There’s no doubt that adding time and love as main ingredients to your recipes make a noticeable difference in the way food looks and tastes. But sometimes you just need to get it done quickly, you know? You’re home late from work, there’s a pile of fresh vegetables and a piece of stubbornly uncooked meat waiting with a metaphorically raised eyebrow for you as you stare into the fridge. “Whatcha got, boy? You really think you can pull this off again? There’s the number for the pizza place on the fridge…”. You know you want to put something delicious together, something light and fresh and juicy and homemade, something that will make you remember why you like cooking so much.
That’s why this Pork Tenderloin with Greek Veggies recipe focuses on cheating. When you don’t have enough time, but you don’t want to eat a bowl of Chex or a piece of toast – this one will come through for you. It’s got everything – crisp veggies, light but deeply flavorful seasonings, meat with a perfect caramelized crust, and a punch of tangy garlic to round out the plate. And it has a bunch of shortcuts that let you look (and eat) like you had all the time in the world to make it. There’s just one item – the pork rub – that requires about 45 seconds of advance planning, so make time for that on the morning of the day you know is gonna run late, and you’ll be fine.
Pork Tenderloin with Greek Veggies
For the pork tenderloin:
- 1 whole pork tenderloin (usually about 1 lb.), with the “silver” removed. That’s the shiny membrane that sometimes is still on the outside of this piece of muscle – it pulls off very easily.
- 2 tsp. Club House One Step Greek Seasoning (a.k.a. Cheat Number One)
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar (a.k.a. Cheat Number Two)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
For the vegetables:
- 1 medium Beauregard yam (or sweet potato), peeled and diced into 1 cm chunks
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-cm chunks
- ½ medium onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. Club House One Step Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Seasoning (a.k.a. Cheat Number Three)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4-5 tbsp. Kraft Calorie-Wise Feta and Greek Salad Dressing (a.k.a. Cheat Number Four)
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1-2 Tbsp. store-bought Tzatziki sauce, per serving (a.k.a. Cheat Number Five)
- In the morning – put the brown sugar into a glass or ceramic flat-bottom dish, arranging it so that all of it touches the meat when you lay it in there.
- Press the tenderloin onto the brown sugar, firmly.
- Season the top of the tenderloin with the Greek seasoning and the pepper. Press down firmly to mash it into the meat.
- (This combines two cheats – you get the full spectrum of Greek flavor from this great seasoning, instead of mucking around with 6-10 individual spices. And – the brown sugar underneath guarantees a fantastic, golden-brown caramelized crust you would otherwise have to wait a good 4-6 hours for on a slow barbecue.)
- Cover the dish and put the tenderloin in the fridge to let the meat suck up the rub while you are off at work.
- When you get back, preheat your oven to 425 Fahrenheit.
- Peel and cut up all the veggies, except the garlic, putting the sweet potatoes and onions into one bowl, and the bell pepper and zucchini in another.
- Put 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. The meat will look lonely in this vast pan, but you need a big one for the veggies, and it’s nice to get the browny bits from the pork into the mix.
- When the oil is hot (but not smoking yet) place the tenderloin in the pan – brown sugar side down. Carefully pour any leftover liquid from your marinating dish over the top of the meat.
- Brown this side of the tenderloin for about 3-4 minutes, checking underneath occasionally to ensure it does not burn. If it colors up nicely in a couple of minutes, no worries – this meat finishes up in the oven. You’re just colorizing and caramelizing the outside.
- Turn the meat over, and brown the other side. Careful – these spices burn faster than the sugar side, so keep an eye on it. It should take 3 minutes or so.
- Put the tenderloin in an oven-proof dish. If you have a meat thermometer, stick the probe into the thickest part of the meat. If you don’t have one, think about getting one. It’s the best cheat of all, because there is never any doubt about when your meat is well and safely done – no more dry pork, ever!
- Put the tenderloin in the oven.
- In the same pan, add the sweet potato and onions. Sautee them until the veggies start to brown, and the sweet potatoes start to soften – probably about 5 minutes.
- Mince two cloves of garlic into the pan, and stir to sautee. If you don’t have a garlic press, think about getting one. Minced garlic from a jar is OK, but not as good as the freshly-squished stuff.
- Add a tablespoon of butter. (Those potatoes tend to suck up the bit of oil that the meat left behind…)
- Add the zucchini and peppers. Sautee, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is softer, but still has some backbone to it. You don’t want to let it go mushy.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Add the Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper seasoning, and the salad dressing. Again – someone who loves you (in a general sense) went to the trouble of carefully combining a dozen ingredients to produce a spectrum of flavors so you don’t have to – this combination gives all the sweetness, saltiness, acid, and oregano-ness good Greek food needs, in two easy cheating shots.
- Miraculously, the meat thermometer will start beeping once your zucchini is ready to eat. The dish is ready to plate!
- Slice up the tenderloin in ¼” slices, give half of the tenderloin slices to each person, and add as many vegetables as you want. Add a healthy dollop of Tzatziki. You could make your own, with Greek yogurt, fresh garlic, and cucumbers – but why? The cheating version works just as well. Serve, and enjoy.
This recipe makes enough for two, with vegetables left over that you could put next to fried eggs, or in an omelette at breakfast tomorrow, if you want to delight someone a second time.