Pork Tenderloin with Miso Maple Pan Sauce

Get your autumn pants on, y’all. Fall is, without a doubt, my favorite season. People may rave about summertime cooking (sure, there’s a lot of produce), but I am never more inspired than when I see the grocery store fill up with squash and apple cider. Once the weather cools down a tad and I can acceptably turn the oven on again, one of the dishes that re-enters our regular dinner rotation is roasted pork tenderloin. I grew up thinking that all pork except the pulled and bacon varieties were universally dry and devoid of flavor. I believed this falsehood up until a few years ago when I developed this recipe and learned that pretty much anything from the top half of the pig (think blade steaks, the loins, and all of the chops) are much more appropriately cooked to a tender and succulent 145°F (medium rare) rather than a chewy 160°F. Try one perfectly cooked, succulent pork tenderloin and you’ll never go back to “well done” pork again.

This particular dish was inspired by the latest episode of Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway’s excellent Home Cooking podcast, where Samin mentioned a miso-maple dressing and I immediately started dreaming about the possibilities. I added some sauteed aromatics to create the sauce, and Dijon and white wine vin to lighten things up. The sauce is savory without being heavy and bright without being tangy. It could totally be customized with fresh minced ginger along with the shallots and garlic, finely chopped thyme stirred in at the end, or apple cider instead of water for a sweeter glaze. I could see myself serving this at a dinner party, but it’s perfectly quick and easy for a weeknight dinner too. Overall, a 10/10 meal.

Pork Tenderloin with Miso Maple Pan Sauce

Makes about 6 servings

Ingredients

Pork Tenderloins

  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 pork tenderloins, around 1.5 lbs each*
  • Salt & pepper, to season

Miso Maple Pan Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. white miso paste
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • Parsley, to garnish (optional)

Preparation

Pork Tenderloins

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven (preferably around 12 inches in diameter) over medium-high heat.
  2. While skillet heats, pat tenderloins dry with paper towels and season them all over with salt & pepper. You’ll use around 3/4 to 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper, depending on the size of your tenderloins.
  3. Place both tenderloins in the skillet (curving them to fit as needed) and reduce heat to medium. Sear until deeply golden on three out of the four sides, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Turn tenderloins onto their fourth/final side and move pan to oven.
  4. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature at the thickest point of the tenderloins reach 145°F. If you have a wire probe thermometer, now’s the perfect time to use it. If you don’t, now’s the time to get one**.
  5. Remove the loins from the skillet, cover with foil, and let rest while you make your sauce.

Miso Maple Pan Sauce

  1. Heat the skillet over medium heat and add 3 Tbsp. butter. Once butter is melted and foamy, add shallot and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until very aromatic and beginning to turn translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and add water, maple syrup, mustard, miso, and vinegar. Stir to scrape up any remaining fond from the bottom of the pan and to fully combine the sauce.
  3. Cut pork against the grain into 1/2-inch thick slices and serve drizzled with sauce. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley if desired.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this pork with a dark greens salad (kale, diced apples, and dried cranberries would be great here!), chilled homemade applesauce, or broccoli slaw for some freshness. To embrace the autumn feel, add roasted potatoes/sweet potatoes, crispy Brussels sprouts, or buttered orzo to your plate.

Notes

*2 pork tenderloins typically come in 1 package at the grocery store, so this recipe is designed for that size. If you buy your pork from a butcher counter and/or have tenderloins that are bigger/smaller—that’s fine! Just adjust the final oven time a few minutes more or less as needed to hit that 145°F internal temp.
**My probe thermometer is hands-down my favorite kitchen tool. It seriously improves all your roasting, candy-making, and frying experiences. I would never consider making a Thanksgiving turkey without one. I’ve gone through several Polder Classics over the years and highly recommend them for a cost-effective option. If you’re looking for the highest quality, my recommendation is the ThermoWorks ChefAlarm.


