Pork tenderloin with orange rhubarb compote
Rhubarb pairs well with pork, oranges & rosemary
Everyone knows rhubarb and strawberries pair well, but there are many other terrific rhubarb pairings. This recipe uses rhubarb in a savory combination of pork, oranges and rosemary. The compote is a delicious accompaniment to pork tenderloin, but also could be used as a topping for yogurt or cheese.
Demerara sugar is a large-crystal natural sugar that is made by evaporating cane sugar. Demerara sugar has a caramel-like flavor, but does not have the added molasses that brown sugar has. Demerara sugar is great in coffee or tea, mojitos, and sprinkled on the top of baked goods.
How to know when your pork tenderloin is done?
In the olden days we cooked our pork to death, resulting in dry and not very tasty meat. Pork is a very lean meat and should not be overcooked. Yes, it is OK for your pork to be a little pink. In fact for the best flavor and juiciness, it should be cooked to medium rare. In 2011, the USDA revised their guidelines and lowered their safe cooking temperature for pork to 145 degrees, the same as for beef.
The best way to tell if your pork tenderloin or any piece of meat is done is to use a thermometer. Meat is way too expensive to guess on doneness and nothing is more disappointing than to find you overcooked your meat. I use this CDN thermometer. It reads the temperature rapidly and is a good value for the price.
This is one of my favorite ways to cook meat, be it pork tenderloin, rack of lamb, or an extra thick steak. I sear it on all sides in a pan, and then finish it in a hot oven for about 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat. If you use a thermometer to tell you when it is done, you will find your meat cooked to perfection. Don't forget to let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing!
Serve with braised Napa cabbage
I create a quick side for this dish by repurposing the pork marinade to braise a head of Napa cabbage. There is an important safety trick to this. You need to rapidly boil the marinade for one minute before you can safely use it to cook the cabbage. Alternatively you can use some chicken stock and orange juice to braise the cabbage.
The pork can be marinated overnight and the compote can be made a day in advance.
Make a salad with the leftovers
I am a big fan of cooking once to eat twice. When I make a roast, I like to use the leftovers in a salad for the next day. I did exactly that with my pork tenderloin leftovers. I combined it with some spinach, apple slices, dried cherries and celery. I used a spoonful of the leftover orange and rhubarb compote and whisked it with some vinegar and olive oil and had a delicious salad-for-dinner the next evening.
Pork tenderloin with orange rhubarb compote
Yield 6 -8 servings
Rhubarb, orange and rosemary make a savory compote to accompany this pork tenderloin. Served on a bed of braised Napa cabbage, this recipe is a complete meal good enough for company. If you have any leftovers, it makes a great spinach salad the next day.
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 t chopped rosemary, divided
- 2 t orange zest, divided
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 t olive oil
- 2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each
- 1 pound rhubarb, sliced into 1/2" pieces
- 2 large oranges, pithed and segmented
- 1/4 c demerara sugar
- 1 t fresh grated ginger
- 1 Napa cabbage, sliced into 1/2" slices
- Put orange juice, white wine, garlic, 2 t rosemary, 1 t zest, salt and pepper in a bowl big enough to hold the two pork tenderloins. Stir to combine. Add pork tenderloins and thoroughly coat with marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour and up to 24 hours.
- In a saucepan put rhubarb, orange segments, sugar, ginger, 1 t orange zest and 1 t rosemary. Bring to a boil and reduce to low. Simmer for about 10 -12 minutes until the rhubarb has broken down and the compote has thickened. Remove from heat. The compote can be made a day in advance. Reheat before serving.
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and pat dry, reserving the marinade. Add 2 t of olive oil to a hot skillet. Sear the tenderloins on all sides. Remove from the stove and transfer to the oven. Roast for 12-14 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice in 1/3" slices.
- Heat a wok or large frying pan on high. Add the marinade to the pan and bring to a rapid boil and cook for 1 minute. Add Napa cabbage to the pan and toss. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cabbage is crisp tender and most of the marinade has been cooked down -- about 5 minutes.
- To serve, put a bed of cabbage on individual plates. Top with several slices of pork and a few spoonfuls of the orange rhubarb compote.