Friday, October 23, 2009

Pork Tenderloin with Orange Marmalade

Like most people who cook a lot our refrigerator contains dozens of condiments, everything from the mundane--mustard and ketchup--to the exotic--chutneys and chili sauces. Little jars sometimes get lost in the shuffle and go unused for months if, ugh, not years. I was cleaning out the fridge this week and unearthed a jar of marmalade that I couldn't remember when I bought so I figured it was time to use it or toss it.

Even though I’m of English decent, I only eat marmalade in one recipe—baked pork tenderloin with grainy mustard and marmalade. The salty and sweet flavors add punch and panache to pork tenderloin.

This recipe comes from of all places a diet cookbook called the T-Factor Diet. We gave up on fad diets years ago and learned to focus on portion control and lowering fat content (thank you Weight Watchers), but we’ve kept the cookbooks because they often have tasty, low-fat recipes like this one.

We usually serve this pork with couscous, which is my favorite five-minute side dish, but Jeff wanted to make spaetzle, so we served it with mustard spaetzle (see recipe below). Making spaetzle is about on par with making homemade pasta. If you’ve never eaten spaetzle (which loosely translates to “little sparrows” in German) they taste a bit like tiny gnocchis (although they’re made with flour not potatoes). Spaetzle is a delightful change of pace from potatoes, rice or couscous, but it is not a weeknight endeavor.
Pork Tenderloin with Orange Marmalade

Serves 4
1 pork tenderloin (1 pound)
2 tbls, grainy, coarse mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp. rosemary, minced
Pinch of black pepper
½ cup orange marmalade
½ cup water
¼ cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Make a cut lengthwise down the center about half through the pork tenderloin.
In a small bowl mix together mustard, garlic, rosemary and black pepper. Spread mixture along the cut surface of the tenderloin.  Reshape and tie in several places.

Place on a rack above a roasting pan. Brush with 2 tbls. of marmalade. Add water to pan. Bake in oven for 40 minutes (until internal temperature of meat reaches 160 degrees).
Mix together remaining orange marmalade with chicken stock in a small saucepan. Simmer 3-5 minutes until thickened. Spoon sauce over sliced tenderloin and serve immediately.

Mustard Spaetzle
Serves 4-6
4 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ low-fat milk
3 tbls. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried mustard
¼ tsp. dried nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1 tbls. snipped chives
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbls. butter, optional

Bring large pot of salted water to boil.
Beat eggs and next five ingredients together. Add the flour and mix until a sticky batter forms.
Press batter through a spaetzle maker or colander. Below are two different kinds of spaetzle makers. They're inexpensive and work much better than a colander.

Cook spaetzle for 1-2 minutes until it floats. Carefully remove with wire slotted spoon. If you're not making a dish that has a sauce, sauté the spaetzle in butter for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned (this is how it is often served in Germany, but in my opinion spaetzle is better with a sauce).

Tips and Tidbits
The pork tenderloin does not reheat well, so if we’re making this just for ourselves, I’ll get a 1 lb. pork tenderloin and freeze half of it. I don’t bother reducing the rest of the ingredients by half, there’s so few additional calories I just make the recipe as directed.
Put whatever you're making the spaetzle with into a sink of hot, soapy water immediately after you've used up the last of the batter. Let soak while you're eating dinner to make for an easy clean up.


  1. I love Pork Tenderloin and have marmalade that needs to be appreciated somehow - this sounds fantastic - I'm gonna try this recipe this weekend!

  2. Every one of the recipes you've shared have been wonderful! The Tuscan chicken will be one of my new favorites..and I can't wait to try them all. I"m working down the list and have a Maggie & Jeff file. Thank you, both, for sharing such great treats! Cheryl

  3. My mom makes this exact same tenderloin recipe and I never knew where she got it from. She always said that it was from some diet program. I was craving it today and was searching the internet for this dish, thank you so much for having it on your blog, I'll be making tonight!

  4. I'm so glad you found our blog and this recipe you were craving. I often tweak recipes but this is exactly the same one as in the cookbook; it didn't need any improving. It is one of our go-too recipes especially in the fall. Let me know what you think of it! Cheers, Maggie