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Monday, November 7, 2011

Cranberry Glazed Pork Tenderloin


Now that Fall is here, there are cranberries all over the place in the grocery stores.  They are sweet, tangy, pretty, and wildly healthy for you (see food notes at the bottom)!  I set out to do this with a turkey breast, but all I could find were frozen ones, so I went with the always welcome in our house, pork tenderloin.

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Ingredients:
  • Pork tenderloin (I actually cooked two.  One to eat, one to freeze for another time.)
  • Chicago steak seasoning (or seasoning of your choice)
  • 1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp orange zest (from 1 large orange)
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary

Method:

This is one of those sauces where all you have to do is combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and let it go!  Really.  That's it.

Combine fresh cranberries...  (but if you are making this at another time of the year, the frozen cranberries will work just fine.)
1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries
sugar...
1 1/4 cup sugar
orange zest...
2 Tbsp orange zest (from 1 large orange)
minced ginger....
*note.  The easiest way to peel fresh ginger is with the edge of a spoon.  Seriously.  So easy.  And the fragrance??  Wow... somewhat like a spicy lemon.  Really adds a note of "WOW!" to the dish.  If you are cooking for small children, you may want to use a little less ginger.  It can be a little spicy for them.
1/4 cup fresh ginger, minced
orange juice...
1/4 cup orange juice
water....
1 1/4 cup water
And it ends up looking something like this.  Colorful, huh?  And did I mention healthy?! I suppose you could frown on the sugar in here.  If that is your argument, use a substitute.  Splenda?  Agave?  Honey?
Allow the cranberries to come up to a boil and cook for about 10-15 minutes.  At some point, the cranberries will start to "pop."  Literally, they sound like little red balls of popcorn bursting.  Kinda cool.  Then you can lower the temperature down to a simmer for a while until it gets to the desired consistency. 

Now add the chopped rosemary.
1 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
You can keep the sauce on a low simmer or turn off completely.  The sauce can easily be refrigerated if making ahead.  Also, depending on the texture and appearance you desire, you can either leave it chunky or you can pass the sauce through a fine mesh seive to get all the chunks out and have a smooth sauce.  But either way, believe me... this cranberry sauce is SO MUCH MORE flavorful than the stuff in the can!!  Personally, I actually like the esthetics of the chunkiness, so I did not strain my glaze.
Now for the pork...

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Season the pork liberally with the seasoning of your choice.
Chicago steak seasoning (or seasoning of your choice)
Sear the pork on ALL sides in hot (canola or vegetable) oil.  We want to sear in the juices and also have a beautiful crust on the outside.  Be sure to pat the meat dry before you do this, or it will not develop that beautiful brown color.  You can see here that one of my tenderloins had more moisture on it than the other, and did not brown as well.

After the meat is seared, insert a digital thermometer into the thickest end of the pork.  I use the kind that has a coated wire that leads from the inside of the oven to the outside.  You can set the desired temperature of the meat so there is no guess work.  The temperature goal is 145-150 for taking the pork out.  Remember, the pork will continue to cook even after you remove it from the oven while it "rests" for about 10 minutes.  You don't want it overdone or dried out.
After getting the thermometer set, pour the cranberry glaze over the tenderloins.
Bake uncovered at 375 degrees F until internal meat temperature reaches 145-150 degrees F.  This will depend on the size and weight of the meat.  Most likely around 20-25 minutes.  You can leave it in the skillet (depending on the ratings on your skillet), or transfer to an oven safe baking dish.
PLEASE allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into it.  You must give it time to rest.  This will redistribute the juices in the meat.  If you do not, all the juices will run out all over the cutting board and out of the meat.  This would result in a drier product.  Dry meat = not good.

Slice the pork into 1/2 inch pieces.  Mmmm... Isn't it pretty?  You can see the whole in the middle of that front piece where the thermometer was going through it.

So this is the final product.  Fresh, fragrant, slightly spicy cranberry glaze baked onto a juicy pork tenderloin. Yum!  I served with twice baked sweet potatoes, stuffed zucchini, and saffron rice.

For more delicious pork recipes, visit my Recipe Index!

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Here are some bonus recipes for you:
Grilled Zucchini Rolls 

Cranberry Cherry Chicken Wrap 

Chewy Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies with Candied Ginger Creme Filling 

Toasted Coconut Martinis 

Stuffed Pork Chops 

Lobster Linguini with Cognac Cream Sauce 

Method:

This is one of those sauces where all you have to do is combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and let it go!  Really.  That's it.  Combine fresh cranberries...  (but if you are making this at another time of the year, the frozen cranberries will work just fine.) sugar...orange zest...minced ginger.... orange juice...water.
 *note.  The easiest way to peel fresh ginger is with the edge of a spoon.  Seriously.  So easy.  And the fragrance??  Wow... somewhat like a spicy lemon.  Really adds a note of "WOW!" to the dish.

Allow the cranberries to come up to a boil and cook for about 10-15 minutes.  At some point, the cranberries will start to "pop."  Literally, they sound like little red balls of popcorn bursting.  Kinda cool.  Then you can lower the temperature down to a simmer for a while until it gets to the desired consistency.  Now add the chopped rosemary.

