Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Orange-Maple Sauce and Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Pork tenderloin is one of the most tender cuts of meat, and it roasts quickly to juicy perfection. A one-pound piece serves four people and is ready in half an hour.

The simple sauce in this recipe adds a sweet note to the pork with rich maple syrup and fresh orange juice. The zest of the orange deepens the fruity flavor with a tangy bite. Use a vegetable peeler to remove only the outer orange color, leaving the white pith intact. Then quarter the two oranges and squeeze out the juice to equal about one-third of a cup.

Orange Zest
Finely Chopped Orange Zest

Mashed potatoes are common comfort food whether you enjoy them with only a little butter and seasoning or add bolder flavors like horseradish or garlic. I chose to add a flavorful cheese, Jarlsberg, in this recipe because of its pleasant taste and creamy texture—which means it melts quickly. Swiss or provolone would be good substitutes. Mozzarella melts well too, but its flavor is so mild that it may get lost in the potatoes.

I like to use small, yellow-skinned potatoes for mashing because they have a creamier texture than large russets. However, any good, fresh potato you choose will be fine in the recipe. Keep a little extra milk on standby as you mash the spuds. The addition of cheese can stiffen the mixture, so you may want a bit more liquid to smooth it out.

Yellow-Skinned Potatoes
Serves 4


For the Pork Tenderloin
  • 2 naval oranges
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 lb pork tenderloin
For the Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 1/2 lbs small yellow-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3/4 cup shredded Jarlsberg cheese (or Swiss or provolone)
  • 1/3 cup non-fat milk, plus more as needed
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped Italian parsley, for garnish

For the Pork Tenderloin
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Remove the zest from about 1/3 of 1 of the oranges. Finely chop the zest.
  3. Quarter the oranges and squeeze the juice into a small bowl (about 1/3 cup).
  4. Heat a small skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and cook slowly until softened about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the zest, juice, and maple syrup and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Increase the heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until slightly reduced and a bit thickened, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand while the pork cooks. Reheat gently just before serving.
  7. Season both sides of the pork tenderloin with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast 25-28 minutes, until juicy and pink inside.
  8. Remove to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
Orange-Maple Sauce
Pork Tenderloin Ready to Roast
Roasted Pork Tenderloin
For the Mashed Potatoes
  1. Place the potatoes in a medium pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until tender, 13-15 minutes.
  2. Drain the water from the pot and add the cheese, milk, and butter and season with salt and pepper. Mash the potatoes until creamy and smooth, adding 1 tablespoon of milk at a time if the consistency is too stiff.
Potatoes Ready to Cook
To serve, cut the pork tenderloin into 12 slices and place 3 on each of 4 plates. Drizzle with orange-maple sauce. Divide the mashed potatoes alongside and garnish with chopped Italian parsley.

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