Slow comes in quite a few flavors. Six hours perched over a pot skimming stock to get it perfectly translucent is definitely one kind of slow. But when life's throwing all sorts of business at you, whether it's a herd of guests who showed up largely unannounced or your sproglets that need to be fed, slow may need to be condensed a bit. I don't have sproglets or any other manner of offspring but I have had my share of busy nights where I needed to take of dinner and a million other things. Days like those are saved by this rich and juicy roast tenderloin that's tender on your wallet as well. Served alongside a nice red beans and rice recipe (coming soon), you can feed six hungry adults easily and be lauded as a host by all who shared your table. So join me on this voyage to Pork Wonderland, passengers have a one carry-on limit that will be enforced.
Step 1: Tools and Ingredients
First our delicious bits in the making.
- 4 Small Potatoes (sliced 1/8 inch or 4 mm)
- 1 Medium Red Onion (sliced 1/4 inch or 6.5 mm)
- 1 Pork Tenderloin (1 lb or about 550 grams)
- 7 Slices of Bacon
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Olive Oil
- Cutting Board*
- Baking Tray (a Roasting Tray is ideal, but leave the rack behind)
- Tin Foil
* It's advisable to have separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables. In this instructable you'll see that I make the bacon lattice on the veggie cutting board. This is sort of ok since bacon isn't a raw meat product, but for the sake of sanitation it's best to keep things separate.
Step 2: Cookery and Artistry
Veggies and Prep:
Prep your tray with tinfoil only if it, like mine, is notoriously sticky. Otherwise you can skip this step.
With all of your vegetables sliced, go ahead and spread them out in your roasting tray/pan. Since my oven is pretty small, the tray that comes with it fits everything in a nice and even layer. Mine is an odd size though. However, this recipe works fine with roasting pans that are 12 inches x 17 inches like this one here.
Make sure to season the potatoes and onions with salt, pepper, and thyme in a light, even layer and then toss with some olive oil.
Before we touch the meat let's preheat our oven to a toasty 450 (210 C) on the broiler.
Next we must make a lattice out of our bacon so that it wraps evenly around the tenderloin. Now I completely forgot to go through it step by step while making this instructable and am currently out of bacon so making more isn't an option. However, about.com does a pretty good job of explain it in their guide to Making a Bacon Lattice Patties. Now I know I've said that this is a simple recipe and a woven bacon lattice seems counterproductive to that. But fear not, the task of weaving the bacon can foisted off pretty easily onto that one guest who won't shut it about having met Emeril once and is now a professional chef or a nearby child (this one's not a joke, kids like playing with bacon and promising them a piece as a reward usually get's them pretty into it). Really, so long as the bacon is wrapped around the pork in some fashion it'll do its job.
With our lattice complete we must season the meat. The best way I've learned to do the seasoning with with minimal waste is to take a plate (or cutting board in my case) and treat the meat like a cake. By gently tossing and rubbing the seasoning onto the sides we make sure that everything is evenly seasoned all around. Except the bottom, that is. But that is rectified when we flip the tenderloin onto the lattice. This leaves the bottom exposed to the world, which we can efficiently cover with the seasoning that was left over on the plate / cutting board from when we were working on the top and sides.
Wrap the tenderloin a bit like a burrito at your favorite pseudo-Mexican burrito bar. With the tenderloin parallel to you, fold in the outside ends, roll it towards you to fold the bottom, and then tuck the remaining side in. Voila! We now have a meaty burrito that's ready for the oven.
By now your oven should be hot and ready. Here's how we're going to roast it:
- 10 Minutes under the broiler
- 40 Minutes with the temperature dropped down to 250 (120 C)
- 10 Minutes to finish under the broiler.
Step 3: Let It Rest!
Once your timer dings, take out the pork and let it rest. In the mean time pop the veggies back in the oven at 370 (175 C) for about 20 minutes. Will the pork get cold during that time? Nope! It'll be pretty hot fresh out of the oven and leaving it be for twenty minutes only serves to give the juices time to distribute evenly throughout the meat. It's the same principle as a nice steak really. Plus a slightly cooler tenderloin will be a lot easier to slice.
As for the extra time in the oven for the onions and potatoes, it's a necessity unless you like crunchy potatoes. The onions will get a bit dark on the top and sides of the pan, but they call that char these days and you'll pay good money for that at your local fine dining establishment.
Step 4: Enjoy!
Pork and potatoes aren't complete in my book with out a beer (a nice pilsner in this case), but a Washington Riesling goes pretty well with this dish too. I remember one called Kung Fu Girl that was cheap and is now an unfulfilled craving of mine... If anyone wants to ship some out to China for me, I'll be much obliged. Getting back to the point, this recipe is now complete.
However, as always, I have a couple final notes:
- You may find that the bottom of this tenderloin seems to be a pinker color than the top, this not due to undercooking as you may fear. Pork can be pink, but it should never be translucent. If you're worried about trichinosis or other baddies that are in pork, use a thermometer and skip the last broiling stage in favor of roasting until the CDC recommended 145 (63 C).
- A bread knife is the ideal tool for slicing the tenderloin, but an electric carver works just as well. If you have neither, use a big heavy cleaver and slice with that. The weight will make up for the lack of handy teeth.
- The cooking time and method remain the same no matter what size tenderloin you are using as most are a relatively consistent diameter. If you think you have a particularly fat tenderloin on your hands then roast at 250 (120 C) for 50-60 minutes before the final broil. A meat thermometer is your friend here as once the internal temperature reaches 135 F (50 C) you can transfer it to the broil. Remember that carryover cooking from the rest period will raise the temperature around 5 more degrees before it starts cooling.