Streamlined recipes are especially appealing right now. We’ve all put a lot of miles around the track cooking at home this past year and it has been exhausting. I get it. On the positive side you have probably been eating healthier and you’ve most likely saved money by not dining out. Perhaps in acquiring some new cooking skills you have also realized you love making dinner and it will become a habit moving forward. Or not…
Wherever you stand, here is a super simple recipe using only five ingredients. One which is pears – an often overlooked fruit for Fall/Winter cooking that take on an entirely different texture and flavor when roasted. Have you cooked with shallots? They’re another overlooked ingredient – a vegetable not as commonly used as an onion but with the same kind of flavor contribution, although more mild, and that cooks more quickly. Lastly, thyme – one of my top two favorite herbs (rosemary inches it out) which bathes everything it touches with its distinct earthy flavor.
The main protein ingredient, pork tenderloin, is a bit of a secret weapon in cooking. It cooks quickly and because it does not have much connective tissue, it produces tender meat. Conveniently the tenderloins are usually sold in 1 to 1-1/2 pound pieces making it a nice size for two to four servings depending on how much protein you eat. If you are uncomfortable knowing when pork is cooked to the safe temperature (which is 145 degrees F.), I recommend purchasing either an analogue or digital instant reading thermometer that you insert in the center of the tenderloin to get a temperature reading. Remember to allow the roasted tenderloin to “rest” for at least 5 minutes after removing from the oven. This allows the meat fibers which contract during cooking to relax and reabsorb juices that have been squeezed out so they do not end up on the cutting board when the meat is sliced.
You may wonder why the extra step of browning the tenderloin before roasting. Two reasons – it imparts flavor in the finished roast and a beautiful color which would not be achieved by the short roasting time.
Ready for Roasting
- 1 to 1-1/2 pound pork tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
- 4 medium size shallots (about 8 ounces) peeled and cut in half or quarters
- 4 garlic cloves, lightly smashed open and skin removed
- 2 pears (ripe*see notes), cored and each cut into 8 pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Pat tenderloin dry with a paper towel; drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the top and rub all over. Season all over with salt and pepper then sprinkle and rub with thyme leaves.
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat; add pork and allow cooking until browned before turning to other sides, about 2 minutes total browning time.
- Transfer browned pork to a roasting pan or sheet pan.
- Put shallots, garlic and pears in a bowl and toss with the 2 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and pepper and toss again. Transfer to the pan, placing around the pork; leaving some space around the shallots and pears to allow sides space for browning.
- Roast until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the pork registers 145 degrees F., about 20 to 25 minutes (I check after 20 minutes). Allow sitting 5 minutes before slicing pork and serving with the pears and shallots.