October 22, 2010

Eating High on the Hog

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Margaret's Morsels | Marinated Pork Tenderloin

I only cook red meat once a week, something I've been doing for over 20 years.  The rest of the week we eat chicken, pasta, fish, vegetables or, the other white meat, pork.  Although I have a lot of recipes, I have very few for pork other than pork chops.  When I found the recipe for Marinated Pork Tenderloin in a school cookbook, I knew it would be a family favorite.

Pork tenderloin, as the name implies, is from the loin which is the most tender cut of pork.  There is very little fat, no bones and no waste.  Pork tenderloin usually comes two to a package so it's very economical.

Marinate means to soak food in a marinade made from oil, an acid -- such as vinegar or lemon juice -- and flavorings.  Marinating meat serves two purposes.  One, it tenderizes tough cuts of meat.  Two, the meat absorbs the flavor of the marinade.  Since pork tenderloin is already tender, the marinade infuses the meat with a wonderful flavor.

Margaret's Morsels | Marinated Pork Tenderloin
The marinade ingredients.

When you marinate food, there are certain dos and don'ts:

  • Do use a glass or ceramic container or a resealable plastic bag. If I'm cooking the marinade with the food, I use a Pyrex baking dish.  That way, the dish can go from the refrigerator to the oven.  If the marinade is drained before cooking, I use a plastic bag.  If you use a plastic bag, it's a good idea to put the bag in a pan or plate to catch any drips.

Margaret's Morsels | Marinated Pork Tenderloin
This is how I marinate the tenderloins.

  • Don't marinate food in aluminum.  The acid in the marinade can ruin the container and give the food an odd taste.
  • Do turn the food periodically if the marinade doesn't cover the food completely.  That way all the food gets coated with the marinade.

Margaret's Morsels | Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Refrigerated overnight and turned several times.

  • Do refrigerate meat while it marinates.  If you marinate meat at room temperature, bacteria starts to grow.

Before marinating the pork tenderloin, it is wrapped in bacon.  I use four pieces of bacon on each tenderloin so I get eight servings from one package.  If you have more people or want smaller servings, you can use five pieces of bacon instead.  The bacon adds extra flavor to the dish plus it serves as a handy guide when it comes time to cut the tenderloin.

Before cooking the tenderloin or any meat that's been refrigerated, you need to let the meat sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before it goes in the oven.  If you put a piece of cold meat in a hot oven, you run the risk of the outside of the meat drying out before the inside is cooked.  The meat cooks more evenly when it's not ice cold.

I serve the tenderloins with Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole and green beans.

Margaret's Morsels | Marinated Pork Tenderloin

When I have leftover tenderloins, I reheat them and serve them on a bed of baby spring mix salad.  I like bottled roasted red pepper vinaigrette dressing on the salad, but you could use another flavor or skip the dressing entirely.

I always reheat meat in the oven.  Even though a microwave is faster, I think meat dries out when reheated in the microwave regardless of the power level used.  I put the tenderloins in a baking pan with any leftover marinade, cover the pan with foil and heat at 350° for 30 minutes.  The leftovers come out of the oven as tasty and juicy as the day they were prepared.

Marinated Pork Tenderloin is a recipe you'll reach for whether you want an elegant entree or an everyday dinner.  It's delicious, easy to prepare and makes a beautiful presentation.

Marinated Pork Tenderloin
8 to 10 Servings

8 to 10 slices uncooked bacon
2 large pork tenderloins
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp. onion salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Wrap bacon around tenderloins and secure with toothpicks; place in a baking dish.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over tenderloins. Place in refrigerator and let stand overnight, turning often.

Bake at 300° for 45 minutes; turn oven to 350° and bake an additional 45 minutes.

© Margaret's Morsels

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