I don't know if you have ever felt this way before, but during the work week the only thing I want to do when I come home from the office is flop on the couch with a glass of vino and watch a TV show saved on my DVR. My brain feels like pudding and my body like Jello (maybe too vivid of a description), but the point being--I don't want to do anything but relax! The idea of preparing a homemade dinner seems herculean. I don't want to have to think about shopping for the ingredients, chopping ingredients, cooking and then of course…the clean-up (woof, no thanks).
Changing my tune...
Over the past few years, while dating and then engaged to my now husband, there were definitely nights during the week where I wanted to surprise him with a home-cooked dinner after work. I've had a bunch of trial, error (ex. would not recommend making an apple pie from scratch on a week night), and success (ex. Barefoot Contessa's Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin)!
This pork tenderloin recipe evolved from the success I have had with making Ina Garten's Recipe. I have tweaked the ingredients a bit and will show you how to take the marinade and turn it into a sauce to serve with your pork. The best part about this recipe is that you can start prepping this meal over the weekend but then cook it on a weeknight! Cooking on a weeknight becomes infinitely easier when all you have to do is cook something because all of the prep has been done the day before. Here is my recipe for Lemon Dijon Herb Pork Tenderloin:
- 3lbs Pork Tenderloin
- 3/4c Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus 3Tbs set aside for cooking)
- 2 1/2 Tbs Fresh Minced Garlic
- Zest of 1 Large Lemon
- Juice of 2 Large Lemons
- 1oz Champagne Vinegar
- 1/4c Dijon Mustard
- 1tsp Julienned Sage
- 2Tbs Fresh Chopped Rosemary
- 2Tbs Fresh Chopped Thyme
- 1/2tsp Fresh cracked pepper
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 Gallon Ziplock Bag (I like to double-up and use 2 bags to make sure nothing leaks in my refrigerator, but 1 Ziplock is certainly sufficient)
**Tip- When shopping for the ingredients above, instead of buying each herb individually, just buy the herb pack that says "Poultry Herb Blend" in the produce section. The "Poultry Herb Blend" contains Rosemary, Thyme and Sage (and enough of each for this recipe!), so you can save money by only purchasing one herb box instead of three!
**Tip 2- Easy way to chop the Fresh Rosemary and Thyme--place herb leaves in a bowl, take a pair of kitchen scissors and snip contents until evenly chopped.
4 Kitchen tools that help to make this recipe even easier
- Mini Vegetable Chopper- Great for Slicing, Dicing and Mincing Garlic
- Citrus Reamer- Great for Juicing Lemons
- Microplane- Can be great for zesting citrus or grating hard cheeses.
- Digital Meat Thermometer- Investing in a good quality digital meat thermometer will give you an accurate read for determining the internal temperature/doneness of your meat.
- Add Pork Tenderloin, Olive Oil, Garlic, Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, Champagne Vinegar, Dijon Mustard, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Pepper and Salt to a 1 gallon Ziplock bag.
- Squeeze air out of bag, seal bag shut and mush around (apologies for this non-technical term but it is what you have to do) contents of bag.
- Place in refrigerator overnight to marinate.
- Remove pork tenderloin bag from the refrigerator an hour before you are planning to cook it.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- In an oven safe 12 inch skillet, heat 3 Tbs of extra virgin olive oil on medium high heat
- When the pan is hot, pull the pork tenderloin out of the marinade bag shaking off as much excess liquid as you can and place the tenderloin in the heated pan
- Brown the tenderloin on all sides (**If there is an excess of liquid in your pan you may need to drain some of it out…otherwise it will take significantly longer to brown the meat because you will have to wait for all of the liquid to evaporate first).
- Once the meat has been browned on all sides, remove from stove and place entire pan straight into the oven to finish cooking
- Cook the tenderloin in the oven until it reaches an internal temperature between 160 (medium-well) and 170 (well-done) degrees.
- Once the meat reaches the suggested internal temperature, remove from oven and cover meat lightly with aluminum foil. Allow meat to rest for approximately 10 minutes before slicing and serving. (Cutting into the meat right out of the oven will cause all of the juices to run out and your meat will be dry.)
For the Sauce
- Once the pork tenderloin has been removed from the marinade bag to cook, dump the remaining contents of the ziplock back (the marinade) into a small sauce pot (2qt) and set aside
- As soon as the pork goes into the oven, bring the sauce pot to a boil stirring frequently
- Continue to cook/boil the marinade for approximately 20min (stirring frequently)
- Once the sauce is done cooking, pour through a sieve into a heat safe container (I use a pyrex measuring cup)
- Cut the pork tenderloin into 1/2 inch thick pieces on the diagonal
- Assemble on plate and drizzle with sauce
- I like to serve this dish with my Roasted Sweet Potato Discs and Microwave Steamed Green Beans (*Reference first photo in this post*)