Today’s Cranberry Glazed Pork Tenderloin is a delightful meal fancy enough for the holidays or you can serve it all winter long. Oven-roasted and glazed with a wine and cranberry sauce, it is festive, fun, and delectable.
I have a great recipe for you today, but it is not much to look at. I was frustrated with the photos. 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 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 visually to the photos, but the flavor was amazing with the pork.
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 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 often have leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving and Christmas and have developed several recipes including this one, to take advantage of the delicious winter treat. One of my favorite combinations 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 to at least 165°F until it was horribly overdone and dry. Thankfully, the FDA has 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 142°F on an instant read thermometer; it will continue to cook as it rests and will wind up at 145°F. Cooked this way, the pork will be slightly pink in the center and ideally moist and tender. Just remember, lightly pink pork is perfectly safe!
Today’s recipe is very simple, there are only 8 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 cranberry sauce with dry white wine and pour it over the pork and then pop it in the oven. Just a little while 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!
Key Ingredients for Cranberry Glazed Pork Tenderloin:
- Pork tenderloins
- Onion and carrots
- Olive oil and butter
- Cranberry sauce, white wine or chicken stock
- Dried rosemary
Can I Make This with Pork Chops instead of the Tenderloin?
Yes you can. I would recommend pan-searing the chops unless they are very thick. Cook most of the way through then add the cranberry mixture to the pan and finish cooking over medium-low heat.
This is a perfect way to use up leftover cranberry sauce if you have it on hand after a holiday meal, or you can use canned whole berry sauce instead.
A pan sauce elevates any dish and adds a tremendous flavor boost. Add a little wine and stock to pan drippings, cook them together for a few minutes, and whisk in a little butter at the end for a sauce that everyone will love.
How to make Cranberry Glazed Pork Tenderloin:
- Arrange onions in the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan to create a “rack” for the pork; spread carrots around the edges of the pan and drizzle everything with some oil
- Whisk together the cranberry sauce, wine, and rosemary
- Set the pork tenderloins on top of the onions in the pan and brush with a little oil; pour the cranberry mixture over the top
- Roast in a 400°F oven until an instant read thermometer registers 142°F to 145°F, about 18 to 25 minutes; add extra time if your tenderloins are large
- Let the pork rest on a cutting board for 15 minutes, tented with foil
- Place the onions and carrots in a serving bowl and strain the pan juices into a saucepan; reduce the juices for about 5 minutes
- Whisk the butter into the sauce off the heat and serve over sliced pork alongside the carrots and onions
Recommended Tools (affiliate links; no extra cost to you):
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- 9×13-inch baking pan
- Silicone pastry brush
- Instant Read Thermometer
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.
- 2 (1 lb) pork tenderloins
- 1 medium onion, peeled and cut thickly into 6 slices
- 8 to 10 carrots, trimmed and cut into 1-inch-thick pieces
- 3 tbsp organic olive oil
- 1 cup cranberry sauce, homemade or canned whole berry
- 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
- 1 tbsp butter
- Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
- In a 9x13-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.
- Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, combine the cranberry sauce, wine and rosemary. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
- Place the two tenderloins on top of the onions, one on each line (not touching) and brush more olive oil over the pork. Pour the cranberry sauce mixture evenly over both tenderloins. Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper.
- Place the pork in the oven and roast for 18 to 25 minutes or until the pork registers 142°F to 145°F on an instant read thermometer. If they are large tenderloins, they will take longer to come to temperature. Remove from the oven and baste with pan juices then 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. 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. The small amount of butter makes a smooth sauce, adding richness and mellowing the acidity of the wine and cranberries. Keep the sauce warm.
- Cut the pork into 1 to 1- 1/2-inch thick slices and arrange on warmed serving 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 270Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 180mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 3gSugar: 19gProtein: 6g
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This post was first shared in Dec 2013. The article was updated in 2020.