Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Cranberry Sauce

by Shawnda on November 4, 2011

in Christmas,Fruit,Holiday Favorites,Pork,Thanksgiving

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Cranberry Sauce

I love cranberries. And that love goes way, way back. Back to the ridged, jiggly, jellied cylinder that slid out of the can at Thanksgiving. Back to the cranberry-cream cheese muffins and cake that my parents consistently sold out of at their bakery. Back to our newly-established Christmas tradition, a cranberry-studded biscotti. And I can’t wait to show you the cranberry margaritas!

But cranberries don’t have to be limited to sweet applications. Or happy hour :) It’s terrific on grilled chicken or leftover turkey sandwiches and pairs wonderfully with pork. And this Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Cranberry Sauce has been one of our fall favorites for the last 4 years. It’s our special occasion dinner during the holidays, when our gathering is small. And it’s our “pork tenderloin is on sale this week” dinner during the week.

Fresh cranberries are cooked down into a homemade whole-berry cranberry sauce while the pork tenderloin roasts in the oven. The cranberry sauce is then added to a pan sauce made with balsamic vinegar, garlic, and rosemary. The sauce strikes a tasty balance between sweet, savory, and tart.

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Cranberry Sauce

And for the sake of the photo, I saved a small handful of the thawed cranberries to toss into the sauce during the last 5 minutes. This allowed them to soften enough to eat (boy are those things tart!) but still retain a pretty red color for photos.

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Cranberry Sauce

Juicy pork tenderloin pairs wonderfully with a sweet & sour balsamic-cranberry sauce. You can take a short-cut and use 1 cup of whole berry cranberry sauce instead of making your own from fresh cranberries.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (more to taste, if desired)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallot (or onion)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Bring water, sugar, and cranberries to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the berries and most of the water cooks off, leaving a homemade whole-berry cranberry sauce.
  2. Preheat oven to 400. Add olive oil to an oven-proof saute pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Pat pork loin with paper towels to dry. Season liberally with with salt and pepper and place in pan.
  4. Sear pork on all sides and place pan in the oven.
  5. Roast until thermometer inserted into center registers 155, about 20 minutes.
  6. Let meat rest in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a plate and tent with foil.
  7. Place pan over medium-high heat and add butter, shallot, and rosemary. Cook until shallots are soft, about 3 minutes.
  8. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  9. Add broth and scrape up the bits from the bottom and sides of the pan.
  10. Add cranberry sauce and vinegar and bring to a boil, reducing heat to medium-low and simmering for ~15 minutes, until sauce has thickened.
  11. Slice tenderloin to desired thickness and serve with sauce.

Notes

Yields: 4 servings

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jessica November 4, 2011 at 1:06 am

Mmm I love this! And yes I agree, Cranberries are awesome at Happy Hour :-D

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2 Kathryn November 4, 2011 at 3:24 am

Oh delicious! Cranberries are also a favourite of mine and I love the idea of combining them with pork and herbs.

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3 Anne November 4, 2011 at 5:54 am

Looks delicious! Pork tenderloin (when cooked right) is rapidly becoming my favorite meat! And I love cranberries…I’ve already been scouting my grocery store for it!

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4 Josie November 4, 2011 at 8:39 am

This is going on my menu for next week. mmmmm

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5 Carrie November 4, 2011 at 1:39 pm

This is just beautiful. I’m loving that balsamic in there, and with the rosemary and cranberries, it really seems like it would be an excellent/festive dish for Christmas time. I like to cook a nice dinner around Christmas for just my hubby and I before we travel…I think I’m going to save this recipe for that. Thanks :)

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6 J November 4, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Gorgeous pics! Cranberries add such brilliant jewel-tone red. I roasted pork with apples for my sweet meat fix they other day, but I will definitely give your cranberry sauce a whirl, next time.

I love the addition of balsamic vinegar, I almost always add a tablespoon or two to my pasta sauce for an extra hint of aged darkness and tangy oomph. Sweet deal.

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7 Ann P. November 4, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Wow, this is beautiful! Your photography is so awesome, it just screams Fall… and I can almost taste the savory pork, the rosemary, and the tart berries in the vinegar!

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8 Chelsea November 5, 2011 at 10:35 am

That sounds incredible.

I need to plan a dinner party so I can make this and not wait for a special occasion!

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9 Joanne November 6, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I love cranberries in all sorts of ways (except from a can…those ridges freak me out) and they sound superb as a sauce for pork. I’m imagining that syrupy tangy balsamic with the tart cranberries…a match made in heaven, methinks!

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10 Annie November 8, 2011 at 9:49 am

This sounds fabulous, and as always, the photos are gorgeous.

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11 Miranda C. November 11, 2011 at 11:50 am

I made this Wednesday night and it was AMAZING. The husband and I don’t even really like pork most of the time, and we thought it was terrific.

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12 Chelai February 9, 2012 at 11:42 am

This was so good. I used pork chops since that is what I had on hand and just browned them. I paired the meal with pesto pasta. The combination was out of this world!!

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