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A sweet, citrusy crackle sets this tenderloin apart
Milk Street Bowtie Caramelized Pork with Orange and Sage

Caramelized Pork with Orange and Sage

Appears in May-June 2017

25 minutes

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Caramelized Pork with Orange and Sage

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Looking for a way to add flavor to all-too-often utilitarian pork tenderloin, we drew inspiration from Francis Mallmann, the Argentine chef best known for pushing the limits of browning—using live fire to cook vegetables, meat and fruit until they're almost burnt. Mallmann tops pork tenderloin with brown sugar, thyme and a fruity orange confit tinged by bay leaves and black peppercorns. The flavorful coating is seared onto the surface in a cast-iron griddle until the orange and thyme are crispy and charred. We loved the flavors, but the technique wasn’t home cook friendly. To simplify and preserve the flavors, we started by streamlining the orange confit: Orange zest and fresh sage, coarsely chopped, gave a similar texture and fragrance. Gently pounding the tenderloin ensured a flat surface for a sugar mixture to adhere. Instead of searing the pork, we opted to broil it, making it easier to maintain the topping. Brown sugar became a sticky mess under the broiler, so we used coarse turbinado sugar, which kept its shape and crunch. If the sugar gets too dark before the meat comes to temperature, turn off the oven; the pork will finish cooking in the residual heat.

6

Servings

Tip

Don't tent the pork with foil after removing it from the oven. It will lose its candy-like crust. For the same reason, don't spoon the sauce over it. Instead, serve the pork set over pools of sauce on individual plates.

25 minutes

2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed, cut into 6 pieces
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
3 strips orange zest, chopped (1 tablespoon), plus ½ cup orange juice (1 to 2 oranges)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, divided
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Ingredients
  • 2

    pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed, cut into 6 pieces

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • ½

    cup turbinado sugar

  • 3

    strips orange zest, chopped (1 tablespoon), plus ½ cup orange juice (1 to 2 oranges)

  • 2

    tablespoons chopped fresh sage, divided

  • ¼

    teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 2

    tablespoons olive oil

  • 2

    tablespoons cider vinegar

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Caramelized Pork with Orange and Sage

Get Ready to Cook

6

Servings

25 minutes

Tip

Don't tent the pork with foil after removing it from the oven. It will lose its candy-like crust. For the same reason, don't spoon the sauce over it. Instead, serve the pork set over pools of sauce on individual plates.

Ingredients
  • 2

    pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed, cut into 6 pieces

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • ½

    cup turbinado sugar

  • 3

    strips orange zest, chopped (1 tablespoon), plus ½ cup orange juice (1 to 2 oranges)

  • 2

    tablespoons chopped fresh sage, divided

  • ¼

    teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 2

    tablespoons olive oil

  • 2

    tablespoons cider vinegar

Step 1 of 3

Flatten the pork and prepare the sugar mixture

2
pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed, cut into 6 pieces
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
½
cup turbinado sugar
3
strips orange zest, chopped (1 tablespoon)
1
tablespoon chopped fresh sage
¼
teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat the broiler to high with a rack 6 inches from the element. Pat the pork dry, then use a meat mallet or a small heavy skillet to gently flatten the pieces to an even 1-inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, use your fingers to rub together the sugar, orange zest, 1 tablespoon of the sage and the cayenne. Set aside.

Step 2 of 3

Heat the oil, and brown the pork

2
tablespoons olive oil

In a 12-inch broiler-safe skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until just beginning to smoke. Add the pork and cook until deep golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes.


Transfer the pork browned side up to large plate; reserve the skillet. Use your hands to press the sugar mixture onto the tops of the pork pieces in even layer. Return to the skillet, sugar side up.


Set under the broiler until the meat registers 135ºF at the center and the sugar mixture is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Transfer to a carving board and let rest.

Step 3 of 3
½
cup orange juice (1 to 2 oranges)
1
tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2
tablespoons cider vinegar

Meanwhile, return the skillet to medium-high heat on the stovetop. Add the orange juice and remaining 1 tablespoon of sage and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the sauce is syrupy, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the vinegar. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve the pork over the sauce.

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