A quick, easy and delicious pork tenderloin recipe, with an peppercorn gravy pan sauce. A great weeknight dinner, but special enough for company.
If you are looking for a quick and easy pork tenderloin recipe that's also delicious, look no further than this Pork Tenderloin with Peppercorn Gravy. With a simple list of ingredients, this meal ticks all the boxes for a weeknight meal! Easy. Fast. Delicious.
The delicious peppercorn gravy pairs perfectly with mashed or roasted potatoes. Add a green vegetable to complete the meal.
Pork Tenderloin - pork tenderloin is one of my favourite cuts of meat. It cooks quickly and is always moist. You'll sometimes find it labelled as "pork filet". By any name, it's the long, skinny cut of pork, often a foot or so long and about 2 inches in diameter.
Be sure to remove the silver skin before using. That is the silver patches of fat on the outside of the pork. The silver skin is not only tough, but it contracts as the pork cooks, resulting in your pork tenderloin cooking unevenly. Simply insert the tip of a sharp knife between the silver skin and the meat and cut off, being sure to always cut away from yourself.
Peppercorns - you can use any peppercorns (black, red or green or a mixture). To crush the whole peppercorns, you can crush in a mortar and pestle or just smash them with a wooden rolling pin on a large cutting board. If you don't have whole peppercorns on hand, you can use a pepper grinder on the coarsest setting or simply use regular pre-ground pepper, but use less (start with half the amount and go from there).
Wine - the recipe specifies white or red wine. I usually use white, but red, especially when combined with beef broth, makes a nice, rich gravy.
Broth - again, the recipe specifies either chicken or beef broth. You can use either. I don't always have beef broth on hand, so I generally default to chicken. Beef broth makes a richer, darker gravy, if you prefer that.
Cream - heavy, 35% b.f. whipping cream is specified in the recipe as it's higher fat content prevents the sauce from splitting in the presence of the acidic wine. While you can use a lighter cream, it may split and leave small, white fatty bits in your gravy. All that said, the gravy is lovely with or without cream, so you can also omit the cream, if you like.
Other Ingredients You Will Need - Olive Oil, Butter, Onion, Whole peppercorns, Dijon Mustard, Thyme (fresh or dried) and to thicken the gravy, some cornstarch and water.
Here is a summary of the easy steps to make this recipe. This is a summary only. Please refer to the full instructions in the recipe card below.
- The recipe offers some flexibility in ingredients in terms of the wine and broth. Generally speaking, I would combine red wine with beef broth and white wine with chicken broth. The red wine/beef broth combination will produce a darker, richer gravy. Adding red wine to chicken broth might make for a slightly pink gravy :) As noted above though, if you don't have either wine, you can omit and just add a bit more broth to your gravy.
- I like to sear the pork before popping it in the oven, not just for the added colour, but because it tends to seal the meat and keep the moisture in. That said, if time or energy is short, you can actually pop the pork directly into the oven and just roast it. Simply allow a few extra minutes of cooking time.
- Perhaps the most important thing to remember when cooking pork, is not to over-cook it. Pork should only be cooked to 145F internal temperature. If you've suffered from "dry pork" before, it was probably over-cooked. For years it was recommended that pork be cooked to 160F internal temperature, but that recommendation has changed and thankfully! Pork cooked to the proper temperature will be lovely and moist!
- If you want to cook this one ahead, try undercooking the pork just slightly (maybe to 135F, so that when it's re-heated, it won't be over-cooked.
- And speaking of all those internal temperatures, if you don't have an instant read thermometer in your kitchen, I highly recommend it. Why guess and ruin your meat? Instant read thermometers are less than $20 and are one of the best investments you can make, considering how much meat costs over the years.
- This peppercorn pork is lovely served with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.
Pork Tenderloin with Peppercorn Gravy
- 1 - 1 1/4 lb. pork tenderloin (silver skin and any visible fat removed)
- Olive oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup onion (very finely chopped)
- 2 - 3 tsp. crushed peppercorns (black, green or red peppercorns, or a mixture *See Notes)
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup red or white wine (or omit and use a bit more broth)
- 1 cup chicken or beef broth (*see Notes)
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or a pinch of dried thyme leaves)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (35% b.f. or omit for a non-creamy sauce, *see Notes)
- Salt (to taste)
To thicken gravy (add only as much as needed):
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp water
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Prepare the pork tenderloin by removing the silver skin and any visible fat. Season with some salt and set aside.
- Heat an oven-proof skillet on the stove-top over medium-high heat. Add a splash of olive oil and heat. Add the pork tenderloin and cook, turning as needed, until it is seared and golden on all sides.
- Place skillet with the pork into the preheated oven and cook until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145F, when measured in the thickest part of the meat, about 20-25 minutes.
- While pork is cooking, gather and measure out your sauce ingredients and have handy.
- Remove skillet from oven. Remove pork to to a cutting board to rest and loosely tent with a piece of aluminum foil.
- Place the hot skillet back on the stovetop over medium-high heat. To the skillet, add butter and melt, scraping up in bits in the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and peppercorns and stir until the onions are starting to colour, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until mostly evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the broth, Dijon mustard and thyme. Reduce heat to medium and allow sauce to simmer/reduce for a few minutes to blend the flavours and reduce slightly. Add cream, if using and stir to combine and warm through. Taste the sauce and season with salt, as needed. To thicken the gravy, combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Add a bit at a time to your hot gravy, stirring well after each addition, until desired thickness is achieved.
- Cut pork tenderloin into slices and spoon hot gravy over-top, to serve.