Roasting pork tenderloin was easier than I thought: twenty minutes with the oven on, then forty more with the oven off, while I ran the Tuesday night kid shuttle: back and forth from OT to swimming to soccer to swimming and finally home.
Dinner wasn't too late for a weeknight, and best of all, my kids ate it up and asked for more!
Plus, now that I've found two reliable sources for pasture raised pork in San Francisco, I feel confident that pork really is a healthy protein. Both BiRite Market and Fatted Calf Charcuterie always have it at the meat counter.
These pigs are raised in smaller groups than at factory farms. They live outdoors, in the air and the sun, where they can root, dig, roll in the mud and fertilize the soil naturally, with their manure. It's one step closer to the idealized storybook family farm gone modern, where small scale food producers have a symbiotic relationship with nature: they replenish the earth while raising livestock and growing produce.
Now I can have my pig and eat it, too.
Roasted Pork Tenderloin (adapted from Joy of Cooking p. 688):
Serve with Pasta with Mushrooms and Cabbage or a salad and premade Cheesy Wheat Berries.
This takes 5 minutes of prep, and ideally an hour to cook, or you can turn off the oven and leave after 20.
It serves 4.
1.5 pound boneless pork loin (smaller is fine, larger takes longer to cook)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon dried herbs (sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary or a mix)
1 teaspoon salt
Take the tenderloin out of the oven to bring it to room temperature, it should sit out for 15-30 minutes before going into the oven, up to an hour.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 450°f.
Place the tenderloin on a rack in a roasting pan.
Mix the oil, salt and herbs together and rub it all over the tenderloin.
When the oven has reached temperature, roast the meat for 10 minutes, then turn down the oven to 250° and keep roasting, until a meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the tenderloin reads 150-155°f. This should take about 20 minutes. You can also slice the pork to see that it looks done on the inside, instead of using a thermometer. Usually it should be pale around the edges and a bit pink in the middle.
Alternately, if you need to leave the house to pick up children from soccer or art class or swimming, or get your spouse from the train station - anything that takes 30 minutes to an hour, follow the recipe above but roast it for only 10 minutes at 250°f, then turn the oven off, leave the door shut with the meat inside. By the time you come home it should be done and ready to eat.
If there is time, put the roasting pan on the stove over medium-low heat, add 1/4 cup of wine or broth, scrape up the brown bits stuck to the bottom with a wooden spoon and simmer until the sauce thickens, just a few minutes. Watch it closely!
Cut the meat into slices and serve it with pan sauce on top, or just as-is. Roasted Pork Tenderloin is good with Pasta with Mushrooms and Cabbage or a salad and Cheesy Wheat Berries.