I enjoy eating pork tenderloin, but I usually dread the thought of cooking it. It’s the versatility of the meat that makes it so difficult. With endless flavour combinations and pork tenderloin recipes to cook it with, my mind often draws up a blank when dinnertime comes around.
So, here are my 5 fail-safe pork tenderloin recipes that I can always fall back on when I need to. I’ve given rough instructions and linked to more detailed recipes where applicable.
Bonus Tip: one great thing to do is purchase a cookery book that is full of vegan and vegetarian dishes. You can simply season and grill/bake the tenderloin plain, then serve it alongside a flavoursome vegetable side dish. I highly recommend Rukmini Iyer’s The Green Roasting Tin for this purpose.
Pork Tenderloin Souvlaki
This is a great summer dish and is traditionally cooked over the BBQ – however, I find cooking it inside on the griddle pan over the stove gives me more control and is just as effective.
Chunks of pork tenderloin that are slightly charred on the outside and juicy on the inside. I like to serve this with homemade flatbreads (a recipe stolen from a Mexican cookbook) or oven chips. On the side, we add whatever lettuce is lying around and heaps of coleslaw.
I adapted this recipe from Georgina Hayden’s Taverna, who serves it with pittas and a creamy mustard sauce.
My method is very simple:
- Cut the tenderloin into chunks and marinate for as long as you can in 1 garlic clove, 2tbsp red wine vinegar, 50ml of olive oil, and a handful of fresh herbs (woody herbs work best, like rosemary and thyme).
- Thread onto skewers (optional but helps them cook faster) and grill until cooked through.
- Serve immediately with your choice of summer side dishes and let people serve themselves. This is a simple meal.
Pork and Apple Winter Treat
Pork and apple is a mouth-watering combination. I really am a huge fan of meat and fruit together. This recipe creates its own sauce and requires very little effort (have you spotted the theme yet). I love all one-pot oven recipes. I don’t have a slow cooker, but this recipe could easily be adapted for one.
Serve my pork, apple and onions with a side of mash potato and dark greens. Kale is an excellent choice, or you can go for broccoli, cabbage, or anything else that’s in season. This is a wintery dish.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C FAN,
- Add 300ml chicken stock, ½ tbsp mustard, 1 stalk of fresh rosemary, and 1tsp chilli flakes to a lidded casserole dish,
- Trim and season the pork then sear it in a pan over a high heat on all sides until brown,
- Add sliced apple, sliced onion, and 3 sliced garlic cloves to the pan with the meat, lower the heat a little, and cook until starting to soften (only a few minutes),
- Pour the contents of the pan into the casserole dish, pop on the lid, and cook for 40 minutes covered,
- Once cooked, adjust the seasoning and let the pork rest before carving and serving.
You can also add some cider or white wine along with stock, if you wish. It’s not essential for the flavour, however. If you have too much liquid in your casserole dish at the end, pour it into a pan and simmer to reduce it down while the pork rests for 5-10 minutes.
Pork Tenderloin “Katsu” Curry
I have put the “katsu” in quotation marks because I’m really not sure how authentic this recipe is. I believe pork in this style may be called tonkatsu, while other recipes I’ve found call it katsu. Whether it’s authentic Japanese style or not, it’s a great way to cook pork tenderloin and it tastes good.
There’s a bit of fuss with dipping the meat in egg, flour and breadcrumbs, but besides that it’s simple.
Pork tenderloin “katsu” curry consists of breaded tenderloin medallions, a curry sauce, and a side of rice. If you want to go all-out MasterChef, try making a cucumber or cabbage pickle to go alongside it.
My method is adapted from this recipe but with less chopping, more bashing, and no deep-frying:
- Trim the tenderloin and cut it in half width-ways, then lay each piece between clingfilm and whack with a rolling pin until you have 2 flat pieces of pork tenderloin about 1cm thick,
- Coat the pork in flour, then egg, then flour again, then egg again, and then breadcrumbs (we never have panko so I use fresh breadcrumbs),
- Shallow fry in oil on either side until golden, or bake them in the oven at 200°C FAN turning halfway, until they are cooked through (it won’t crisp up as nicely in the oven),
- Cut into slices and serve with katsu sauce – use a recipe like this and keep it warm at the back of the stove while you prepare the meat and rice.
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Bacon
Stuffed pork tenderloin is a meaty affair, served with roast potatoes, gravy, and whatever veg you have around. Carrots and peas, green beans, or if you want to put in more effort I recommend wilting down red cabbage with red wine vinegar and brown sugar until it’s sticky and sweet.
This recipe is very fluid but here’s a general idea of what to do:
- Trim the pork tenderloin then bash it flat, so it’s no more than 1cm thick,
- In a pan, cook down some onions, garlic, celery, apple (or pear), sultanas, ready-to-eat apricots, chestnuts and whatever else you think might taste good in plenty of butter,
- Once soft, add plenty of breadcrumbs and more butter until you have a stodgy-textured stuffing. Don’t forget to season along the way too.
- Spoon the stuffing onto the pork tenderloin and wrap it up, so you have a log-shaped pork tenderloin with stuffing in the middle. I often find this is easiest to do with two tenderloins, one on either side,
- Use strips of bacon to wrap around the tenderloin and hold it together, or cover any holes. You can also tie it with string to help it stay together,
- Bake in a hot oven until cooked through – 40+ minutes at 190°C FAN for my oven,
- Let it rest, then slice it up.
If your bacon is salty, either rinse off the salt before cooking it or omit salt from the stuffing or it will be too salty at the end. You can add seasoning, but you cannot take it away.
Balsamic Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Risotto
This is a great way to create a filling and hearty meal that isn’t just British meat ‘n veg. You’ll want to use a sharp and strong balsamic vinegar for this recipe and take the time to make the risotto with arborio rice instead of long-grain.
It requires lots of standing around and stirring, so don’t choose this recipe if you’re tired after a long day at work.
- Create a balsamic glaze using this recipe by the BBC – it’s impossible to get wrong,
- Melt butter in a pan and sweat some onions and garlic until soft,
- Add arborio rice and fry for a few minutes until translucent,
- Add some chicken stock and stir until absorbed (proportions of stock and rice depend on how many people you’re serving, so check what the packet recommends),
- Keep adding stock until the rice is cooked, then add some milk or cream and plenty of cheese, then season to taste,
- While the risotto is cooking, trim and slice the tenderloin into 1cm-thick pieces. Fry, griddle, or bake the tenderloin until cooked through,
- Serve the creamy risotto with slices of tenderloin on top and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
You could add some frozen peas or mushrooms to the risotto if you want some veg with this dish. Asparagus also works as a side dish.
If you have any other ideas for pork tenderloin recipes, please leave a comment below!