Yes it’s technically ‘Spring’ but wow it’s still so damn cold out! So! Instead of crying every time I have to pull out my winter coat and boots when I’d rather be wearing cute capris and wedges, I’m focusing on the positive —-> cooking hearty, warm in your belly, comforting, Sunday dinner type meals that taste better when it’s cold outside. Like this one! Maple Chili Pork Tenderloin and Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes.
Pork tenderloin is probably not your go-to protein when you think of making dinner. Before I started cooking this recipe, I
never made pork tenderloin. I had this idea in my head that I didn’t like it (for whatever reason – I couldn’t tell you the last time I’d eaten it, so not one shred of evidence to back up my claim). Then one Saturday this past winter we picked one up from the St Lawerence Market and I cooked it for the first time, and realized pork tenderloin is pretty amazing. And easy. And quick. And way less expensive than beef tenderloin!
I knew I wanted to sear the meat to get that gorgeous crackly crust on the exterior, and finish cooking it in the oven. This method is a great way to cook any meat to give it extra color and crispness, and really I take advantage of any chance I have to use my cast iron pan. If you don’t have one, don’t fret. You can use any frying pan you have, just transfer the meat to a baking dish before you put it in the oven.
The marinade is incredibly simple with ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry. It gives the meat just enough sweet, smoky flavour and makes it incredibly tender and juicy. Toss everything in the bag and let it do its thing. I’ve marinaded for 45 minutes with great success; obviously the longer you let this sit, the more flavour you’ll have in the end. I also highly recommend using a thermometer to gauge the temp of your meat. Taking it out at 145 will result in meat that is medium rare, which is totally safe, see this article; personally I prefer it cooked a little less pink, more towards 150-155. Don’t cook it to more than 160 though, if you want it to be juicy.
Also, you must make these potatoes. Make the recipe now the way it is, then once the weather actually stops making my face hurt, I’ll show you a way to turn it into the most glorious potato salad you’ve ever tasted which you can then bring to all of your summer picnics and potlucks and make many new friends. I can’t say enough good things about these Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes, they are just that tasty.
I added asparagus as the side dish to the potatoes and pork because of their quick cooking time (at the same temp as the other two dishes which means timing this meal so everything is done simultaneously is a cinch – I’ll explain how I do it in the recipe notes), but also because I’m totally hooked on the taste of these little spears. Drizzling them with a tablespoon of olive oil and a hefty sprinkle of Maldon sea salt flakes is all it takes. The tops get all crispy and the rest of the asparagus retains a little bite; just perfect.
Let’s hope spring comes to us soon. In the meantime, enjoy cooking in your oven a few more times before we make the switch over to grilling season!
Special thank you to Aggie’s Kitchen for the recipe for this delicious pork tenderloin! Check out her site here!
An simple, elegant, company-worthy meal that's easy enough to make any weeknight feel extra special.
- 2 to 3 lbs Fingerling Potatoes or Baby Yukon Gold, washed and halved
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary, very finely minced
- 3 Tbsp Garlic, very finely minced
- 2 Tsp Salt
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 - 2 lb Pork Tenderloin
- 1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
- 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tsp Chili Powder
- 1 Tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/4 Tsp Salt
- Fresh Ground Pepper
- Vegetable Oil for searing
- 1-2 Bunches of Asparagus, washed and ends trimmed
- 1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Maldon Sea Salt, for sprinkling
- In a large bowl, combine the garlic, rosemary and salt, then add the potatoes. Give it a quick stir, then add the oil. Stir to coat, then pour onto a parchment lined sheet pan. Spread out into an even thickness (you many need to use 2 sheet pans) and roast in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove, stir, and place back in for 15 more minutes, then stir again and roast until desired crispness and color is achieved, approximately 10 more minutes.
- In a small bowl combine maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper with a whisk. Add pork tenderloin to a large ziplock bag and pour marinade over top, squeezing it around to coat the meat. Place in the fridge and marinate at least 45 minutes and up to overnight.
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Sear tenderloin on all sides 2-3 minutes each side until well browned.
- Place skillet into oven and cook until internal temperature of tenderloin reaches 145-160 degrees, 12-18 minutes depending on the thickness of your tenderloin. Let rest on a cutting board, covered with tinfoil, for 5 minutes before slicing.
- Place asparagus in a row on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 1 or 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil, then sprinkle with Maldon Sea Salt flakes. Roast at 425 for 8-10 minutes.
If you don't have a cast iron pan, use a saute or frying pan, then transfer the pork tenderloin and any juices to a baking dish before putting in the oven.
To time this recipe: Once the potatoes are roasting away for about 10 minutes, start searing your tenderloin (which will take about 10 minutes). Once you put it in the oven you're on track for it to be done cooking around the same time as the potatoes. Put the asparagus in the oven once the potatoes and tenderloin come out, as they only take about 8-10 minutes. Transfer your potatoes to a serving bowl and cover with foil. Place your tenderloin on a cutting board and cover with foil; let rest for 5 minutes. After the meat has rested, carve it then serve it up with the potatoes, then remove the asparagus from the oven and serve.