Here’s a quick and versatile way to grill a pork tenderloin. I’m marinating mine in teriyaki sauce—not the sticky stuff in a bottle—and then serving it with brown rice noodles, but you could marinate it or baste it with any flavors you have in mind. The 1″ thick slices are skewered on two long metal skewers (to keep the slices from spinning) and quickly grilled over direct heat. The meat chunks could be further cut after grilling—sliced or pulled—or served in the large chunks, depending on how you want to eat them. I sliced the large chunks in half, just to make them easier to eat. I had some roasted bell peppers in the freezer that I heated and sliced, and I grilled a few onions to complete the dish.
I made the traditional teriyaki sauce without any extra sugar. There is plenty of sugar in the mirin, a sweetened rice wine. I’ve always disliked what has passed for teriyaki sauce, even before I got diabetes, because it was just too sweet for my taste, kind of like those bottled barbecue sauces that hide the flavor of grilled meats. Traditional teriyaki has just the right sweetness to complement whatever meat you use it with. I did add garlic and ginger to the sauce, which some purists might object to, but we like those flavors very much, and the three basics in the sauce—soy sauce, mirin, and sake—held their own just fine.
Remember not to throw out the marinade, but to boil it for a few minutes to serve as the final sauce.
Grilled Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin
Allow several hours for marinating the pork tenderloin chunks, plus time to set up the grill.
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) soy sauce
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) mirin
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) sake
- 1 tablespoon grated garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 pork tenderloin, sliced in 1″ thick slices
- Mix the teriyaki ingredients and place in a large zip top bag with the pork tenderloin slices. Marinate for about 2-4 hours.
- Lift out meat slices and pour remaining marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 3 minutes. You could cook it longer to reduce it for a glaze, but I wanted to use it as a sauce for the meat, vegetables, and noodles.
- Skewer the meat slices on two metal skewers to keep the slices from spinning as you turn it on the grill. It will kind of look like you have reconstructed the tenderloin on the skewers. You don’t need to have space between the slices, but you could if you want them browned on all sides, in which case you might want to use more skewers.
- Set up the grill for medium-high direct heat, about 400°.
- Oil the cooking grate and grill the skewered pork on all sides until nicely browned. We eat our tenderloins a little pink, but you can cook them as long as you desire. Remove the cooked meat to a platter and rest, covered, for a few minutes before serving.
Quick, because I’m using pork tenderloins instead of a cut that benefits from long cooking, like a pork shoulder. In fact, after browning the tenderloin cubes, You only add them to the sauce at the last minute before serving.
One of my freezer packs of tomato sauce was marked “tomato-pepper” because one day I had a bunch of bell peppers harvested on the same day as some tomatoes. So, instead of roasting the tomatoes with carrots and onion and garlic, I roasted them with the peppers and it all went into the blender. I’ve been waiting for the right recipe to use them. You will have a chunkier sauce if you are using fresh chopped peppers in your sauce. I’m also going to add two chopped red poblanos which may add a little zing (who ever really knows about poblanos?), and I’m marinating the pork cubes in smoked paprika for a smoky pepper taste. Our ripened poblanos turned a dark purplish-red; maybe you can pick those out in the image of roasted peppers from one of my roasting days:
Can you pick out the red ones?
Quick Pork and Pepper Ragout
- 1 1/2 to 2 lbs pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut in half inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 3-4 slices thick-sliced bacon, browned and crumbled, fat reserved (I cook mine in the oven)
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced onion
- about 2 cups combination of peppers of your choice: I had about 4 bell peppers in my sauce (blended) and added 2 chopped roasted red poblanos
- 2-3 large cloves of garlic, minced, grated, or pressed
- 2- 3 cups tomato sauce or mixture of tomato paste and stock or fresh tomatoes
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 pound penne pasta, cooked according to package directions.
- Coat pork cubes in marinade and refrigerate for at least a half hour or longer. Mine sat for about 4 hours. I did not add the garlic to the marinade, because I didn’t want it to burn in the browning of the meat.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add two tablespoons reserved bacon fat and bring to sizzling. Add marinated pork and brown on all sides. You will probably need to cook the meat in 2-3 batches so the cubes don’t touch and create a gray, watery mess. Set browned pork aside.
- Add onion, carrots, peppers and garlic to hot pan. Stir until beginning to wilt, then add your tomato sauce. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until carrots are tender.
- Stir in pork cubes and heat for just a few minutes.
- Serve over pasta; top with crumbled bacon.
If my husband weren’t lactose intolerant, I would stir in 1/4 cup sour cream at the end. Instead, I’m serving it on the side.
Yep, I had leftover biscuits one day, so I made breadcrumbs out of them and put them in the freezer. In the back of my mind, I was thinking they would be good on top of chicken casserole, as an alternative for actual biscuits, but today, they came in handy for breading pork schnitzel. Any fresh breadcrumb would work here, as well.
