Easing into autumn: Simple, flavorful Pork Tenderloin with Sage and Roasted Grapes

by Terry B on September 15, 2010

Quick-cooking roast pork tenderloin gets a flavor boost from sage, shallots, garlic and roasted grapes. Recipe below.

pork-tenderloin-grapes

There’s more than a hint of autumn in the air lately, and I say bring it on. The no-cook dinner salads and quick-grilled everythings of summer are all well and good, but I like heartier fare. Roasts, stews, serious soups… These are the foods that excite me on a primal, lizard brain level, both in the kitchen and at the dinner table.

Pork tenderloin is the perfect way to transition back into serious cooking season. It’s leaner and lighter than a lot of roasting fare. It also requires as little as 15 to 20 minutes in the oven, so you’re not overheating the kitchen in the cool-but-not-yet-cold fall weather.

This recipe takes advantage of how well pork plays with fruit flavors. The idea for it just kind of assembled itself in my head after I saw an article in an Italian food magazine about roasting grapes. In the magazine, they served the roasted grapes with ricotta cheese on mini focaccias, but I immediately made the leap to creating a savory roasted meat dish. Sage also teams well with pork, adding a slightly peppery flavor—and it’s often used in Italian cuisine. (Conveniently enough, it’s also growing in our yard.) Within moments, I had pretty much settled on the ingredients and techniques that became the recipe below.

As a quick side note, I think adding grapes to a pan of roasting chicken legs and shallots about halfway through the cooking time might also be quite good. Be sure to toss the grapes with olive oil first, to avoid scorching them.

Pork Tenderloin with Sage and Roasted Grapes
Serves 4 to 6

4 shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 to 2-pound pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, plus 3 whole leaves
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
2-1/2 cups assorted seedless grapes (I used red and green)

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Place shallot halves in a glass baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and toss gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, pat tenderloin dry and arrange 3 sage leaves along the top. Truss tenderloin with kitchen string in four places along its length, tying the sage leaves to it as you do. Rub the tenderloin with olive oil, making sure to coat the sage leaves too. Season on all sides with salt and pepper.

Heat a large ovenproof lidded skillet over a medium-high flame. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and brown the tenderloin on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes total. While tenderloin is browning, place grapes in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Transfer the tenderloin to a plate. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic and chopped sage to pan. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add broth to pan and remove from heat.

Return tenderloin to pan. Using a slotted spoon, gently arrange shallots around meat—they will want to fall apart, so handle them gently to minimize their collapse. Add grapes to pan, cover and roast for about 10 minutes. Uncover pan and continue roasting until an instant read thermometer registers 150ºF when inserted in the thickest part of the tenderloin, about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the tenderloin. It will still be slightly pinkish inside, but that’s perfectly okay—and it beats the heck out of tough, dry and overcooked.

Transfer tenderloin to a cutting board, tent with foil and let it rest 5 minutes or so. Slice into 1/2-inch medallions and plate. Top with grapes, shallots and pan juices.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

bamboo chopping board September 15, 2010 at 2:09 am

Thanks. This one great, no matter what when cooking pork it always has this juice flavor to it. Real nice

Dionne Baldwin September 15, 2010 at 2:19 am

Now this is definitely a new spin on a pork tenderloin! I’ve never seen pork with grapes before, but then again there’s alot I haven’t seen (yet). I have to agree I like hearty, comfort foods but at the same time I’m not ready for summer to be over. :( I guess I have no choice. Pork tenderloin it is!

Dani H September 15, 2010 at 7:21 pm

I can’t remember the last time that I fixed a pork tenderloin without fruit, but I’ve never thought of grapes. I’ve used dried plums (I’m sorry, they’ll always be prunes to me), dried apricots, apples. I hadn’t thought about it until now, but I don’t think I’ve ever roasted pork with vegetables or ever roasted beef with fruit. I am going to wait awhile to try this though – we’re still at 103 to 107 degrees. Have a great week!

smspizza September 15, 2010 at 11:25 pm

That looks awesome, i will try it. please do not put this kind of pic, makes me hungry smspizza :)))

Terry B September 16, 2010 at 4:50 am

Thanks, bamboo chopping board!

Personally, I think summer is overrated, Dionne. I’m a big fan of autumn.

Dani, I hope things cool off soon for you. Pork really does lend itself to pairing with fruit. Beef is a much heavier meat. It doesn’t play so well with fruit, except as the occasional spicy salsa.

smspizza—But that’s the whole goal of food bloggers, to inspire hunger!

Alta September 16, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Love this. I don’t often cook pork tenderloin, but this would be a lovely way to enjoy it for sure.

altadenahiker September 16, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Autumn my favorite, too. And this recipe I’ll definitely try. You haven’t disappointed me yet; quite the contrary.

(My nieghbor at http://restlesschef.blogspot.com/ is looking for easy (really easy) recipes for her daughter to cook at NYU. I passed along your linguine w/clams link, which remains one of my mainstays.)

City Share September 16, 2010 at 11:12 pm

I have never roasted grapes before, but that sounds like a great idea. And fruit and pork pair nicely, so why not grapes and pork? Love the idea of this flavor combination, and you are right about pork tenderloin being perfect for early fall.

Terry B September 17, 2010 at 12:42 am

Thanks, Alta!

Altadena Hiker—I almost warned you that I was posting another sweet/savory recipe, so I’m happily surprised you want to try it. And Marion’s linguine with clams dish is wonderful, Isn’t it?

City Share—Thanks! I’m interested in trying the idea that started this recipe, the grapes roasted with olive oil and honey, then served with ricotta on mini focaccias.

Angela@spinachtiger September 19, 2010 at 6:35 pm

This is a beautiful way to cook a tenderloin. I adore cooked grapes in a dish.

Cynthia Fox-Giddens September 20, 2010 at 9:59 pm

A yummy meal and so right on as autumn approaches.

Florentina September 22, 2010 at 4:34 am

Beautiful! You did that pork loin justice, way to go!

Lindsay Bowles September 24, 2010 at 2:01 am

I tried this recipe tonight and it was amazing- totally loved it. I documented my experience here http://misschefy.wordpress.com. Thanks so much for the idea!

Terry B September 26, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Angela, this is my first time using grapes this way, but now I’m ready to try more. They added a nice sweet/tart note to the dish.

Cynthia—I don’t know how the weather is in Atlanta right now, but it’s chilly and quite autumnal in Chicago today. I’m ready to cook this or something like it again right now!

Thanks, Florentina!

I’m glad you liked the recipe, Lindsay. You did a beautiful job with it!

Eric November 3, 2010 at 2:07 am

Hi Terry. Great idea for pork loin! You can also try grapes and shallot with sole. You’ve given me a few things to think about! Cheers.

madame fromage November 19, 2010 at 12:11 am

Wow, this looks stunning. I love the idea of sage and grapes alongside a tenderloin. I can’t wait to try this. The photo is jaw-dropping. Enjoying your blog, as always. Cheers!

ali November 24, 2010 at 8:21 am

Love this. I don’t often cook pork tenderloin, but this would be a lovely way to enjoy it for sure.

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