Bourbon, Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin, as its name implies, is very tender, but often bland.  To enhance the flavor of the tenderloin, coat it with a shiny glaze. Coating the tenderloins in cornstarch and sugar before searing helps create a rough surface for the first coat of glaze to cling to.  Brush the roast four times with the glaze before serving building up a thick, shellacked glaze atop the roast.
from: America's Test Kitchen
Serves 6

The pork tenderloins may not fit in the skillet initially- it’s OK to let them curve up the edges of the pan slightly. As they cook, they will shrink and start to fit better. Make sure that the tenderloins acquire a deep golden brown hue in step 2 or they will appear pale after glazing. My preference is to use grade B maple syrup. Don’t be tempted to substitute imitation maple syrups they are too sweet. Be sure to thoroughly pat off cornstarch mixture in step 1, any excess will leave gummy spots.

3/4 cup maple syrup (Separated into ½ cup and ¼ cup)
1/4 cup light or mild molasses
2 tablespoons bourbon or brandy
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch cayenne pepper

1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon table salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 pork tenderloins (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds each)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Stir 1/2 cup maple syrup, molasses, bourbon, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne together in 2-cup liquid measure; set aside. Whisk cornstarch, sugar, salt, and pepper in small bowl until combined. Transfer cornstarch mixture to rimmed baking sheet. Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels, then roll in cornstarch mixture until evenly coated on all sides. Thoroughly pat off excess cornstarch mixture.

2. Heat oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Reduce heat to medium, and place both tenderloins in skillet leaving at least 1-inch of space between. Cook until well-browned on four sides, 8 to 12 minutes total (it first side is not browned after 3 minutes increase heat to medium-high. Transfer tenderloins to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.

3. Pour excess fat from skillet and return to medium-high heat. Add syrup mixture to skillet, scraping up browned bits with wooden spoon and cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer 2 tablespoons glaze to small bowl and set aside. Using remaining glaze, brush each tenderloin with approximately 1 tablespoon of glaze. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of tenderloin registers 130 degrees, 14 to 22 minutes. Brush each roast with another tablespoon glaze and continue to roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of tenderloin registers 135 degrees, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Remove tenderloins from oven and brush each with remaining glaze; let rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

4. While roasts rest, stir remaining 1/4 cup maple syrup and mustard into reserved 2 tablespoons glaze. Brush each tenderloin with 1 tablespoon of this glaze, transfer to cutting board, and slice into 1/4-inch-thick pieces. Serve, with extra glaze table-side.

Dinner Combination: glazed pork tenderloin, spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette, and oven-roasted butternut squash.

Original recipe from America's Test Kitchen (recipe tester)


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