Quick weeknight meals have been becoming more and more important around here lately. With Michelle away on business or working late, Sean’s schoolwork and involvement in the school play and my work it has been a crunch to try to get a meal on the table some nights. That means I have been turning more and more to quick and easy ideas for dinner that I can put together in under 40 minutes so we can eat at a reasonable time and not have to turn to fast food or convenience food too often. I do try to mix things up so we’re not eating the same things all of the time (Sean does tend to complain if we are eating too much chicken). I had picked up a pork tenderloin at the store on sale a few days ago and then I saw this recipe on Epicurious for pork tenderloin with date and cilantro relish that sounded tasty and different. it only has a few ingredients to it and can come together in under 45 minutes, so I thought I would give it a try.
Pork Tenderloin with Date and Cilantro Relish
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup dates (about 4 ounces), cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus leaves for serving
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Season the pork tenderloin with salt and pepper and place it in the skillet and cook, turning the tenderloin occasionally until it is browned on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven tenderloin until the temperature of the pork registers 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the tenderloin, about 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and allow the tenderloin to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing it. Set aside the pan drippings from the skillet.
Toss the dates, orange juice, reserved pan drippings, 3 tablespoons of the chopped cilantro and the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil together in a small bowl. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the relish over the pork slices and top with the cilantro leaves.
I did make a small change to the recipe as I went along. It seemed to me that the dish needed a little extra crunch so I added a sliced carrot to the skillet along with some pearl onions with the pork and cooked them in the oven as well. Both vegetables picked up some of the juices from the pork and seem to add a nice touch to the relish as well in terms of color and flavor. I have to admit I do not have a lot of experience using dates or cooking with them, and Sean seemed to shy away from them in the dish, but I really enjoyed the flavor they added overall to the relish and it went really nicely with the pork. I did notice in reviews of the recipe that some people added things like cranberries or walnuts to the relish as well to give it some extra flavor and take some of the sweetness of the dates. I think if you didn’t want to use dates you could easily use prunes or even grapes as a replacement and it would work just as well. I served this with some broccoli and white rice and it was a nice meal that was done quickly with easy clean up.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!