Pork tenderloin, also known as pork fillet, is the leanest, most tender part of the pork loin, a long narrow cut of meat that comes from the muscle running along the backbone of the animal. Because this muscle is used for posture, rather than movement, the tenderloin is prized as the most tender cut of pork, and is sometimes referred to as the Gentleman’s Cut.
Tenderloin is sometimes confused with pork loin, but pork loin is actually a larger cut, of which the tenderloin is only a small part. The remainder of the pork loin will be somewhat tougher than the tenderloin, so if you’re following a tenderloin recipe, using pork loin won’t give quite the same results. The two are very different in appearance - pork loin is a wide, flat cut, much larger than tenderloin, and white in colour due to its higher fat content. Tenderloin, on the other hand, is smaller and pinkish-red in colour.
Pork tenderloin is often cut into medallions, which are oval shaped steaks, made even more tender by trimming away excess fat. To make pork tenderloin medallions, trim any fat and silver skin from the tenderloin and cut crosswise into 1½ inch steaks.
Thanks to their relatively low-fat content, pork tenderloin medallions are one of the healthiest ways to enjoy red meat. They are also a good source of protein, B vitamins, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Of course, the fat content of a dish depends on how you prepare it, and if you’re making breaded medallions or adding a rich sauce, your dish won’t be as healthy as a quick pan-sear with a side of grilled vegetables.
Pork tenderloin medallions are a versatile cut of meat, suitable for a range of different occasions. Their deliciously tender texture makes them perfect for a special dinner, but because they require short cooking times, they are quick and easy to prepare, making them an excellent choice for weeknight dinners, too. Plus, pork tenderloin tends to be less expensive than beef tenderloin, so you can treat yourself to a great cut of meat without breaking the bank.
Pork Tenderloin Medallions - 4 Ways of Cooking Them
There are so many ways to enjoy pork tenderloin medallions, whether you’re looking for simple, healthy, pan-seared meat, or you want to treat yourself with a rich, decadent sauce. We’ve chosen just a few of our favourite recipes from around the Web.
Our first recipe is a quick and easy classic. If you’ve never cooked a pork medallions dish before, this simple recipe for pan-seared pork tenderloin medallions, from Cooking Light, is a great place to start. The medallions are cooked in a drop of canola oil seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic, giving them a deliciously crispy pan-seared coating. Even better, this recipe is surprisingly lean, with just 149 calories and 6.4g of fat per serving. Serve with grilled vegetables or a healthy side salad.
Our next choice is a less healthy weeknight dinner and a more decadent dinner party treat. This creamy pork tenderloin medallions recipe from Salt and Lavender packs flavour into every bite and is sure to delight your guests at any celebration. Melt-in-the-mouth medallions are given a dusting of flour for an extra crispy pan-seared coating, then served with a rich sauce of cream, chicken broth, mustard and herbs.
We love this recipe for easy pork medallions with a maple and balsamic sauce, courtesy of The Wanderlust Kitchen, for the sympathetic way the sticky maple sauce is used to enhance the delicate flavour of the tenderloin. Pork meat is known for having a slightly sweet flavour, which the maple syrup and balsamic vinegar bring out beautifully, while mustard, a classic accompaniment for pork, is another key ingredient. Again, this recipe couldn’t be simpler to make, and it’s actually surprisingly low in calories, too, with just 253 per serving. 14g of sugar is a little on the high side, though, so take it easy with sweet foods for the rest of the day.
This delicious recipe for pork medallions with lemon garlic sauce by Rachel Cooks is an instant classic. Elegant but so simple to make, it can be adapted for both weekday meals and entertaining. Succulent pork tenderloin medallions are dusted with flour and pan-seared for the ultimate crispy coating and served with a rich, savoury sauce of white wine and chicken broth seasoned with aromatics like garlic, shallots and lemon zest.
Another recipe with a beautifully-flavoured sauce, our recipe for pork chops in mushroom marsala sauce uses the chops instead of tenderloin for a greater intensity of flavour. A reduction of sweet Marsala wine brings out the sweetness of the pork, while the earthiness of well-cooked mushrooms complements the meatiness of the dish.
For a professional-looking dish to serve your dinner guests, try our recipe for Pork Chops Stuffed with Mushrooms and Thyme. A perfectly-cooked pork chop, filled with a savoury stuffing of mushrooms, thyme, onion and garlic, this tasty supper dish is simple but very effective.
On those days when you need something quick, tasty and filling to feed your family, look no further than our no-fuss recipe for pork stir fry with egg fried rice. Strips of pork, stir-fried with crunchy vegetables and seasoned with classic Asian flavours like soy, teriyaki and ginger - all ready in 20 minutes.
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