Every so often I get on these kicks where everything I seem to make has the same ingredients. Last month, it just about everything I made had pumpkin. This month, it seems like everything I’ve made has had pecans in it. Well, not just pecans, but maple syrup, too. First it was this cake. Now it’s this pecan and herb crusted pork tenderloin. And it’s not the last pecan recipe you will see this month, either.
I have been trying to come up with some Fall recipes that could also double as a Thanksgiving turkey substitute. I know…no turkey on Thanksgiving is practically un-American. But 1) not everyone likes turkey, and 2) not everyone wants to commit to to making a turkey if they aren’t serving a dozen or more people.
Since my husband and I rarely travel home for Thanksgiving, this pecan and herb crusted pork is something I would make for just the two of us and still feel like we are having a hearty Thanksgiving meal. In fact, the crust itself smells just like Thanksgiving. It has all your those delicious Thanksgiving flavors you’d probably find in your favorite stuffing recipe: sage, thyme, rosemary, pecans….yum, right?
To get the pork nice and flavorful, I first, marinated it in a puree of the herbs, olive oil, garlic, and maple syrup. After the pork had rested overnight, I rolled it in some crushed up pecans. Since the pork was covered in the sticky herb pesto (thank you maple syrup!), the pecans stuck right to it.
Now all that was left was to roast the pork.
I placed the pork loins on a baking sheet and covered them with tin foil so that the pork stayed moist and the pecan crust wouldn’t burn. Since the pork took an hour or so to roast, I decided to use that time to multi-task and roast up a nice side of maple coated brussels sprouts. Why not put maple syrup on everything?
This pork recipe lived up to every expectation. I didn’t even miss the turkey. Sorry, turkey…you’ve been replaced. What I love about the pork is that it stays so much more moist than turkey, and this particular recipe had so much flavor! Sometimes I am disappointed with my Thanksgiving turkey because not only is it dry, but it’s kind of bland. Which is why I make sure to have a bite of stuffing along with every bite of turkey. But this pork is practically coated in all the flavors in stuffing….and….it’s actually pretty healthy!
And if you are like me, that means you can have an extra helping of pie later.
PIN NOW, MAKE LATER
- 1-1 1/2 pounds boneless pork tenderloin
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
- 1/2 tbsp fresh sage, roughly chopped
- 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 glove of garlic, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup shelled pecans, finely crushed
- In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the olive oil, maple syrup, rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper until it forms a thick paste. Add more olive oil if the processor is having trouble processing it. Rub the paste over the pork tenderloin, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Scatter crushed pecans on a plate or cutting board, and roll unwrapped pork tenderloin in the pecans, pressing them into pork if they don't stick right away. Place the pork on a baking sheet and loosely cover the pork with tin foil.
- Roast for 30 minutes; then lower the heat to 350 degrees and continue to roast for another 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to roast until pork reaches an internal temperature of 150-165 degrees, depending on how you like your pork cooked. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then slice and serve immediately.