You can keep the sauce on a low simmer or turn off completely.  The sauce can easily be refrigerated if making ahead.  Also, depending on the texture and appearance you desire, you can either leave it chunky or you can pass the sauce through a fine mesh seive to get all the chunks out and have a smooth sauce.  But either way, believe me... this cranberry sauce is SO MUCH MORE flavorful than the stuff in the can!!  Personlly, I actually like the esthetics of the chunkiness, so I did not strain my glaze.

Now for the pork... Season the pork liberally with the seasoning of your choice. Sear the pork on ALL sides in hot (canola or vegetable) oil.  We want to sear in the juices and also have a beautiful crust on the outside.  Be sure to pat the meat dry before you do this, or it will not develop that beautiful brown color.  You can see here that one of my tenderloins had more moisture on it than the other, and did not brown as well.

After the meat is seared, insert a digital thermometer into the thickest end of the pork.  I use the kind that has a coated wire that leads from the inside of the oven to the outside.  You can set the desired temperature of the meat so there is no guess work.  The temperature goal is 145-150 for taking the pork out.  Remember, the pork will continue to cook even after you remove it from the oven while it "rests" for about 10 minutes.  You don't want it overdone or dried out.  After getting the thermometer set, pour the cranberry glaze over the tenderloins.  Bake uncovered at 375 degrees F until internal meat temperature reaches 145-150 degrees F.  This will depend on the size and weight of the meat.  Most likely around 20-25 minutes. PLEASE allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into it.  You must give it time to rest.  This will redistribute the juices in the meat.  If you do not, all the juices will run out all over the cutting board and out of the meat.  This would result in a drier product.  Dry meat = not good.

Slice the pork into 1/2 inch pieces.  Mmmm... Isn't it pretty?  You can see the whole in the middle of that front piece where the thermometer was going through it.  So this is the final product.  Fresh, fragrant, slightly spicy cranberry glaze baked onto a juicy pork tenderloin. Yum!  I served with twice baked sweet potatoes, stuffed zucchini, and saffron rice.

Food Nerd Notes: (cobbled together from various sources)
Cranberry Goodness:  The majority of physicians and other health professionals believe there is a clear association between a diet high in fruits and vegetables and a low risk of chronic disease. Phytonutrients (naturally derived plant compounds), particularly antioxidants, are increasingly being shown to help optimize human health.  Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins that can prevent the adhesion of certain of bacteria, including E. coli, associated with urinary tract infections to the urinary tract wall. The anti-adhesion properties of cranberry may also inhibit the bacteria associated with gum disease and stomach ulcers. Recent scientific research shows that cranberries and cranberry products contain significant amounts of antioxidants and other phytonutrients that may help protect against heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Since the early 21st century within the global functional food industry, raw cranberries have been marketed as a "super fruit" due to their nutrient content and antioxidant qualities.

Ginger Goodness:  Ginger has been claimed to decrease the pain from arthritis, and may also have blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties that may make it useful for treating heart disease. Preliminary research also indicates that nine compounds found in ginger may bind to human serotonin receptors, possibly helping to affect anxiety.  Advanced glycation end-products are possibly associated in the development of several pathophysiologies, including diabetic cataract for which ginger was effective in preliminary studies, apparently by acting through antiglycating mechanisms.
Ginger compounds are active against a form of diarrhea which is the leading cause of infant death in developing countries. Zingerone is likely to be the active constituent against enterotoxigenic E. coli heat-labile enterotoxin-induced diarrhea.

Ginger has been found effective in multiple studies for treating nausea caused by seasickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy.  Ginger is a safe remedy for nausea relief during pregnancy. Ginger as a remedy for motion sickness is still a debated issue. The television program Mythbusters performed an experiment using one of their staff who suffered from severe motion sickness. The staff member was placed in a moving device which, without treatment, produced severe nausea. Multiple treatments were administered. None, with the exception of the ginger and the two most common drugs, were successful. The staff member preferred the ginger due to lack of side effects.

9 comments:

  1. I follow Weight Watchers, and am a little concerned about the calorie and carb hit of the 1-1/4C sugar... have you tried this with a no calorie sugar substitute, I wonder?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have not tried that, but if you try it, please let us all know how it comes out! :)

      Delete
    2. I make fresh cranberries all the time. I have tried using light Agave sweetener in place of regular sugar and while it didn't taste as sweet, it was still good. Good luck!

      Delete
  2. Could you make this recipe with two large chicken breasts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it would be great on chicken or turkey!

      Delete
  3. I made this tonight. Really really good! I did substitute Swerve sweetener for the sugar, also cut the amount back as we prefer our food a little less sweet.
    Will be making it again for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I made this with the stuffed zucchini and the twice baked sweet potatoes. My family LOVVVVVVVED it! Definitely keepers. I did only use one tablespoon of ginger to my cranberry sauce and it was perfect for our taste. Thank you for such great, full family pleasing recipes!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. This was delightful! I didn't use near the amount of sugar, but still soooo good :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Happy New Year to you!
      Julie

      Delete