Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Berry Sauce
Hands on time: 30 minutes
Start to finish: 5 hours 30 minutes
Today’s pork is tender and lean, so marinating it with extra flavor makes a lot of sense. It’s an especially good idea to marinate in a tart fruit concoction that ends up serving as a zesty sauce. This recipe’s roots go back to Italy, believe it or not, where the inventive use of whatever food the cook had on hand surely got its start. The acid in the berries, wine and vinegar tenderizes the pork and then when slow-cooked and reduced, the marinade makes the most amazing sauce. It’s sweet and tart and perfect with tender pork.
It’s that easy: The tough white skin that covers part of the tenderloin is best removed before cooking. Slide the blade of a sharp knife between the silver-skin and meat and cut it away or ask you butcher to do it for you. In order for the tenderloin to cook perfectly, I like to fold the skinny long tail up and over the thicker portion of loin and tie it there so that the loin is the same thickness throughout the length of it. That way it cooks more evenly and that skinny end is just as deliciously cooked as the rest.
- 2 pork tenderloins, silver-skin removed
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Zest of 1 orange
- One 16-oz bag frozen mixed berries, thawed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- If the tenderloins have long skinny tails on them, fold them over the top of the tenderloin and tie with kitchen string so that they are an even thickness.
- Combine the vinegar, wine, sugar, zests, and berries in a medium saucepan and heat over medium high heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat, mash the berries a little bit with the back of a fork and let cool to room temperature.
- Pour the cooled marinade in a large zip lock bag and add the tenderloins. Zip closed and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours turning the bag over a few times so the marinade covers the meat evenly.
- When ready to cook, remove the meat from the marinade and pat it dry. Salt and pepper the meat and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- While the pork rests, pour the marinade into a medium saucepan and heat over medium high heat until it boils. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture, stirring every now and then until it reduces and becomes a thick sauce, about 30 minutes. Be careful not to let it burn on the bottom of the pan. Keep warm.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil shimmers add the tenderloins and brown that side for about 3 minutes. The sugar in the marinade has sweetened the pork so it may brown quickly. Be careful not to let them burn. Turn the meat and brown the other side for another 3 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the meat for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the thickness of the meat) or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center reads 140°F to 145°F. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the tenderloins to a platter to rest, tented with foil for at least 10 minutes and up to 15 minutes. The temperature of the pork will rise about 7 to 10 degrees as it rests.
- To serve, slice the tenderloins on the diagonal about 3/4-inch thick and nap with the warm sauce. Serve with roasted root vegetables or green beans.
Serves 6 to 8
Make-ahead: The pork can be kept in the marinade for up to 24 hours, covered and refrigerated.
In the glass: I like red wine with pork and a glass of pinot noir from A to Z is the perfect accompaniment to this berry infused dish.