Straightforward But Oh-So-Delicious Pork Green Chili

I have a public service announcement for everyone who loves tender, shreddy pork as much as I do: if you don’t already know about the magic of country-style pork ribs, now is your time to wise up. They’re cut from the shoulder region—the same area where the quintessential but inaptly named “butt” comes from. Instead of devoting an entire day to roasting one of those 10-lb. shoulder roasts, you can have the same succulent meat in only a few hours with the smaller country-style ribs. Ever since a friendly meat counter clerk tipped me off to this info last year (and unwittingly changed my entire life), they’ve been my go-to choice for one of my fave cold-weather meals: green chili.

This recipe is simple and super forgiving, making it a wonderful dish to throw together on a cold afternoon at home. The cooking time is relative to the size of pork ribs you have, so err on the side of allowing for more cooking time (up to 4 hours). If the pork gets super tender before that, you can always turn the oven down to 175°F to just keep it warm until dinnertime. If you have nice and gelatinous (mmmm) homemade stock, this is the perfect use for it. If not, don’t trip! Just use a higher quality store-bought stock. Last thing: I typically have a tub of frozen green (and red, for that matter) chopped New Mexico Hatch chiles in our freezer at all times, and they work really well here. If you’re lucky enough to have fresh roasted chile stands in your area, then 3/4 lb. skinned and finely chopped mild Hatch green chiles would be even better.

Straightforward But Oh-So-Delicious Pork Green Chili Recipe

Makes 4-6 servings
Active cooking time: 30-40 minutes
Total cooking time: 3-4 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. bone-in country-style pork ribs (approximately 3 large “ribs”)
  • Kosher salt, to season
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock (homemade if possible)
  • 1 (13 oz.) tub frozen roasted and chopped mild Hatch green chiles (like Bueno Foods brand), thawed
  • 4 tsp. corn starch
  • 4 tsp. water
  • 1 large Russet or Yukon Gold potato, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (optional)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 Tbsp.)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Season your country-style ribs generously with salt on all sides (you’ll use around 1 tsp.).
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven (3.5 qt or bigger) over medium-high heat. When oil is hot but not quite smoking, add pork and sear until golden brown on all four sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. You should start to see fond (little golden bits) starting to build on the bottom of your pot after your first or second turn. If not, increase your heat slightly. If your oil or smoking or your fond is getting darker than the color of honey, turn your heat down to medium.
  3. Remove seared pork and set aside on a plate. Add onions and garlic to pot and stir to saute. If there is no oil left in your pot, add another Tbsp. or so to get everything lightly coated. Cook onions for 3-4 minutes, or until they are aromatic, translucent, and just beginning to brown.
  4. Pour in stock and stir to gently scrape up the fond from the bottom of the pot. Add green chiles and bring to a simmer. Place pork ribs back into the pot, submerging them in the liquid if possible. Cover pot and place in oven.
  5. Cook for 2-2 1/2 hours, or until pork begins to feel tender when squeezed with tongs.
  6. In a small bowl, combine corn starch and water to make a slurry mixture. Gently stir slurry into green chili, along with potato (if using). Cook in oven for an additional 1/2-1 hour, or until potatoes are tender, liquid is slightly thickened, and pork falls apart when squeezed with tongs.
  7. Carefully remove any pieces of bone (they should easily pull apart from the from meat) and pieces of un-rendered fat. Use tongs to squeeze/shred the pork into bite-sized chunks. Stir in lime juice and season with additional salt to taste if needed.
  8. Serve the green chili with guacamole, shredded cheese or crumbled cotija, cilantro leaves, thinly sliced radishes, and/or tortilla chips. Or ya know, don’t—it’s just as delicious without adding anything extra.

Notes

This recipe could also be made using a slow cooker instead of the oven, but don’t skip the searing and sauteing! Follow the first 4 steps, but place the liquid and ribs into your slow cooker. Cook on low for approximately 4 hours or high for 2-3 hours, or until pork is falling apart. Add the potato during the last hour of cooking if desired.

Leftovers are delicious when topped with an egg and served with a toasted tortilla for breakfast the next morning.