April 30, 2015

Bourbon and Apricot Pork Tenderloin and Quinoa Salad with Spring Mix

I've been seeing and hearing a lot of things lately about the Kentucky Derby. I may not know this year's horses, jockeys, or any specifics, but... you say Derby... I say bourbon. 

This Bourbon and Apricot Pork Tenderloin would make a wonderful main dish for a Kentucky Derby party, your next grill night... or whenever you feel like having pork! If you cook the marinade after you're done bathing your meat, it makes a delicious sauce- perfect if you're pairing your tenderloin with mashed potatoes and (grilled) vegetables. I chose a lighter side this time, so I cooked and saved my marinade/sauce for another time. 

Quinoa tossed with a few fresh veggies and a simple vinaigrette, and served over a bed of mixed greens made a delicious and spring-light side. 

Overall, this meal is definitely a winner!! (We were even inspired to experiment with some bourbon cocktails for the upcoming race!)

Bourbon and Apricot Pork Tenderloin

Serves 4

1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
1 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaf
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Place pork tenderloin in gallon-sized ziploc bag. In separate bowl, mix together all marinade ingredients. Pour marinade over tenderloin in bag, seal bag and gently mix/massage to cover. Place in refrigerator for 2 1/2 hours; 30 minutes before cooking, take tenderloin out of refrigerator, and let sit in marinade at room temperature. 
Set oven to 350 degrees, and heat oven-proof skillet on stove over medium-high heat. Add extra-virgin coconut oil to pan (or canola/vegetable oil) to lightly coat bottom of pan. Place tenderloin in pan, and brown on all sides (about 3-4 minutes each side). Once browned, transfer pan to oven, and bake about 10-12 minutes until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes. (This will allow all the juices to redistribute, and continue cooking the meat.) Slice and serve. 
If you choose to cook the marinade, while tenderloin is in oven, pour marinade into small saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce and allow to simmer until meat is sliced and ready to eat. Drizzle sauce over meat, and serve. 

Quinoa Salad with Spring Mix

3 cups cooked and cooled Quinoa
1 stalk celery, diced
2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup diced carrot
2 cups English Cucumber, diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup good (flavored) balsamic (I used cucumber-melon)
pinch of salt and pepper, to taste
a few handfuls of spring mix, to serve

Toss veggies and quinoa together. In separate bowl, whisk together balsamic and olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour desire amount of vinaigrette over quinoa and stir to combine. (You will likely have leftovers.) To serve: place handful of Spring Mix on plate, and top with quinoa salad. 


Notes on these recipes: If you have the good weather, and the desire, you can absolutely grill this tenderloin! I did have some extra quinoa salad, which made for an awesome lunch the next day. I used Cucumber-Melon "Gourmet Balsamic" found at a local oil/vinegar shoppe. Any high-quality balsamic or perhaps a balsamic syrup would work well!

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