I’ve been cooking pork for years and will somewhat jokingly announce that ‘I think the pork is cooked, but it’s not dry enough yet so I’m going to let it cook for 5 or 10 more minutes…‘ (not a good idea).
So I was pretty amazed with the results when I recently discovered a little secret on how to cook pork tenderloin to perfection (I just never knew).
Two tenderloins should serve four people but if your guests are big eaters, you might want to prepare three of these or you could just be sure to have several side dishes, such as baked acorn squash and roasted or mashed potatoes. I usually serve a chunky applesauce too–sweetened very lightly.
When I serve it during the holidays, my favourite method is to stuff it with a bit of dressing similar to what I use for turkey. I really like the festive feel to it–it reminds me of Christmas dinner but is 1,000 times easier.
- 2 pork tenderloins * butterflied (see photos at bottom)
- 4 cups toasted bread crumbs
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 1/2 cup celery, minced
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 tsp each of dried sage, rosemary and thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp butter
- Melt butter in skillet, saute onions and celery until translucent. Add bread crumbs, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper.
- Fill the tenderloins with the bread crumb mixture, preserving 1 cup for the crust. Roll each tenderloin and tie with kitchen string. Rub with butter and roll in the preserved crumbs.
- Place on broiler pan that has 1 1/2 cups of water in the bottom (tenderloins are not sitting in the water).
- Now for the big secret to success! Preheat oven to 500 degrees--yes, 500 degrees! Apparently, because pork tenderloin is very low in fat, cooking at lower temperatures drys the meat out before it is cooked. I just never knew...
- Place tenderloins in oven and bake for 30 - 35 minutes. Watch closely so as not to overcook. It should remain juicy with a pale pink colour. If using a thermometer the temperature should reach 150 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes - the meat continues to cook.
Here’s a brief visual ‘how to’
- Remove tough sinew (if present). Slice through the loin but not completely. This is how to ‘butterfly’ meat. The one on the left has been butterflied.
- Place wax paper on top and pound with wooden mallet. This flattens the meat so that it’s all the same thickness. It also tenderizes it.
- Prepare stuffing.
- Place on top of tenderloins (reserve some stuffing to coat tenderloins).
- Roll each tenderloin separately and tie together with kitchen string. (Roll each tenderloin in the reserved stuffing to coat). Place on broiler pan with 1 1/2 cups of water in the bottom. Meat is not in the water – the water serves to steam them.