Orange and Rosemary Pork Tenderloin

Another FIRST for me in the kitchen!  I cooked my first pork tenderloin!  Yes, you heard correctly.  It’s the first time I’ve even eaten pork, outside of the pork chops with mint jelly Mom used to cook for dinner over 30 years ago.  And, guess what?  It tasted great!

While any cardiologist will define pork as red meat, who doesn’t remember the 1987 ad campaign labeling pork as the “other white meat” due to the public perception that chicken and turkey were healthier than red meat?  Even though the campaign was deemed highly successful -apparently 87% of consumers identified pork with the slogan— I still never tried it.  (Oh, and the campaign only ended last March 2011).

I think I was skittish about eating and cooking pork because I fervently believed the following myths:

Myth: Pork is a FATTY meat
: When the fat is trimmed, pork is actually leaner the meat of most domesticated animals.  There are at least 7 cuts of pork that are as lean as chicken.  The leanest cut of Pork comes from the loin, fillet and leg.

Myth: Pork is DIFFICULT to cook.
Reality: Um, it was fast and easy.  I cooked the loin that  took about 22 minutes.  But, you can cook a steak in a stove top pan that can only take 4 minutes TOPS.

Myth: Pork is DRY & TASTELESS
Reality:  Sure, it’s dry and tasteless if you overcook it.  It’s actually very juicy and quite succulent.  And, it’s best cooked when there’s a hint of pink showing in the middle of the cut.

Myth:  Pork is NOT HEALTHY at all.
Reality:  With its fat trimmed, pork is lean and can be a healthy source of protein, thiamin, and omega-3 (to name a few).

As part of the Secret Recipe Club, I was introduced to an amazing pork recipe through Bewitching Kitchen.  I decided to throw down the gauntlet and cook it for dinner guests too.  Whether the dish was a raging success or a huge flop, I was quite impressed that I was even willing to delve into a new meat category and cook for people who aren’t part of my regular panel of biased kid judges.  Now, ahem, that’s a sign of kitchen confidence.

I was completely intimidated purchasing the tenderloin but, having cooked a huge piece of flank steak not too long ago, I felt like I could handle the challenge.  And, this time around, I was not afraid to ask the butcher for help.  I’ve learned that hard way, if you don’t know and don’t ask for help, your chances of screwing up a recipe are high.  Not only was I pointed in the right area of the meat department but, I also got a great deal—two lean tenderloins packaged together for the price of one!  Pork is so much cheaper than the other red meats.

The pork loin was beyond easy to cook.  I guess I always had images of a full pig roasting on a spit in my kitchen.  But, when you’re dealing with the loin, simply searing the meat in a skillet on the stove and then shoving it in the oven to let it cook for another 20-24 minutes is not hard work.    I actually left the loin in a bit longer to make sure it was cooked until the center was light pink.

Pork tenderloin pieces searing in pan

The orange/rosemary sauce only requires the basics: mixing ingredients on a stove top and stirring occasionally while it cooks.


The secret weapon: fresh-squeezed orange juice.  Pork is often associated with apples, not oranges

Orange Rosemary sauce cooking on stove top

Orange Rosemary sauce with the addition of cream

Even cutting the tenderloin was effortless since properly cooked pork loin is so supple and succulent.  You don’t have to worry about cutting “against the grain.”  You don’t have to use a chain saw to chisel your way through tough meat.  Nope.  I used a simple steak knife to cut even pieces of meat, then my kids carefully poured the sauce over top the pieces.

I tasted my piece of pork and it was so salty I quietly guzzled an entire glass of water after two bites.

I was horrified.

I looked around the table and it seemed as though everyone enjoyed their pieces (or they were being very courteous).  So, I sucked up my pride and put everyone on the spot, “well, how is it?” I barked across the table.

Everyone seemed to agree that it tasted “great.”  I tasted my next piece and it was fantastic.  So, looks like certain parts of the loin were naturally saltier than others. Ok, so next time I would not use ANY salt in the recipe while the loin is cooking.  Salt should only get added on a “to taste” basis after the pieces are served.

My 9-year old daughter left the one lone pork piece on her plate untouched, agreeing to forgo dessert as a consequence.  Our 5 and 9-year old guests reluctantly ate their pieces completely camouflaged in applesauce- the same way I used to swallow crushed up pills as a kid. My husband ate the pork after he discretely scraped off all the sauce.  As the chef, I didn’t miss a beat.

Thank god for my 6-year old son, always my biggest fan.

He practically ate a whole loin himself, and had a piece the next morning as a side to his scrambled eggs. And then he asked if he could have a pork-and-cheese sandwich on bread for lunchtime.

Now that’s what I like to hear…





  1. wow, i’m impressed. we have a great recipe for pork- an easy puerto rican one that uses pork shoulder garlic, oregano, olive oil, kosher salt…

  2. Pork tenderloins are a mainstay at our house! Seamus’s favorite dinner. If I’m too lazy to even marinate Fresh Direct has some good pre-marinated ones…

  3. this looks so tasty & good thank you for sharing the recipe 🙂


  1. […] how it would turn out.  There’s huge risk of over cooking the meat.  While I have worked with a pork tenderloin in the oven, a pork chop in a slow cooker is a totally different beast.  Sure, I’ve handled cute little […]

  2. […] would turn out as there’s always a huge risk of over cooking.  While I have worked with a pork tenderloin in the oven, a pork chop in a slow cooker is a totally different beast.  Sure, I’ve handled cute little […]

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