Pork tenderloin is an excellent cut of meat to serve for busy weeknight meals or fancy dinner parties, plus it’s pretty easy to always get it right. And the secret to always getting it right? An instant-read meat thermometer.
This particularly fabulous recipe came to be after I’d made Baked Goat Cheese with Dried Figs and Caramelized Onions. I had a lot of figs leftover and was looking for a quick and unusual ingredient to use for a pork tenderloin that was waiting in the fridge. We loved the flavors that the figs gave to the other ingredients of dry sherry, onions and rosemary, and crushed garlic. It was an instant winner!
Of course, after I first tried this recipe I made it several times again to try and tweek it or see if any changes would make it even more impressive. In the end I discovered that the littlest amount of work possible yielded the best tasting meal, so yay for that!
I’ll share a few variations with you in case you’re wondering if certain changes you might want to try will enhance the recipe or make a difference. The second time I made this pork tenderloin recipe I actually placed the tenderloin in a Ziplock bag with the oil, figs/sherry mixture, and garlic. Then I marinated it for two hours and even overnight one time. I found that the tenderloin marinated for a couple of hours possibly had a little more tenderness and flavor than the meat that wasn’t pre-marinated, but not enough to make a difference, and the tenderloin marinated overnight was not necessary at all. Then another time I emulsified the figs into a paste with its juices and some oil to see if that would make a nice gravy type sauce. Let’s just say that was a lot of extra work and yielded no extra benefits. So again, this recipe is best when the process is kept simple. But it might be advisable to double the recipe because it’s going to be hard to resist. My husband kept going back to the cutting board to slice off “one more piece” several times. If you don’t eat it all in one sitting, leftovers are fantastic!
And oh by the way, are you wondering about the cool looking potato cakes that are featured off to the side of the pork tenderloin? Baked Mashed Potato Cakes are super delicious, super fancy and super easy!
Try out this excellent and EASY combination of pork tenderloin, figs, red onions and rosemary. Because making it once will not be enough.
Pork Tenderloin with Figs, Red Onions and Rosemary
- 1 pound pork tenderloin
- 1/2 cup light cooking oil olive or avocado, divided
- 8 dried mission figs about, sliced or chopped
- 1/4 cup dry sherry, or apple cider vinegar
- 3 rosemary sprigs
- 1 large red onion
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Tools needed- meat thermometor
- Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees.
- In a medium sauce pan add figs, sherry and just enough water to cover the figs. Heat mixture to boiling and remove from heat. Set aside.
- In an oven-proof skillet (cast iron is excellent), heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook on all sides until outside of meat is seared, adding more oil if necessary.
- Pour figs and the juices they cooked in over the pork.
- Add remaining oil to the pan, less or more to your liking.
- Place 2 of the rosemary sprigs over the pork and place in pre-heated oven. Cook for 25 minutes then check the internal temperature of the pork. If temp is at or near 165F degrees, remove pork from the pan onto a plate, tent loosely** with aluminum foil.
- Slice the red onion pole to pole and stir the onion and garlic into the fig mixture and meat drippings. Add the 3rd rosemary sprig to the pan at this time. Place the pan back in the oven (if the meat is not done, center it over everything to cook further). Cook an additional 15 minutes or until red onions have caramelized to your liking, stirring occasionally.
- Note: if you removed the meat at the 25 minute mark, place it back in the oven on top of the other ingredients during the last 5 minutes to help it remain warm and to get the flavors of the onions, etc.
- Remove from oven and slice tenderloin (if it hasn't come out of the oven at all yet, let the meat rest about 10 minutes before slicing).
- Serve with the onion and fig mixture poured over meat or on the side.
- **It is important to tent the aluminum loosely over the pork during resting. If you enclose the meat too tightly in the aluminum, the pork may continue to cook and over-cook, releasing much of the juices that keep the meat tender.