If you’ve never sliced a pork tenderloin—not a loin, but a tenderloin—you might not know how delicate the meat in this cut is. You do not need to pound this meat to make it thin enough for schnitzel; it’s so tender, that all you need to do is press it flat with your fingers. The one exception might be those odd ends of the tenderloin, which you can literally pound with the heel of your hand. I put my 1/2″ slices between plastic wrap to press, as you can see in the photo. Then it’s just a matter of the traditional flour-egg-breadcrumb breading and a quick fry of about 2 minutes per side, and your little tenderloin turns into a stack of schnitzel. Everything else—sweet potatoes and asparagus—roasted in the oven for an easy, but pretty glamorous meal.
Biscuit crumb breading
Fry in oil and butter
Pork Tenderloin Schnitzel with Biscuit Crumbs
one 1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin, trimmed and sliced in 1/2″ slices (don’t confuse a tenderloin with a pork loin)
1 cup flour, seasoned with 1 tablespoon dried thyme, 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, whisked with about 1-2 tablespoon of milk or water
2 cups fresh biscuit or bread crumbs
olive oil to cover skillet
1 tablespoon butter per batch
- Place tenderloin slices between sheets of plastic wrap and press each to flatten with hands. End pieces may need to be pounded a little with the heel of your hand. Pounding a tenderloin with something heavy, like a meat tenderizer, will be more likely to turn the delicate cuts into mush.
- Bread the flattened cutlets by dredging in the seasoned flour or shaking in a sealed plastic bag. Dip the floured cutlets in the beaten eggs—I turn them in the wet eggs with a spoon to fully coat the flour. Place the wet cutlets in the breadcrumbs, pressing to coat. Place the breaded cutlets on a paper towel for as long as 30 minutes.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat—I used an 11″ chicken fryer with high enough sides to prevent splatter. When the pan is very hot, add enough oil to cover the bottom, then add 1 tablespoon butter. When the fats are hot, place a batch of breaded cutlets in the pan without letting their edges touch each other. Fry until browned, about 2 minutes; turn over and brown the other side. Remove to paper towels and begin another batch. Pay attention to the level of oil so there is enough to prevent sticking and add another tablespoon of butter for each batch.
If you want to make larger cutlets, you can use a pork loin, which will stand up to more traditional pounding before breading.
So there were 2 cups of pumpkin left after taking 1 cup out for the Pumpkin Blondies of the previous post. Much to my husband’s dismay, I made a little pumpkin soup for dinner. To make it more pleasing to him and his sweet tooth, I put in a little maple syrup for sweetness and used full-fat coconut milk to finish it. The other way to his heart is through meat, so a simple pork tenderloin fixed that. As it turned out, he did like the soup, and I presented it as the first course, so he had to go through that course to get to the tenderloin.
In the future, I would maybe make the soup with more of a savory taste by adding some herbs instead of maple syrup, but I did like the coconut milk instead of heavy cream. It was very easy to make with canned pumpkin and chicken stock I had in the freezer, and the remainder has been in the fridge for two days without separating. I can see how roasting your own pumpkin might add good flavor, but finding good eating pumpkins is not that easy here. If you do substitute roasted pumpkin, you’ll have to put it all in the blender before eating to cut through all the squash fiber for a smoother soup.
Pumpkin soup with coconut milk
Pork tenderloin and sautéed spinach
Garlic-Sage Pork Tenderloin
Preheat oven to 425°
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 tablespoon garlic paste or minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil, for marinade
2-3 tablespoons olive oil for browning
- Mix marinade ingredients and pour over tenderloin in large zippered bag. Marinate in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
- In large ovenproof skillet—mine was cast iron—heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over high heat. Brown tenderloin on all sides.
- Place skillet in oven and roast for 10-20 minutes until internal temperature registers between 150°-160° in thickest part. It will continue to cook during resting and will be slightly pink in the center.
- Place on cutting board and cover loosely with foil. Rest for 10 minutes. Slice in 1/2-1 inch slices.
- I served it with sautéed spinach.
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups canned pumpkin puree
about 2-4 tablespoons maple syrup (I didn’t measure)
about 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk, whisked or blended until smooth (I didn’t measure)
more coconut milk and dry roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish
- In a large saucepan heat chicken stock over medium heat until it begins to steam.
- Whisk in pumpkin until smooth.
- Whisk in syrup and coconut milk until smooth.
- Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until soup is hot.
- Serve in bowls with coconut milk and pumpkin seed garnish. I made a shaky, lop-sided spiral design (ha ha) with the coconut milk, but I think next time, I would just make a line or blob and run a knife through it. The soup is thick enough to place garnish on the top without much sinking.
Can you see my reflection in the spoon on the featured image?