Sunday, 11 August 2013

Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin

If you've read my recipes for a while, you probably know how much I love maple syrup. You might also remember how happy I was when I discovered how delicious it is with pork chops. That recipe made me curious to see how else I could use the two ingredients together to make some tasty meals.

A recipe is mostly about a good balance of flavor (hence why sharp flavors like balsamic vinegar go so well with maple syrup), so I tested various amounts of garlic and Dijon mustard (another very good friend to pork) until I found the lip-smacking proportions that made the dish shine. I added a bit of heat with some chili flakes and it was perfect!

This recipe is now one of my weeknight life-savers: it's very easy, comes together in about 30 minutes and it is utterly delicious, in that wonderful, sticky-sweet and salty way. Add some mash potatoes (or fries, if you are feeling especially naughty) and some steamed, crispy veggies, and you have a gorgeous retro dinner to enjoy!

All-purpose flour, for dredging
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 pound
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili flakes, or more, to taste (I will use up to a tablespoon)
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup maple syrup

With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350 °F. Sometimes, cutting the tenderloin in half makes it easier to manipulate as you cook it (those loins can be BIG pieces of meat). Dust the tenderloins with flour.

In an ovenproof skillet (I used my cast iron pan), brown the meat in the butter and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the skillet. Set aside.

Add a little butter in the skillet, if necessary, and soften the onion along with the garlic, chili flakes and thyme. Add the mustard and maple syrup and simmer for about 1 minute, until it thickens.

Return the pork to the skillet and coat with the sauce.

Transfer the skillet to the oven, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how done you like it. Remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil. Let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Spoon some of the caramelized onions on top and serve garnished with fresh thyme.

The end result is so pretty, in a simple, understated elegant way. Be careful not to overcook the meat: tenderloin does have the word "tender" in it, and you definitely want that melt-in-your-mouth feeling when you tuck in. Everyone I have ever served this dish to (and a bunch of my friends who spied the picture on my Instagram) raved and begged for the recipe. Well, here it is, gluttons!!! Enjoy!

P.S. My friend Patrick tweaked the recipe a bit, and added about a shotglass worth of Disaronno to the sauce. The result made him make the following NC-17 statement: "If it this food had been sex, I would have been coming a few times each bite". This is by far the coolest recipe review, ever. I love you, Pat!!! xxxxx

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