Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin.
I was thrilled with this recipe, I have been making a similar recipe for the longest time and, particularly in wintertime, we adore the combination of the fresh oranges and the pork, always have, always will. Dorie´s recipe is straightforward and just the kind of recipe I really enjoy making but also like to play around with – just so that the taste testers do not get bored.
Starting with the Pork Tenderloin which just happens to be one of my favorite pieces of meat – is the eye fillet that comes from within the loin. It is a lazy muscle and as such is lean and very tender, but with less flavor than other cuts such as leg or shoulder. Pork fillet is very quick to cook but will soon dry out if overcooked. All you have to do is remove any tough white membrane or sinew from the outside of the tenderloin before cooking. I roasted the whole tenderloins and did not cut them into slices and then transferred them to the oven for about fifteen minutes, turned the oven off and let them rest a few minutes before slicing. The meat was tender and utterly delicious.
I also did not use regular oranges but my favorite oranges of all, namely the “Moro Oranges”, blood oranges from Sicily, Italy. Grown mostly in Mediterranean countries, blood oranges have a distinctive dark-red rind and flesh and taste tarter than regular oranges. They have a very short season in late winter, therefore, I try to make the most of their spicy tartness while I can. In most recipes, you can substitute ordinary oranges with blood oranges. They can also be used in soufflés, puddings, in marmalades, in jellies or ice creams, not only in sauces. The fiery color and unique flavor of blood orange juice also makes it a great addition to cocktails.
Then onto the side dishes, I chose to make Spinach Spaetzle with some farm fresh eggs and wonderful fresh winter spinach. We love the taste and the color of those Spaetzle, the color and lightness they get from the fresh eggs and the spinach are just delightful and they pair so well with the color as well as the taste of the sauce.
I also prepared some delicious Carrots as a side dish. I left some of the green tops on the carrots, split them in half and sautéed them ever so slightly in a mild olive oil and a bit of butter, together with freshly ground pepper, some sea salt and freshly squeezed orange juice. They were ready within minutes and were delicious together with the sauce and the rest of the dinner.
The cardamom pods had to make room for fresh whole Green Peppercorns (I always use the ones in brine that I will drain before using in my recipes) and I cut the oranges into slices and not into segments.
Overall, we adored the pork tenderloin with the spinach spaetzle, carrots, orange slices, pink peppercorns and the blood orange sauce – utterly delicious and perfect mid-winter fare.
The colors of our dinner were very bright - I believe this would make a perfect dinner for friends and whenever I see a recipe that lists oranges as one of the ingredients, I like to use my orange colored dinner plates and try to make an extra effort to decorate them in an appetizing manner. I won those plates at a cooking competition that, to put it mildly, was a bit on the exhausting side, and they are very dear to my heart.
To see how the other Doristas prepared the “Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin”, please click here.