Herb and Mustard Roasted Pork Tenderloin
About a week or two after returning from my cross-country trip, excruciating lower back pain began creeping into my life. My chiropractor said it was a result of the long drive, something I was very sad to hear, as there are few things I love more than a good road trip.
The pain didn’t exactly leave me with a desire to stand in the kitchen and cook. It even robbed me of the focus needed to write – not to mention the comfort needed to sit for any amount of time in order to do so.
Before the pain got to a more unbearable point, I had picked up a package of cryovac’ed pork tenderloins. As the weeks crept on, I became more and more aware of the approaching sell-by date. I knew I had to come up with a quick and uncomplicated preparation (thankfully, pork tenderloins lend themselves to that), or I was going to lose this meat purchase.
I browsed through my cookbook shelf, and pulled out Suzanne Goin’s Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table, where I was delighted to come across a fairly effortless, but oh so flavorful preparation for a pork loin roast. I’ve noticed in other recipes that Ms. Goin loves utilizing Dijon mustard in her dishes, which is fine by me. I love Dijon mustard, too. I was awakened, once again, as to how much flavor it can add to roasted meats, while sealing in moisture. This dish was perfect for me to eat throughout the week. It would also be perfect as an elegantly simple special occasion dinner for guests. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.
I had thought that I would add a little Creole mustard to the sauce to add a little depth of flavor, but found it wasn’t necessary. I suspect that browning the mustard-marinated meat in a saute pan until the residual coating of mustard caramelizes, adds tremendous flavor, and all that caramelized goodness ends up in a quickly made sauce to serve with the roast.
As for the road trip, I don’t regret it, and hope to find a way to do more of them without paying such a huge price.
Mustard and Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin
The whole pork loin roast Goin uses is larger than a tenderloin, but the recipe is easily adaptable to the smaller cut.
- @ 2 pork tenderloins tied together with kitchen twine, @ 2 pounds
- 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves, plus 4 sprigs
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 7-8 cloves of garlic, smashed with the blade of a knife
- 2 sprigs rosemary, broken into 2-3 inch pieces
- 2 sprigs sage
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- @ 1/2 cup chicken stock
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Whisk together the mustard, thyme leaves, parsley and 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a shallow baking dish. Stir in the garlic cloves, and slather the pork with the mustard mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. I left mine in the fridge over two nights, and it was fine.
- Remove the pork from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking, to bring it to room temperature. After 30 minutes, scrape off the mustard marinade, saving it. Then season the pork roast with salt and pepper, if desired – I found the meat well seasoned enough with out this, though.
- Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for @ 3minutes. Swirl in the remaining olive oil, and wait a minute or two until the pan is very hot, almost smoking.
- Place the pork loin in the pan, and sear it on all sides until well browned and caramelized. Don’t turn or move the pork too quickly or the mustard clinging to the meat will be left in the pan and not on the pork. The searing process can take about 15 -18 minutes.
- Transfer the pork tenderloin to a roasting rack, reserving the searing pan, and slather the reserved marinade over the meat. Tuck the ends of the rosemary, thyme and sage sprigs into the twine tied around the meat, then top with 2 tablespoons of the butter.
- Roast the pork until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 120 degrees, about 35 minutes. Let the pork rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.
- While the roast is resting, make the sauce by returning the searing pan to the stove over medium-high heat, allowing it to heat up for a minute or so. Then deglaze the pan with the chicken stock, bringing the liquid to a boil while whisking and scraping the pan to release all those bits of browned goodness. Turn off the heat, swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Slice the meat and nap with the sauce. BTW, Goin sautés and toasts mustard herb bread crumbs to shower over the meat. I sure that’s delicious, but I didn’t have the patience for that, and the dish was fabulous, anyway.
Yield: 4-6 servings