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Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin

Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin 4.000

Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Oct 20, 2010

Of all the 300-plus tempting recipes in Dorie Greenspan's new cookbook, "Around My French Table," this one's not exactly French.

"But I was inspired by the way the French pair the quick-cooking cut with sweet sauces and spices," she said during a recent cooking session at The Post. With a deft touch and a handful of ingredients, the beloved and award-winning author combined the juice, segments and zest of navel oranges with a few crushed cardamom pods and a chopped onion.

The result made just enough of a light sauce to complement the pork.

Greenspan suggests serving it with a celery root puree or broth-braised potatoes and fennel (also recipes from the book), but rice is just as nice.

She threw together two other quick "French Table" creations; see our All We Can Eat blog on Thursday for a glimpse of how satisfying it is to cook with, and learn from, our pal Dorie.

Servings: 4
  • 4 large navel or blood oranges
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin (1 or 2 pieces)
  • 1 medium onion or 4 spring onions or 8 scallions
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, or more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon mild oil, such as grapeseed or canola, or more as needed
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Peel 2 of the oranges, removing all pith. Cut between the membranes to release the fruit segments; cut the segments crosswise in half, letting them fall into a mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice from the spent membranes into a liquid measuring cup.

Use a Microplane zester or vegetable peeler to zest the remaining 2 oranges, letting the zest fall into the liquid measuring cup. (If you use the peeler, cut wide, pithless strips, then cut them lengthwise into very thin strips no more than 1 to 2 inches long.) Squeeze the juice from the zested oranges into the liquid measuring cup; the total yield with zest should be a scant 3/4 cup.

Trim the silver skin and any excess fat from the tenderloin(s). If using 1 large tenderloin, cut it crosswise into 8 equal pieces. If using 2 smaller tenderloins, cut each of them crosswise into 4 equal pieces. Make sure the pieces are of equal size, for even cooking. Use paper towels to pat the slices as dry as possible.

Finely chop the onion, spring onions or white and light-green parts of the scallions to yield about 1 cup.

Use the wide, flat side of a chef's knife to bruise or gently crush the cardamom pods.

Heat the butter and oil in a large (at least 12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pieces of pork, spaced well apart. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until browned on the first side, then turn them over and season with salt and pepper to taste; cook for 3 to 4 minutes until browned nicely on the second side.

Pour in the orange juice with zest, then add the onion and cardamom. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Once the sauce starts to bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the pieces of pork spring back when gently pressed with a finger.

Add the cut orange segments; cover and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through.

Uncover; if you think the sauce needs to be cooked down a bit, transfer the pork and orange pieces to a platter and cover loosely. Increase the heat to medium-high so the sauce comes to a boil; the flavor will intensify, but the sauce will not thicken. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Pour the sauce over or around the pork. Serve hot.

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Recipe Source

From Greenspan's "Around My French Table" (Houghton Mifflin, 2010).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 330

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 12g 18%

Saturated Fat: 4g 20%

Cholesterol: 120mg 40%

Sodium: 160mg 7%

Total Carbohydrates: 18g 6%

Dietary Fiber: 2g 8%

Sugar: 13g

Protein: 37g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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