PARTNER POST: Discover new ways to incorporate seasonal teas into your holiday cooking and desserts with Celestial Seasonings.
Easily entertain with a juicy pork tenderloin rubbed with cinnamon, garlic, and black tea and finished with a tea and shallot sauce.
You are having people over and you don’t know what to make, you want it to be easy, quick, and of course, delicious! Pork tenderloin is your solution.
Debbie and I would have never thought that tea would make a great pork tenderloin rub or sauce. But surprise! It does! It’s wonderful actually! And creates an incredible flavor that neither of us had ever had before. We made this pork tenderloin rub with tea for a small dinner and EVERYONE commented on how juicy and flavorful the pork was. We used Nutcracker Sweet tea from Celestial Seasonings. Its smooth with a nutty vanilla flavor and a touch of cinnamon. Its a beautiful fragrant tea that’s perfect for the holidays!
Pork tenderloin is such a great option for entertaining because it’s quick cooking and doesn’t require a lot of preparation, but its still impressive and will get you some serious accolades if you cook it well. Fortunately, it is easy to cook well as long as you follow a few important rules:
1. Marinate the meat in advance. The longer the better. Overnight is great!
2. Brown the meat in a hot pan on all sides before roasting. Use a heavy pan or cast iron if you have one.
3. Always use a meat thermometer while you are roasting the meat.
4. Let the meat rest (covered) for 10 mins after taking it out of the oven and before you slice it.
Number 3 is the most important. Tenderloin is easy to overcook because it cooks quickly and because it’s such a lean piece of meat. The perfect temperature to remove the meat from the oven is 141 F – 143 F. Remove the meat from the pan and place it on another plate (not the serving plate), cover it with foil or a lid and let it rest for 5 – 10 mins. The internal temperature will rise a bit while resting to bring it to 145 F which is the perfect temperature. After the meat rests, slice it, and transfer it to a serving platter. You don’t want to let it rest or slice it on what you are using to serve it because the juices will run all over it and that won’t look nice. You obviously want it to look pretty!
Make your gravy while the meat is resting. Don’t be worried about the gravy! It’s easy too! Once you take the meat out of the pan, you just throw the pan back on the stove, crank up the heat, add your shallots and garlic. While those cook, scrape up all the bits that are on the bottom of the pan (those parts have tons of flavor!), then add the liquids and seasonings and finally the butter that will make the sauce nice and silky. Then all you have to do, is cook the sauce until it reduces slightly and gets just a little thicker. Piece of cake! We suggest making your Nutcracker Sweet tea for the gravy before hand so you have it ready to go.
You will want to marinate the pork tenderloin the night before, which literally takes minutes. Then when your ready to cook it, you can brown your meat and start roasting it in the oven right before your guests arrive so you are free to greet your guests and have a cocktail while the meat is roasting. Then you will only need to be in the kitchen preparing the gravy for 10 to 15 mins while the meat rests and you dish up your sides.
Alternatively, if your guests are coming over earlier, say to have a couple drinks on the patio before dinner or your having a game night and dinner in between, you just need 5-10 mins or so to brown the meat and get it in the oven about 30 – 40 mins before you want to be eating dinner. Then you are free again while it all cooks.
Want to try another fun recipe for the season? Check out this Candy Cane Tea Chocolate Bark! Recipe here.
- 3 Nutcracker Sweet tea bags
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp coconut oil or another oil with a high smoke point
- 2 lb pork tenderloin
- 1½ cups water
- 2 bags Nutcracker Sweet tea (steep for 10 mins)
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ? cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp and 1 tsp coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 - 2 tbsp butter
- Open the three Nutcracker Sweet tea bags and empty into a mortar and pestal or a grinder. Add the rest of the ingredients and grind them all together until the mixture is well mixed and powdery. Rub the mixture all over the pork tenderloin till its covered completely. Cover the pork and place it in the fridge until you are ready to cook it.
- When you are ready to cook the tenderloin, take it out of the fridge about 45 mins before you want to cook it so it can come to room temperature. Close to the end of the 45 mins, turn your oven on and preheat to 350 F.
- Heat your cast iron pan or heavy skillet to med-high heat. Add the oil to the pan and when it is nice and hot, add the pork and cook, turning over every few mins, until the tenderloin is nicely browned on all sides. Then put your meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat and throw it in the oven.
- While the pork is cooking, make the tea for the sauce and get all the other ingredients ready for the sauce if you haven't already.
- When the internal temperature of the meat reaches 143 F, remove the meat from the oven and the cast iron pan and place on a plate or tray and cover with foil or a lid. Set aside. Leave any juices in the cooking pan.
- Place your pan back on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Add the shallots and garlic and cook those for a couple mins. Then add the tea, balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper and stir for a few mins while it simmers, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan.
- When the sauce has reduced slightly and has simmered for a few mins, add the knob of butter. Start with 1 tbsp and let it melt. Taste it and if its good, you are done. If you think it could use a little more silkiness add a little more at a time until it tastes good.
- When your happy with the sauce. Unveil the tenderloin and place it on a cutting board. (You could add any juices from the tenderloin back into your sauce and give it a stir) Slice it in ½ inch - 1 inch pieces and transfer to your serving platter. Pour the sauce over and serve!