Tomato Orange Pork Tenderloin – A great combination of unexpected flavors!
I’m always on the lookout for good pork tenderloin recipes. It’s a meat that we have often since it is lean and one of the more healthy options for carnivores. I’m especially on the lookout for recipes that can be made on the stovetop or in the oven since several of my friends don’t have access to a grill.
Even if you have a grill, you might not have good grilling weather all the time. It’s nice to be able to change gears and move indoors.
Although the combination of tomato and orange might seem odd at first, it’s a real winner. If you remember the Fish Baked in Parchment, one of my favorite recipes, it had 3 of these same ingredients: tomatoes, olives, and orange.
Here’s what you need:
Pork Tenderloin, Oranges, Garlic, Fresh Oregano, Fresh Thyme, Diced Tomatoes, Chicken Broth, Green Olives, Olive Oil, Paprika, Cumin, Chili Powder, Salt & Pepper.
Since pork is a very mild flavored meat, we’re going to kick up the flavor with a spice blend rub.
In a small bowl, combine ¼ teaspoon each of dried cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt & pepper.
Mix up the spices and sprinkle them evenly over the pork tenderloin.
I’ve cut my pork tenderloin in half so that it fits in my pan and also so it cooks a little faster. Also, if you see any tough, silvery “skin” on the outside of your pork, you’ll want to trim that away.
Use your hands to rub the spices into the meat and get a nice light coating on all sides.
If you meat is cold, right from the refrigerator, let it sit out at room temperature for about 10 minutes to warm up.
In the meantime, finely chop 3-4 cloves of garlic.
Pull the leaves off the stems of fresh thyme and fresh oregano to make about 1 Tablespoon each. Chop up the leaves and set aside.
Note: if you don’t have fresh herbs you can use dried but use only about 1/2 teaspoon each. Fresh herbs are readily available in most grocery stores and in this recipe, worth the investment.
OR you can always grown your own herbs in pots on the patio, deck, or balcony or in a garden.
Using a microplane or small grater, remove the zest from 2 oranges. Remember to just get the outer rind and not the pithy part underneath as it can become bitter.
Back to the pork!
Heat 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Add the pork tenderloin, and sear 3-4 minutes per side until nicely browned.
Remove the pork from the pan and set aside. Add 1 (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes and their juices to the pan. Pour in 1 cup of chicken broth.
Bring the pan to a simmer and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Go back to those oranges that you zested and squeeze out their juice.
Add the orange juice, chopped garlic, and chopped fresh thyme and oregano to the pan.
(Save that orange zest until the very end.)
If you like olives, add 1/3 cup of sliced green olives to the pan. I used 6 big olives here.
Bring the pan to a boil and reduce by half to thicken and concentrate the sauce.
Return the pork to the pan.
Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes or until the pork has cooked through. For faster cooking, you can cover the pan with a lid.
An instant read thermometer is your best tool for cooking pork. Stick the thermometer lenghtwise into the meat to get an accurate reading in the center of the pork. When it reaches, 145 degrees, it is cooked through.
Remove the pork from the pan and tent lightly with foil to keep warm. Let the pork rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing so that the juices can reabsorb into the meat.
Once you remove the pork, turn the heat up slightly on the pan to thicken the sauce one final time. I like this sauce on the thicker side – almost like a salsa.
Season the sauce with the zest from the oranges and with salt & pepper to taste.
Slice the pork and serve it on top of the sauce.
Just so you aren’t worried, my pork looks pinker in these photos than it really was. Once again, since I used my trusty Instant Read Thermometer, I was confident that my pork was cooked thoroughly without it being dried out.
I served this with a packaged yellow rice mix (I like Mahatma) that I gussied up with some green peas. Cook the rice according to the package directions and stir the frozen peas in when you are fluffing the cooked rice.
Tomato Orange Pork Tenderloin is one of those recipes that can go very simply into a weeknight family dinner or be dressed up for company.
The flavors are fresh and unique enough to taste special without requiring any fussy ingredients.
Here’s the recipe – Adapted from Publix