Can someone please explain to me why my grocery store does not sell small, plain, pork tenderloins? My choices are either pre-marinated normal size tenderloins (which are packed full of sodium and fake chemically stuff), or, giant 5+ pound Flintstone-style tenderloins. Luckily Trader Joe’s has them (for about $4/lb) and I can always find an excuse to go to Trader Joes: CHEAP WINE. Point being: you need a plain pork tenderloin for this recipe. Preferably something of normal size, like 1.5-2 pounds for two people. It’s worth the effort to find the pork tenderloins, because this dish is super simple and the results were an audible “MMMMmmmm” from M when he tasted it. (And he took the three remaining pieces in a pita pocket today for lunch, which is also an indicator that he really did like it.)
In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon each of the following herbs: paprika, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, salt and red pepper flakes (less than a teaspoon of that one if you don’t want too much heat).
Remove the tenderloin from its packaging and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the pork on a plate and sprinkle the herb mixture over all sides of the pork and press to adhere. Cover the tenderloin in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge until you are ready to cook.
Ready to cook? Good. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Set an oven proof skillet (cast iron for me) on the stove top with a little olive oil and a minced clove of garlic. Saute over high heat until fragrant.
Add the pork tenderloin to the skillet and brown on all sides. You’ll need to turn it after 2 minutes per side.
Once you have a nice brown crust on all sides of your tenderloin, put the skillet into the 450 degree oven. Set your timer for 20 minutes. Pour a glass of wine. (Who are we kidding, refill the glass you poured yourself when you started cooking this dish.)
After 20 minutes, use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of your tenderloin. You want it to be 145 degrees. Not 160. 160 degree pork is dry and gross. This will be juicy and beautiful.
Once the temperature has reached 145 degrees, remove the pork from the pan and tent it with foil. Leave it alone for 10 minutes. It’s going to finish “cooking” but will stay juicy.
Slice your pork into 1″ thick pieces. See, it’s perfectly cooked through. (A little pink is ok. I promise. So does the USDA.)
I served ours over buttered egg noodles and roasted broccoli (this recipe, no cheese). The jus (juice) on the cutting board was used as our sauce.
Easy, peasy, right?