This quick Weeknight Winner® of pork tenderloins with coriander and fennel (along with amazing caramelized cabbage) pack a wallop of flavor. But best of all, it’s quick. Like less than an hour from fridge to fork.
Pork may be the other white meat, but in our house, it’s anything but “other.” The One and I are devotees of pork, especially pork tenderloin. It’s tender (duh, it’s in the name!) and it cooks quickly. And when we’re hangry, which is most of the time, we don’t feel like sitting around all Sunday for a pork shoulder to slowly fall apart in the pot.
What’s wonderful about David Kinch’s pork tenderloins with coriander and fennel is that it’s packed with wallops of flavor, it’s wicked cheap, and goes from fridge to table in less than an hour. So, come to papa!!–David Leite
Pork Tenderloins with Coriander and Fennel FAQs
Toasting whole spice releases the spices’ complex aromas and oils, resulting in rounder and fuller flavors.
Because there’s no acid in the marinade, you can go as long as 48 hours. Anything longer, and you’ll start to get diminishing returns.
Absolutely not! Pork produced in the U.S. is free of trichinosis, which gave pork a bad rap for so many years. By cooking the tenderloins to no more than 145°F (63°C) and letting them rest, the temperature of the meat will continue to rise. By the time you’re ready to serve, you’ll have perfectly cooked pork that’s delicious and juicy!
Pork Tenderloins with Coriander and Fennel
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- Two (1-pound) pork tenderloins
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 small (2 lbs) head green cabbage
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- In a small skillet over low heat, lightly toast the fennel and coriander, tossing constantly, until they take on some color and become fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
- Rub the tenderloins with olive oil, then roll them in the spices to coat on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or better yet, overnight.
- Remove the tenderloins from the refrigerator and let them sit for 45 minutes to bring them to room temperature before roasting.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and slice it in half. Leaving the core intact, slice each half lengthwise into 1-inch-wide (25-mm) planks.
- In a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle the tenderloins with a couple generous pinches of salt. Sear, turning occasionally, until they’ve browned on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the pork is cooked to medium (about 145°F or 63°C), 10 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate, then cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a skillet large enough to hold the cabbage in a single layer, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, turn the heat to low and add the cabbage in one layer. Add the thyme, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cover and let the cabbage caramelize without nudging until the pieces are soft and nicely browned, 20 to 30 minutes. Carefully flip the cabbage onto a serving plate to expose the browned side.
- To serve, cut the pork horizontally into 3/4 inch (18 mm) wide slices and arrange next to the cabbage, pouring any juices that have pooled over the top.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
The flavors of these pork tenderloins with coriander and fennel will be very familiar to those that have ever had porchetta roast. This pork tenderloin is the perfect fall meal and was a simple yet tasty recipe. Caramelizing the slices of cabbage in butter made the perfect accompaniment to the meat.
Once you have the correct spices, it’s easily a no-fuss satisfying family meal that isn’t too time-consuming. When I make this again, I would just oil the meat and roll it in the spices and then cook it, without any marinating time. Tenderloin is so lean, that I believe the spices do not permeate the meat enough to warrant any extra time. The flavor comes through in every bite, because the exterior of the meat is well covered in spices. My dinner guests loved the flavors and the accompanying caramelized cabbage planks.
I served the pork with a combination of roasted white and sweet potatoes which completed this fall themed dinner. As the recipe states, be careful not to overcook the tenderloin, so keep an eye on the thermometer.
I was a bit hesitant, not being a huge fennel fan-or should I say licorice, but the combination of it with the coriander and black pepper made these pork tenderloins with coriander and fennel a bit unique. Of course, toasting the spices prior to grinding is a must, and the mortar and pestle was all that was needed. With more and more people decreasing meat intake, I was happy to entertain friends who have no problem indulging!
While the tenderloin was yummy, juicy, and flavorful, what put this preparation over the top and deserving of a TC rating, however, was the cabbage. Kudos to the oft-forgotten cabbage, now the star of this dish! Melt in your mouth delicious, it brought this pork tenderloin presentation to new heights.
Originally published December 17, 2021