Pork tenderloin is one of my favorite weeknight meals. It’s hard to mess up and it always looks & tastes as if you spent days planning the meal. It’s unusual to me that such a lean cut of meat could always come out so juicy & tender. (My experience is that lean cuts of meat get dry very quickly, like turkey or chicken breast). The glaze on this dish is very simple and lends a gourmet zest to this cut. I love that it has a perfect balance of sweet and savory. That’s something that I strive to achieve in most recipes. If you get that right, the rest of your palette just lights up! Yuzu juice can be found in most grocery stores. (I get mine at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods). Yuzu is a sour Japanese citrus fruit. The yuzu (which is about the size of a tangerine) has a flavor that’s a cross between a grapefruit and a lime. (By the way, I don’t categorize this recipe as “Asian” despite the yuzu & miso. It doesn’t come across to me as Asian cuisine or even fusion cuisine. It’s just a unique combination of sweet, tart, & savory that’s universally appealing.) This recipe is truly fuss-free and delicious. I promise you'll make it again and it may even become your “show-off” meal for guests or extended family (like mothers-in-law!..lol). Tips/Notes: If you prefer not to eat pork, this glaze will also work beautifully with chicken or salmon. The cooking time will be about the same for chicken but I’d cover the dish with foil while it’s cooking so that the chicken doesn’t dry out. For salmon or another fish, I’d reduce the cooking time to about 15-20 minutes so that it doesn’t overcook. There’s a great shortcut for this meal using apricot preserves. I’ve made it with no-sugar-added apricot preserves and it comes out just as beautifully. The extra calories/sugar from the preserves is minimal and certainly saves some time. Don’t forget, you’re not spreading the preserves onto a piece of toast and eating a concentrated amount. This becomes a sauce that distributes itself over 2 pounds of meat so the actual sugar you’d consume is minimal. But I give you the recipe with and without the preserves option. Also, if you prefer not to use apricots, this will also work nicely with blueberries or apples. (I have a recipe specifically for a blueberry glaze that I can share separately.) But, wow, there’s just something about apricots and pork together that creates a perfect marriage of flavors. Only 350 calories for one serving (4 oz of pork and glaze together). I served this dish with brown rice & an arugula salad dressed with a yuzu lemon vinaigrette. (I’ll share the vinaigrette recipe as well!) Enjoy! And, as always, please share your feedback.
Ingredients- • 2 pounds of pork loin (1 pound each) • olive oil • salt/pepper/poultry seasoning • 1/2 cup dried apricots (chopped) or 1/2 cup apricot preserves (no added sugar) • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar • 2 tsp honey (optional) • 1 tbsp white miso paste • 1 tsp yuzu juice • 3 tbsp chicken or veggie broth • 2 cloves of minced garlic • 1/2 tsp dried thyme • 1/2 tsp sea salt
Directions- 1. Preheat the oven to 425F. 2. While the oven is preheating, make the glaze. If you’re starting with dried apricots: place the dried apricots in a small pot and add enough water to the pot to just barely cover the apricots. Bring them to a boil and let them simmer for about 10 minutes. After the apricots have softened and the water in the pot has reduced, remove them from the heat. Using a blender or food processor, purée the apricots. (You can also use an immersion or stick blender right in the pot). Then return the apricot purée/jam to the pot. (If you’re starting with apricot preserves, just add it to a small pot and proceed to the next step!) 3. Rub the pork loins with olive oil, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. 4. Bake them in a pan for 10 minutes. 5. While the pork is “pre-roasting”, finish your glaze. To the apricot purée in the small pot, add the balsamic vinegar, honey (optional), miso paste, yuzu, broth, garlic, thyme and sea salt. Whisk continuously over low heat until all the ingredients are combined and the glaze has thickened. 6. Remove the pork from the oven after the 10 minute pre-roast and spoon about 2/3 of the glaze over the pork loins. 7. Bake the pork for an additional 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the pork rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. 8. Dress the sliced pork with the remaining glaze. (I also used the leftover glaze from the roasting pan as a sauce for my brown rice and for the mashed potatoes that I served to the kids. It’s too yummy to waste!)