This is as easy an entrée recipe as you can find. I love this quick pork tenderloin preparation and I think I will make it over and over again. This is perfect for those evenings when you simply don’t have time to fuss (much). This requires a little basting and attention during the thirty minutes that it is roasting. And, I’ve devised a quick brine for the pork to ensure that it comes out tender, but it is very simple.
So, let’s just jump into this one…
1 pork tenderloin
2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
3 Tablespoons honey
juice of 1 lemon
2 to 3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 sprigs of thyme (leaves only)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 quart water
¼ cup table salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To brine the pork, prepare a large resealable bag with a quart of water in which you have dissolved ¼ cup salt and ¼ cup sugar. Remove any excess fat or silver from the pork and place the tenderloin in the bag. Seal the bag, place it in a large bowl (to avoid calamity) and place it in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes. Remove the pork from the brine and discard the brine. Rinse off the tenderloin under cool water and pat it dry with a paper towel. Place the tenderloin in an oven proof pan.
In a small bowl, combine the mustard, honey, lemon juice, chopped garlic, thyme leaves, and oil. Mix it thoroughly and pour it over the pork. Place the pork in the oven. Roast the pork for approximately 30 minutes, basting it with pan juices every 8 to 10 minutes. If near the end of the cooking time you find that the marinade is starting to burn, cover the dish loosely with foil for the remaining time. I covered mine with ten minutes remaining. When a thermometer in the thickest part of the pork reads 145 degrees, remove the pork from the oven, tent the dish with foil and allow the pork to rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
Recently, the USDA changed the guidelines for pork cooking. Now, a cut of pork (though apparently not ground pork) is considered safe at 145 degrees. This is good news, because I’ve seen plenty of pork ruined by overcooking in the name of safety. At 145 degrees, the pork will be pinkish and very tender.
Allowing the pork to rest allows the juices to be re-absorbed into the tissue. If you cut meat before it rests, the juices will pour out onto the cutting board. If you let the meat rest properly, very little juice is lost because most has re-absorbed into the meat, resulting in a juicy meal. I am a fan of allowing meat to rest after roasting. It makes a huge difference in the quality of the meal.
p.s. This recipe was inspired by a pork roast in English Homes & Gardens, and they even went to the trouble of also roasting pears and parsnips with their version…something to seriously consider.