Friday, February 8, 2013

French Fridays with Dorie - Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin


Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin.




I was thrilled with this recipe, I have been making a similar recipe for the longest time and, particularly in wintertime,  we adore the combination of the fresh oranges and the pork, always have, always will. Dorie´s recipe is straightforward and just the kind of recipe I really enjoy making but also like to play around with – just so that the taste testers do not get bored.




Starting with the Pork Tenderloin which just happens to be one of my favorite pieces of meat –  is the eye fillet that comes from within the loin. It is a lazy muscle and as such is lean and very tender, but with less flavor than other cuts such as leg or shoulder. Pork fillet is very quick to cook but will soon dry out if overcooked. All you have to do is remove any tough white membrane or sinew from the outside of the tenderloin before cooking. I roasted the whole tenderloins and did not cut them into slices and then transferred them to the oven for about fifteen minutes, turned the oven off and let them rest a few minutes before slicing. The meat was tender and utterly delicious.




I also did not use regular oranges but my favorite oranges of all, namely the “Moro Oranges”, blood oranges from Sicily, Italy. Grown mostly in Mediterranean countries, blood oranges have a distinctive dark-red rind and flesh and taste tarter than regular oranges. They have a very short season in late winter, therefore, I try to make the most of their spicy tartness while I can. In most recipes, you can substitute ordinary oranges with blood oranges. They can also be used in soufflés, puddings, in marmalades, in jellies or ice creams, not only in sauces. The fiery color and unique flavor of blood orange juice also makes it a great addition to cocktails.




Then onto the side dishes, I chose to make Spinach Spaetzle with some farm fresh eggs and wonderful fresh winter spinach. We love the taste and the color of those Spaetzle, the color and lightness they get from the fresh eggs and the spinach are just delightful and they pair so well with the color as well as the taste of the sauce.




I also prepared some delicious Carrots as a side dish. I left some of the green tops on the carrots, split them in half and sautéed them ever so slightly in a mild olive oil and a bit of butter, together with freshly ground pepper, some sea salt and freshly squeezed orange juice. They were ready within minutes and were delicious together with the sauce and the rest of the dinner.




The cardamom pods had to make room for fresh whole Green Peppercorns (I always use the ones in brine that I will drain before using in my recipes) and I cut the oranges into slices and not into segments.




Overall, we adored the pork tenderloin with the spinach spaetzle, carrots, orange slices, pink peppercorns and the blood orange sauce – utterly delicious and perfect mid-winter fare.

The colors of our dinner were very bright - I believe this would make a perfect dinner for friends and whenever I see a recipe that lists oranges as one of the ingredients, I like to use my orange colored dinner plates and try to make an extra effort to decorate them in an appetizing manner. I won those plates at a cooking competition that, to put it mildly, was a bit on the exhausting side, and they are very dear to my heart.




To see how the other Doristas prepared the “Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin”, please click here.




38 comments:

  1. What a beautifully plated dish...it sounds wonderful. We occasionally get blood oranges and when I can find them I like to use them in a special dish. This sounds like a perfect dish to share with friends.

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    1. Karen, thank you very much - yes, I agree this would be nice to serve to some frineds, just have to make sure that the blood oranges will still be in season then.

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  2. Beautiful presentation. I love the blood oranges. Another great job!

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    1. Geraldine, I really appreciate your comment - just thought I would be a bit creative with this recipe.

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  3. What a beautiful and colorful meal. Looks delicious. And thanks for the reminder that I haven't had any blood oranges yet this year. Hopefully it's not too late.

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    1. Rose, color is what we need most at this time of the year. But it also tasted quite delicious - love the tartness that the blood oranges bring to this dish.

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  4. This is an absolutely beautiful dinner ... and I'm sure it tasted just as delicious as it looks.

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    1. Tammy, thank you, it was received well and we had no left-overs but very happy taste testers.

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  5. My goodness, what a beautiful meal! I wondered how this would work with blood oranges (my personal favorites too!), but I couldn't find any, so I had to make due with regular navel oranges. So nice to see that they worked well! And they certainly make for a stunning dish. Well done!

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    1. Sara, thank you for your lovely comment - bloog oranges are just some of the prettiest fruits I know and unfortunately their season is so short, so, while they are still available, I try to use them whenever I can.

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  6. Andrea - that is beautiful. The spaetzle and the pork and the oranges and carrots - wow!
    Blood oranges have been very hard to come by this year where I live - I love their color and their flavor. Such a pick me up in the middle of winter.

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    1. Cher, thanks so much - I loved the side-dish that you prepared, the veggies had a great color and looked so wonderful alongside the pork.

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  7. Love your presentation...it is beautiful. You created a fabulous meal from this pork dish that I'll bet tasted as good as it looks...oh I see I'm not the only one who said this to you. You've made a very good impression! Happy Valentines and "see" you soon!

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    1. Thank you, Kris, this dish seemed to be all about the colors, and the taste, too, but it is always important to try to bring some color into your life through food.

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  8. Just a stunning plate! The blood oranges are a gorgeous addition...and I love that you used brined peppercorns instead of cardamom. I think Bill would have approved of your interpretation :)

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    1. Liz, thanks so much - blood oranges, or "Moro" oranges, are just very photogenic but I was also lucky to get some really dark colored ones, they do not always have such a lovely burgundy color as the ones I found at my Italian market a few days ago.

