Pork Tenderloin is one of the simplest cuts of meat to prepare. Tenderloins are typically tossed on the grill or quickly roasted in the oven. But there’s another option in cooking this tender cut of pork – braising in cream and white wine.
Braising and marinating in dairy is a very old way of preparing beef, pork and poultry. My Grandmothers and my Mother marinated poultry and wild game in milk and buttermilk. It was said it would tenderize the meat and even remove the “gamey” taste from quail, dove or other meats brought in from a day of hunting in the fields. Beyond the attributes of marinating in dairy braising in milk or cream will keep the meat tender during a slow cook while simultaneously creating a luscious sauce for serving. It’s an old proven method and one worth repeating.
This dish starts with a simple rub of kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, tangy dry mustard and an undertone of warmth and spice from chili powder. Then sweet onion is added along with the subtle notes of marjoram rounding out this easy and savory dish. Nestle in the pork tenderloins, surround them with cream and white wine and a beautiful meal awaits.
Serve over a bed of nutty Yukon Gold potatoes – simplicity can really taste quite wonderful!
Pork Tenderloin Braised in Cream and White Wine
For the rub:
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons dry mustard
½ teaspoon chili powder
Stir together the kosher salt, pepper, dry mustard and chili powder. Spread evenly over all sides of the tenderloins. Let rest at least 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate overnight*.
*If the tenderloins are refrigerated let them come to room temperature before sauteing, about 30-45 minutes.
For the braised tenderloins:
2 tenderloins, about 2-1/2 pounds total – silverskin* removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large sweet onion, sliced, about 1 to 1-1/4 pounds
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
5 sprigs fresh marjoram or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups heavy cream
To finish the sauce:
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat.
When the butter and oil are hot add the tenderloins and sear them on each side. Transfer the tenderloins to a tray. Add the onion to the pan and cook until the slices are tender. (Add more butter and olive oil if needed.)
Toss in the marjoram, the kosher salt and black pepper and sauté for an extra 5 minutes.
Stir in the white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits of fond – those tasty caramelized brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
Place the tenderloins back in the pan and pour in the cream.
Cover the pan tightly and cook in a 300-degree oven for 45 to 60 minutes. You want an internal temperature of around 150-degrees so check after 45 minutes. The time will vary depending on the thickness of the tenderloins. Insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to get an accurate read. Keep in mind the meat will continue to cook after you remove it from the oven. Once the tenderloins are at temperature remove them from the sauce and place them on a cutting board.
Cover them tightly with foil and let them rest for at least 10 minutes while you finish the sauce.
Combine the flour and the broth in a small jar or container and shake until mixed together. Place the sauté pan with the sauce over medium heat and slowly stir in the flour and broth. Cook for about 10 minutes until the flour and broth are cooked and the sauce thickens slightly.
Slice the pork tenderloin and serve with the warm sauce.
*Silverskin is a thin membrane – a tough connective tissue that should be removed before cooking. This will allow seasonings to get into the meat and prevent it from curling up while cooking. Simply take a very sharp boning knife, slide it just under the silverskin and trim it off.