Today, my kids devoured their dinner.
Lately, I’ve been sticking to rice and dishes (veggie stir-fries, braised meats, soups, steamed fish, and the like) for dinner. I guess it’s been a while since I made a more Western-type meal (not counting pasta which I make often enough). Last night, however, I took a couple of pork tenderloin out of the freezer for tonight’s dinner.
I needed a recipe that I could whip up without any fuss.
I looked around for some recipes and saw one on Epicurious for this Ginger-Marinated Pork Tenderloin. The picture on the recipe showed it served with some mashed sweet potatoes. That got my attention as I had a couple of sweet potatoes lying around at home waiting to be used. And when I perused the recipe, I saw that I had all the ingredients available at home as well. Bingo! That was going to be dinner.
So I rushed home from work to get the pork marinated before heading back out to pick up the kids and Nate (have I told you that, since we only have one car, I’m also the chauffeur in the family?).
Prepping this dinner was pretty easy work. Thankfully, I already had a container full of minced garlic so I just had to scoop some into the marinade.
My trusty mortar and pestle made quick work of the ginger. I peeled and diced the ginger root then threw it into the mortar. A quick pounding, and it was scraped up into the marinade.
Ginger in the Mortar
After mixing the ingredients, I put my pork into a Ziplock bag and poured in all of the marinade, squeezed out all the air and zipped it shut, then laid it on a big bowl and back it went into the fridge.
Hastily, I individually wrapped up my sweet potatoes in foil along with four other regular Yukon potatoes. Then I put them into my convection oven at 350F (180C), set for 60 minutes.
I hustled out the door right after that.
Running out of time
Fetching everyone home in peak rush hour traffic takes one and a half hours on a good day. Today, with the rain, we made it home in one hour forty! I dashed in and immediately took the potatoes out of the oven—they were perfectly cooked (whew!).
Then the pork was removed from the marinade and patted dry…ok, not really; I just passed my hands over the meat to get rid of excess liquid (note to self: take the time to dry it so that next time you don’t have oil splattering all over your kitchen floor!).
The tenderloins went into my skillet to brown in some oil. Once browned on all sides, I threw them into the oven for another 35 minutes to finish cooking. With that out of the way, I poured out the marinade into a pot and started it reducing.
Then it was time to prep veggies for the side. A quick look into my fridge revealed zucchini, and bell peppers (orange, red, and green). That with onions became a quick stir-fry to serve on the side.
I decided not to bother with mashing the potatoes, I just served the sweet potatoes sliced up and the Yukons whole with some butter and bacon bits on the side.
Did I already say my kids devoured everything?
Ginger-Marinated Pork Tenderloin Recipe
adapted from Epicurious.com
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook time: 35 minutes
2 pork tenderloins (about 1.5 lbs or 1 kg)
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
4 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
6 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
6 Tbsp finely minced fresh ginger (about 3 inches of ginger)
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- Mix soy sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, ginger, garlic together in a bowl.
- Put pork tenderloin into a gallon-sized ziplock container and pour in the marinate, making sure to scrape up all the sugar that has sunk to the bottom.
- Squeeze out the air from the ziplock and seal. Then give the bag a good squeeze with your hands to work the marinate in. Place ziplock in a large bowl and lay flat. If you have time, turn the bag over after about an hour. Marinate for a total of 2 hours (no more than 4 hours).
- Preheat oven to 425F (about 210C).
- Take pork out of fridge about an hour before cooking (if you have the time, if not just cook it longer in the oven). Remove from marinade and pat dry. Reserve the marinade.
- Heat oil in a large skillet (ovenproof if you have a large oven so that you can slide it straight into the oven). Brown tenderloin on all sides over medium-high heat, about 3-5 minutes total.
- Transfer pork to oven and bake until pork is done, about 25-30 minutes (if possible, use a meat thermometer, center of the meat should register 155F). Transfer to a cutting board and cover with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes (meat will continue to cook through in that time).
- While pork is baking, pour reserved marinade through a sieve into a small saucepan and boil till it has reduced by half, about 20 minutes. If you like, you can reduce it further to get a thicker consistency. Mine was not syrupy, just slightly thick like thinned gravy (and super yummy!).
- Serve sauce alongside sliced pork. Potatoes and a side veggies complete this meal. Rice would also work as the sauce is delicious!
And that my dear readers is how it is on some days with me. Thankfully, I live very near my workplace so that I can do this dash home to prep (did all the prep in 15 minutes flat) and then get going again. Other days, I go straight to picking up everyone and cooking is even more harried.
But as I watched my kids and hubby eat up everything, I wondered to myself why I didn’t cook this way more often. It was so easy. The potatoes pretty much cooked themselves while I was away driving and the only work with the pork was in browning it. The only other thing I did was the veggies and that was easily chopped and tossed in a stir-fry.
And I’ve decided that pork tenderloin is a MUST in my kitchen. I like that this cut is so tender and yet so lean. I also like that it is such a versatile piece of meat. You can cut it up into medallions to pan-fry or leave it whole to bake. It lends itself to all types of sauces and seasonings.
Today, the marinade was more Asian, but at other times, I have just slathered it with mustard and herbs to equal delight in my family. If you have not tried this marinade, do give it a go, it’s delicious, and reducing the marinate to eat with the cooked pork is excellent. Nate and I agreed that this reduced sauce is very much like a barbeque sauce with a slight Asian twist. I have leftover sauce now and I’m thinking that it would work great on chicken or ribs as well.
Do you have any quick and delicious dishes that can be made in a hurry? Leave a comment and share!