Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sunday Night Dinner - Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Asparagus and Quinoa

I like to try cooking new things on Sunday nights.  I have the entire afternoon to work on it if I need to, and it's one of two nights a week we have dinner together, so I like to make it a little fancier than normal.  Many of the dinners I normally cook are one-dish meals, so this is a time when I can expand a bit.  

I don't cook meat very often, but in my continuous efforts to improve my skills, I am trying.  This was my first time working with a pork tenderloin, and it was very easy.  I found the recipe on the Food Network, and it appealed because the glaze sounded good and was made up of all things I had in my pantry.

adapted slightly from Food Network


For the balsamic-honey glaze:

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pork:

  • 1 3/4 to 2 pounds pork tenderloin
  • Canola oil, for searing


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the glaze: Put garlic and rosemary in a small bowl. Add the vinegar, honey, olive oil, mustard, and salt and pepper, to taste, and stir to combine.
For the pork: Slice the tenderloin into 1-inch thick medallions (rounds). Cover the bottom of a medium skillet with a light film of canola oil and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add the pork slices in 1 layer, season with salt and pepper, and sear for 1 minute. Turn and sear for 1 more minute, until lightly browned. Transfer the slices in 1 layer to a shallow baking dish.
Pour the glaze over the slices and turn them to coat.
Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, until a thermometer inserted reaches 140 degrees F for medium. Remove from the oven and keep warm, loosely covered until ready to serve.
Return glaze to a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until slightly reduced.  

I will spare you pictures of raw meat, but the entire process only took about 20 minutes.
On to side dishes.  Roasted asparagus is a favorite in our house, after washing and trimming the stalks, I toss them in a few teaspoons of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.

While the asparagus roasted, I started on the quinoa.  This was my first time working with quinoa, but I know it's a super grain, super healthy, and super easy to cook.  I loosely based my recipe on one I found at Oh She Glows.

Cranberry and Apple Quinoa
1 cup uncooked quinoa, washed well
1 tablespoon +1 tsp olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced carrot (I used 1 medium)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4-1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups diced Granny Smith apple, not peeled (one large apple)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (could also be delicious with dried cherries)
black pepper, to taste

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion, carrots and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add broth, quinoa, salt, pepper and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and let sit for 20 minutes or until liquid is gone. Be sure to keep an eye on it and stir it often so it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat; stir to fluff.  Add in chopped apple and dried cranberries.  

This was fantastic as is, but I might try it with a little crumbled goat cheese sprinkled on top of the leftovers.  

The entire meal took 45 minutes to cook, and was delicious and nice enough to serve to company.  I will definitely be making these recipes again.  


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