If the meat goes above 145 degrees Fahrenheit (62 Celsius), you’re going to have a nice piece of shoe leather on your plate (yes, sarcasm).
COOKING: When your bring the reserve marinade to the boil, the milk might look like it wants to curdle, but just keep whisking it vigorously to emulsify and it will smooth out nicely.
CARVING: When carving your pork, try to slice it thin, on a diagonal (45 degree angle) as this will deliver the tenderest bites…and it just looks better!
KITCHEN BUDDIES: With the Wonderbag, you remove the pot from the heat source, allowing the pork to braise gently in the residual heat of the sauce. And because you can safely leave it all day, you can maximize the flavor development of all those yummy seasonings without worrying about over-cooking.
My go-to pan for braising in the Wonderbag is a round, 2½ quart (3 litre) Le Creuset, cast iron pan that measures 11 inches (30cm) in diameter, and almost 2.5 inches (6cm) deep (with a tight fitting lid of course).
Roasting it in the oven is also delicious, and does give it a slightly different taste. Both methods are great - just pick the one that suits your timing for that day and off you go!
Recipe & Photo Credit: Cathy Menees