As anyone who regularly writes online about food will tell you, blogging is truly a lesson in patience. Sometimes recipes don’t turn out, your ideas for plating fall flat, or you’ve got a delicious item that is just not attractive. And sometimes even if you have the most glorious images, the words just won’t flow.
There are many times when you sit at the computer, fighting to find the right words, tweaking a photo to make it capture attention, searching for a story that will intrigue the readers. All of this done in the privacy of our own homes, in the hopes that someone out in the vastness of the Internet will discover our work, enjoy it, and take the time to leave a comment. This week my patience has been tried a lot.
I have the most delicious recipe for you today, but it is not much to look at – almost literally. I was frustrated with the way the photos were turning out and thought about either not sharing the recipe, not adding any images, or using some stock photography. It took me three photo sessions over two days to finally get some shots that are good enough to put on the website. Each time I took photos I downloaded them to the computer and checked them out. Then it was back to the “studio” (a.k.a. my dining room) to try again with a different set up, camera settings, props, lighting, etc.
The main problem is that pork tenderloin, while fabulous to eat, is just not very photogenic. Generally, brown and white foods are challenging to shoot, so you tend to boost the colors around them and garnish the heck out of the plates and bowls. Often you can add a lush gravy or something similar. This time the pan sauce was fairly pale and tinted pink from the cranberry sauce so it didn’t really add much to the photos, but the flavor was amazing with the pork. It is frustrating when the vegetables outshine the main course!
So I served dinner for The Artist and then put the leftovers in the refrigerator. After thinking about how I could enhance the plating and make the pork more tantalizing, the next day I reheated the pork, sliced it and created the individual plate. Adding the greenery, some of the red cranberry sauce, a serving of corn pudding for a pop of bright yellow and a few of the beautiful orange carrots made a nice backdrop for the pork. It still isn’t the photo I dreamed of but it is a lot better than my original attempts!
I always have leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving and have developed several recipes to take advantage of the delicious winter treat. One of my favorites is to pair it with pork. The flavors complement each other beautifully and the bright red color of the cranberry sauce sparkles next to the delicate pink of the pork.
When I was growing up we were told to cook pork until it was horribly overdone and dry. Thankfully, the FDA has recently changed the requirement for what is considered a safe temperature. You can now safely take the pork off the heat as soon as it reaches 150°F on an instant read thermometer. Cooked this way, the pork will be slightly pink in the center and ideally moist and tender. Just remember, pink pork is perfectly safe!
Today’s recipe is very simple, there are only 6 ingredients, but it packs all the flavors of some of the most complex restaurant recipes. A layer of sliced onions under the pork add tremendous flavor to the pan sauce I mix the cranberry sauce with dry white wine and pour it over the pork and then pop it in the oven. Less than an hour later you have a delightful, elegant meal.
I hope you make this wonderful meal for your family and friends this holiday season. It makes everyone feel special!
Have a fabulous weekend my friends!
If you use homemade cranberry sauce, this is naturally gluten-free. If using store bought sauce, make sure it doesn’t contain any gluten ingredients.
Roasted Pork Tenderloins with Cranberry Glaze
© 2013 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook. All rights reserved.
Yield: about 8 servings
2 (1 lb) pork tenderloins, trimmed
1 medium onion, peeled and cut thickly into 6 slices
3 tbsp organic olive oil
1 cup cranberry sauce, homemade or whole berry canned
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth, chicken stock or water
1 tbsp dried rosemary leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 to 10 carrots, trimmed and cut into 1-inch-thick pieces
1 tbsp butter
Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
In a 9×13-inch baking pan, place the onion slices in the bottom, arranging them in two lines of 3 slices running the length of the pan, creating a “rack” for the pork. Scatter the carrots around the onions and drizzle everything with a little of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes and then remove from the oven.
Place the two tenderloins on top of the onions, one on each line and pour more olive oil over the pork. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cranberry sauce, wine and rosemary. Whisk until smooth. Pour evenly over both tenderloins, using all of the mixture. Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper.
Place the pork in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn the tenderloins over, and baste with pan juices. Sprinkle the underside of the pork with more salt and pepper. Return the pan to the oven and continue roasting for another 20 to 25 minutes or until the pork registers 150°F on an instant read thermometer.
Remove pan from the oven, transfer the tenderloins to a cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes, tented loosely with foil. Transfer the carrots and onions to a serving bowl. Cover to keep warm.
While the meat is resting, strain the pan juices through a sieve set over a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and continue boiling until reduced and a little thicker, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat off, add the butter and whisk until fully melted and blended together. Remove from the heat and keep warm. The small amount of butter makes a smooth sauce, adding richness and mellowing the acidity of the wine and cranberries.
Cut the pork into 1 to 1-1/2 inch-thick slices and arrange on warmed plates. Pour some of the reduced pan juices over the top of the pork. Serve with roasted carrots and onions. Pass additional sauce at the table.
NOTE: If you want more color on the pork, you can sear it quickly in a hot skillet coated with a little oil. Turn it until browned on all sides. Continue with recipe as above but reduce the roasting time by about 15 minutes.
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