Remember how I went to Iowa a few weeks ago? Well, on the last day, we all got to get in the kitchen and cook lunch together! It was a BLAST… we were led by Chef Terri Kohl (from the Country Club Market), who divided us up into teams and we each made one of her dishes. I’m pretty sure everyone’s FAVORITE was the Maple Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary Cherry Sauce! It was SO. STINKING. GOOD.

I KNEW I had to re-create it when I got home… so I did!

Turns out I’m not the only one… the lovely Ali of Gimme Some Oven did a re-creation of the dish as well! Hah (Great minds think alike!) If you haven’t been to her blog you should go check it out – she’s fabulous and beautiful and sweet as can be!!! You’ll LOVE her.

Anyhow, the kicker for this dish was the SAUCE! OH. EM. GEE.

There is just something about that salty/sweet/tangy/savory thing going on in there. The dried cherries plump up when cooked in the sauce and are the juiciest most delicious bites of goodness!

A few changes I made to the recipe:

  • The original calls for wrapping the pork tenderloin in bacon (I simplified the process and just cooked in up in pieces and added it to the sauce at the end).
  • I marinated the pork in a maple dijon mixture
  • I substituted balsamic vinegar for the red wine vinegar for a little extra depth
  • I MAY have added some extra cherries!
Ya’ll HAVE to make this. It’s such a great fall dish (good for any holiday party!). It’s super simple but looks and tastes WAY impressive. This got 2 thumbs up and a “This is the best pork I’ve EVER eaten in my life” from the hubs!
Those are some fightin’ words.

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Maple Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary Cherry Pan Sauce

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25-40 minutes

Total Time: 45-60 minutes

A wonderful dish for a fall/winter party. Impress your guests with this herby/sweet/and savory sauce! Not a big fan of pork? Substitute chicken or turkey!

Ingredients:

For the Maple Pork Tenderloin:
2 1/2 pound pork tenderloin (1 large one or 2 smaller ones)
2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the Rosemary Cherry Pan Sauce:
1/2 pound bacon, but into roughly 1"x1" pieces
1 small red onion, about 1 cup thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dried cherries
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon balsamic (or red wine) vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions:

For the Maple Pork Tenderloin:
Add the Pork Tenderloin, maple syrup, dijon, salt & pepper to a large ziplock bag. Seal the bag and push the mixture around until it's well combined and the pork is well coated. Allow pork to marinade for at least 30 minutes (you can do this the morning of and refrigerate until ready to use - just pull the pork out and let it rest at room temperature for 30-45 minutes before cooking).

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When it's good and hot, add the pork tenderloin (it'll sizzle). Brown on all four sides. This should only take a few minutes on each side. Place on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145ºF (12-18 minutes). Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

For the Rosemary Cherry Pan Sauce:
While the pork is cooking in the oven, add the bacon to the pan you cooked the pork in. Cook until nice and crispy! Using a slotted spoon, remove crispy bacon pieces to a paper towel lined plate (leaving the bacon drippings in the pan). Add the onions and saute for 5-7 minutes (will soften and begin to get golden). Next, add the garlic, cherries, and rosemary and saute, stirring constantly, for another 30-45 seconds. Carefully pour in the chicken stock, turn heat up to high, and bring to a boil.

While the mixture is heating up, whisk together the balsamic and cornstarch. When sauce comes to a boil, whisk in the cornstarch slurry and continue to simmer until it thickens (about 1 minute). Remove from heat, taste and season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Serve sauce over sliced pork.

Recipe Adapted (with permission) from Chef Terrie Kohl