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  9. I love the blood oranges. I am going to revisit this recipe with them, what a great idea. Your pictures are delicious.

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    1. Thank you so much - blood oranges are just the kinds of fruits that I always feel "compelled" to buy (in a good way, of course), they are rare, delicious and pretty and their season is short, so I grab them whenever I can.

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  10. Absolutely stunning photos, Andrea! What a great idea to use blood oranges in this dish. They are not only photogenic they are so very tasty. I am so glad that you enjoyed this one. The flavor combination was delicious. I hope you are having a great weekend!

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    1. Elaine, thank you for all the lovely comments - the pictures were fun to take - although it was cold outside and the sun peeked through the thick clouds for only a moment or so, the photos turned out nice - always such a rush to take decent pictures, if I keep posting so much, I need a small studio, soon!

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  11. Everything looks so inviting but those blood oranges really top it off. Beautiful job.

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    1. Thank you very much, Nana. I got lucky with the blood oranges this time - sometimes they are just plain orange without that burgundy color and except for the taste you cannot tell that they are actually blood oranges.

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  12. Your meal looks so delicious. Blood oranges (and some capers), sound like they would have added that something that mine was missing. Everything looks amazing!

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    1. Candy, thank you for the wonderful comment - oranges and capers go together so well but green peppercorns are lovely with this sauce as well (just a bit more on the spicy side).

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  13. What a beautiful meal, especially on your hard-won orange plates. Now that I've discovered spaetzle, spinach sounds wonderful. And the blood oranges are a lovely color contrast to the orange plates. Hope you are having a great weekend!

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    1. Betsy, the recipe for the Spinach Spaetzle is very simple, let me know if you would like to have it and the noodels have a bit of that earthy spinach taste to them that I really like.

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  14. I think, as one of the FFWD administrators, I am going to make a new rule, Andrea. Since you are a lawyer, you understand rules and this is it: You are required to make and post our FFWD recipes one week prior to the rest of us. If you had put up this Post a week ago, you would have saved me a whole lotta grief. If only I had not sliced my pork tenderloin prior to making this dish, I would have enjoyed it so much more. I din't mind, actually enjoyed, the citrus but would have liked more of a cardamon flavoring. Did you make that substitution because you didn't like that spice or for some other reason. Did you skip the onions? I really saw no reason for them. The carrots were so perfectly sliced. Your entire meal looks beautiful, delicious, creatively done and the photographs are wonderful. I especially like the second and third one. You should be very proud of this Post. I received the little girls' Valentines, packed them for my Aspen trip and will wait until the 14th to open them How fun. I hope you've all received mine. We are celebrating Presidents Week-end here, followed closely by Valentine's Day. I am enjoying very much reading all your Posts about your celebrations.

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    1. Mary, as one of the FFwD administrators, you have my approval on changing the rules - I will just have to adjust and put the posts together a week sooner than the others...no objection there...Cardamom is not appreciated by all in this house, so I changed it for that reason. Surprisingly, the kids love a bit of "heat" in their food, so the green peppercorns were well received (or just pushed to the rim of the plates). The onions were not used, just ignored because I do not like them in my orange sauces, too dominant. And the Valentines have not arrived yet - I will let you know as soon as I spy them in the mailbox!
      Thanks for the absolutely wonderful comments! Have a great weekend with as little "moving stress" as possible!

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    1. Alice, those blood oranges are wonderful, pretty and delicious, but, unfortunately, their season is so short, too short, so when I get a chance to use them in a savory dish or for baking, I certainly will.

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  16. Andrea - this is so beautiful. I just picked up some blood oranges from the farmers market this morning and am inspired to try this!

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    1. Christy, so nice to hear from you! And thank you very much for the lovely comment! Unfortunately, blood oranges have a rather short season. So I am trying to make the most of their short season and incorporate them in a few of my dishes. I really appreciate their "tartness" that they bring to cooking.

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  17. Beautiful! I tried out the bloods too but to not the same great effect as you did. For me, much better as a salad the next day. I'd almost make it again just to have as salad food for lunches during the week.

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    1. Trevor, salad sounds lovely - I love the combination of bright citrus and salad and I am sure that the orange pork was just wonderful as salad the following day.

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  18. I can tell how you won those plates at a cooking competition - that whole meal looks insanely yummy AND beautiful. You really did nail it by cooking the pork the way you did and managing to add the citrus and have it turn out a winner. My hubby is still saying how much he enjoyed this dish. Glad he didn't see your plate :) I can't get over it all- that spaetzle is to die for and those carrots...why don't I prepare them like this. Really hope my family doesn't see your post :)

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    1. Tricia, thank you so much for your lovely comment - the carrots are extremly simple to make, all you really need is a pretty sharp knife with a rather long blade, halve the carrots, sautée in oil and butter, saeson - that´s it. The spaetzle are a cinch as well, just add steamed and finely chopped fresh spinach to your favorite recipe. Carrots,spinach, oranges and pork really go together well.

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  19. Gorgeous use of colour and flavour! Blood oranges are so lovely. I appreciate how thoughtfully composed your meals are, Andrea. It's inspiring.

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    1. Teresa, blood oranges certainly are "lookers" and it is easy to present them in a nice way, they always seem to "look good" but I also got lucky this time because they had such an intensive, dark burgundy color which I really like.

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