Primalized Pan-Seared Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cherry-Port Sauce with Quince Paste

Yeah, the title is a mouthful.  But it tells you just what to expect; a flavor-packed hunk of meat. I modified a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook to make the recipe more primal and subbing in some ingredients that I had on hand. I couldn’t stop “mmmm’ing” the whole way through my delightful meal.  I hope that you find the same experience for yourself! For a veggie side I made roasted, cubed butternut squash that I started roasting a half-hour before starting the pork.

(Please note: this is not 100% primal with the port and quince paste being in the pan sauce.)


2 12 to 16 oz pork tenderloins, preferably fat-capped

1 1/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp pepper

1 tbsp coconut oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil, set aside. Sprinkle tenderloins with salt & pepper, rub seasoning into the meat. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat until oil has tiny bubbles. Place both tenderloins in skillet; cook until well browned on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove pan from heat and tenderloins from pan to foil-lined baking sheet and place in oven on middle rack. (Start pan sauce while pork roasts). Roast for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, until internal temperature registers 145 degrees F.

Transfer tenderloins to cutting board and tent loosely with aluminum foil; let rest 10 minutes. Cut tenderloins crosswise into 1/2″ thick slices, arrange on serving platter and spoon pan sauce over meat and serve.


1 tsp coconut oil

1 large leek, sliced into 1/2″ thick slices

3/4 cup port

3/4 cup dried cherries (no sugar)

2 tbsp quince paste

3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces

Salt & pepper

After pork tenderloins have been put into the oven, add coconut oil and leek slices to skillet and sauté over medium heat. You may need to add a touch of water if pork bits are still sticking to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until leeks are soft.  Set skillet aside until pork comes out of the oven.

While pork is resting, return skillet to medium-high heat and add port and cherries, simmer, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen an browned bits.  Simmer until sauce is slightly thickened. Add any accumulated pork juices from cutting board, continue simmering until again slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.  Off heat, whisk in quince paste and butter, one piece at a time.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Spoon sauce over plated tenderloin medallions.


1 butternut squash, peeled & cubed into 1/2″ cubes

1 – 2 tbsp olive oil

Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Trim both ends of butternut squash. Cut squash in half lengthwise, de-seed and peel.  Cut into cubes and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Turn mixture until cubes are well coated with oil and seasoning. Transfer to a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet. Spread cubes evenly on baking sheet, ideally there is a little bit of space between most of the cubes.

Bake for 30 minutes, pull pan from oven and using spatula, turn cubes.  Rearrange so that they are evenly spread out on sheet pan. I like my squash a little crunchy/crispy on the outside and tender on the inside so I cooked mine for an additional 30 minutes. Keep checking your cubes after 45 minutes for your preferred doneness. 

(Once I was done with my meal, I was reflecting on the flavors.  The pan sauce tasted really good on the butternut cubes but I overdid it by pouring some of the sauce onto the cubes in addition to the pork.  I think next time I’ll mince some fresh thyme or make an olive oil mixture with dried thyme while the cubes are roasting and add the fresh herb or oil mixture to the cubes just as they are coming out of the oven.  The thyme would pair extremely well with the pork and cherry/port/quince flavors of the sauce.)


2 responses to “Primalized Pan-Seared Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cherry-Port Sauce with Quince Paste

  1. This looks so yummy … thanks for sharing your recipe! Here’s my new favourite way to make pork tenderloin:

  2. Dang, grape jelly & sriracha??? I’m going to have to try that one, it sounds so interesting!

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