Next to boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pork tenderloin is probably the most versatile lower-fat meat protein. Pork tenderloin is also very simple to make, as this recipe demonstrates.
The slightly sweet taste of the cranberry sauce helped encourage even my almost-vegetarian R to gobble up this pork. Yet as kid-friendly as this recipe is, it is also elegant to serve to guests. We served ours will steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes. It was a hearty but healthy meal, enjoyed by all.
Pork tenderloin with cranberry sauce*
1 pound pork tenderloin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup cranberry sauce (premade canned is fine)
½ cup red wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Combine the salt, pepper, and thyme in a large shallow bowl. Roll the pork tenderloin in the spice mixture thoroughly, to ensure even coverage.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the pork tenderloin. Do not move the pork around in the pan, but rather let it sit on one side for several minutes before turning, to ensure good browning each side. Brown each side of the pork tenderloin.
Combine the cranberry sauce, red wine, and balsamic vinegar, and pour into the pan. Stir a bit to loosen the good browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and cover, cooking for 15 minutes.
Check the temperature of the pork. It should read 165 degrees internally before you remove it from the heat. If it needs more time after 15 minutes of cooking, cook for 5-10 minutes longer.
Once the tenderloin is fully cooked, remove it from the pan and let it sit 5-10 minutes (this allows the juices inside the pork to cool slightly…if you slice into the pork immediately, all the juices will leave the pork and it won’t be as tender). Slice and serve, topping with the cranberry sauce.
*Pork tenderloins are often sold in packages of two 1-pound tenderloins. You could easily double this recipe; just make sure your skillet is large enough for both pieces of meat to cook in the bottom of the pan without touching one another.