Sunday, May 4, 2014

Pork Tenderloin: 10 Reasons to Cook Pork, the Other White Meat

It never fails, my boys always call pork chicken. It doesn't matter if I say I'm making pork, it doesn't matter if I have a menu in front of them that says it's pork and it doesn't matter if I write "I made pork" across my forehead with a sharpie marker they would still say this is great chicken! I guess I don't blame them... pork is considered the other white meat ya know! Tonight I made a savory pork tenderloin with a shallot pepper rub and a side of pork gravy. Simply delicious!

Many people avoid pork because they consider it fattening or unhealthy. While some cuts of pork aren't the healthiest, some are... like pork tenderloin and loin chops. In fact, a lean piece of pork has the same amount of calories and fat grams as a piece of skinless boneless chicken breast. 

Honestly, our family loves all pork, including the not so healthy kind like bacon, ribs and pork butt (see my post on pulled pork butt ) My favorite by far is pork tenderloin and not just because it's healthy or tastes delicious, I love it for several reasons. In fact, I could easily name 10 reasons why I love pork tenderloin. So here are my reasons why:
  1. It's moist, tender and delicious. My boys mistake it for chicken, like all of he time.
  2. It's inexpensive. Especially if you buy a family pack from Wegmans. I know those family packs are ginormous so just freeze what you don't use and save yourself a few bucks.
  3. It's quick cooking. Only 15-20 minutes per 1 pound tenderloin. You can't cook some things that quickly in the microwave.
  4. It's healthy, low in fat, low in calories and it's an approved lean meat by the American Heart Association and Dr. Oz…how cool is that?
  5. It's great anytime of the year. Serve it with mashed potatoes and cranberry compote in the winter or serve it with jasmine rice and mango salsa in the summer. 
  6. It's easy to prepare. Put the whole loin in a large zip lock bag, add a little olive oil, citric juice, spices, herbs, salt n pepper, mix it around. That's it…5 minutes of prep work and you're done. Just as quick as toasting and buttering bread! 
  7. It's versatile. Keep it whole, slice it, stuff it, cube it, skewer it, grill it, roast it, pan sear it, slow cook it... The versatility goes on or whatever strikes your mood.
  8. It's good to serve hot, room temperature or even cold.
  9. It's perfect to serve a crowd. If I'm entertaining 12 people it's easier cook 4 loins than it is cook 12 chicken breasts or hamburgers. Plus it only requires buns, no condiments! 
  10. It's goes well with any ethnicity of flavors, Cuban, Spanish, Italian, Asian, Mexican, Greek, French. 
  11. I know I said 10 reasons but here's one more... Kids love it! Have them dip it in BBQ sauce, blue cheese or ketchup and they'll think they're eating chicken nuggets!
So there you have it, 11 reasons why I love pork tenderloin! Salute to pork tenderloin, the other white meat! 

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with a Shallot Pepper Rub (Click to print recipe)

Preparation and cook time: 25 minutes

Serves 6

  • 2  - 1 lb. pork tenderloins
  • 2 tb olive oil
  • 1 tb minced garlic
  • 1 tb minced shallot
  • 1/2 t dried tarragon
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1/8 t salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large zip lock bag add pork tenderloin and all of the ingredients - olive oil, garlic, shallot, tarragon, pepper and salt. Mix ingredients until pork is well coated. Place pork on a cookie sheet or roasting pan lined with a non stick piece of foil. Drizzle extra olive oil and spice mixture on top of pork. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (medium rare) and the top is deep golden brown. Take pork out of the oven and wrap the pork with the foil and let rest for 5 minutes. The internal temp should reach 160 (medium) after resting for 5 minutes. Place pork on a platter and cut into medallions. There will be juices in the foil from the pork, pour over top of slices pork and use as a gravy.

Food Impressions:

Nate: "This chicken is soooo good. I hope there is more"

Tyler: "This is so juicy. Can I have more gravy on the top?"

Zachary: "I hope you have lots more of this chicken!"

Dave: He was woking late so didn't get to have any of the delicious pork tenderloin. 

Andrea: Juicy, moist, crispy coating, flavorful. A huge hit and it only took me 20 minutes to make. 

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