Cajun Pork Tenderloin with Easy Cranberry Apple Balsamic Reduction

Thank youSwanson® for sponsoring this post.  All opinions are my own.

I am a firm believer that holiday food should not be “obligatory” but rather so tantalizing that you can’t help but serve it multiple times a year like my Dijon Maple Green Beans with Caramelized Pecans, Bacon and Feta, my Double Layer Pumpkin Oreo Cheesecake and my Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Meatballs.  So, do you know what you are serving for the holidays?  Is it delicious enough to serve year-round?  To be requested year-round?  To be talked about year-round?  Well, today I am excited to introduce my Cajun Pork Tenderloin with Easy Cranberry Apple Balsamic Reduction that smashes all those requirements.  

This recipe is so encore worthy, you will want to share it with all your holiday guests and continue to enjoy its sweet and spicy tenderness ALL-YEAR-ROUND!  And the best part is no one would ever believe how easy it is unless you actually give them the recipe.  Your secret is safe with me.

Cajun Pork Tenderloin sliced and displayed with glaze garnished with chives.

I love serving pork for the holidays and special occasions because, like I said of my Blackberry Hoisin Ginger Pork Tenderloin I shared with you last Mother’s Day  –  it looks gourmet, tastes gourmet, but is deceptively simple to prepare and gets to be smothered in the most tantalizing sauces.  Win, win, win!…But if you or your guests don’t eat pork, this can easily be adapted for chicken or beef as well because you don’t want to miss out on this explosion of flavor.

Top view of Cajun Pork Tenderloin sliced and displayed with glaze garnished with chives.

To make melt-in-your-mouth tender pork, the tenderloin is first placed in a water-salt brine for 20 minutes. Brining is like marinating meat as it helps keep the meat moist by increasing the moisture capacity of the meat.  The pork is then rubbed all over with Cajun seasoning, seared and roasted for 25 minutes or so resulting in the most tender, juicy, flavorful pork. Seriously, soooo juicy!

Showing how to make Cajun Pork Tenderloin by cooking it in a oven pan.

While the tenderloin is roasting, you are going to create liquid gold – AKA balsamic reduction.  Did you know you have been sitting on this gold mine in your very own home?  As the balsamic vinegar reduces, it becomes sweeter, more complex, less acidity, thicker and more full of flavor. It’s sweet, tangy, and absolutely lick the pan worthy.  To make this liquid gold even more precious, I combined balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, Swanson® Louisiana Cajun Flavor Infused Broth, sugar, apples and whole cranberry sauce to create a dynamically addicting Cranberry Apple Balsamic Reduction that’s sweet and tangy and perfectly complements the spicy Cajun rubbed pork. Perfectly I tell you

Showing which ingredients to use to make Cajun Pork Tenderloin with apples, swanson broth, hoisen sauce and vinegar.

Now let me show you how this Cranberry Apple Balsamic Reduction earns its title “Easy.” First, you add the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and Swanson® Louisiana Cajun Flavor Infused Broth to a skillet (NOT saucepan or it will take much longer to reduce) and simmer for 5 minutes. As the ingredients simmer, they are reduced to a sweet sauce with slight layers of spice thanks to the Cajun Flavor Infused Broth. Swanson® Louisiana Cajun Flavor Infused Broth is packed with the robust flavors of Cajun seasonings, green bell pepper, celery, onion and garlic, so there is no need to add any spices to the sauce. It’s a one-stop product – love it!

Showing how to make Cajun Pork Tenderloin using chicken broth by Swanson.

After 5 minutes, you add your apples and whole cranberry sauce and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced to a tangy, sweet, Cajun infused cranberry reduction with tender apples.

Making the glaze sauce for Cajun Pork Tenderloin with diced apples, cranberries, and glaze.

I think you are going to love it.  As for me, it was  love at first bite.

A close up shot showing the reduced sauce for the Cajun Pork Tenderloin in a pan with wood spoon.

And every bite after that as the cranberry apple sweetness smothered every crevice of the moist, tender, juicy, spicy Cajun pork.

Close up shot of Cajun Pork Tenderloin sliced and displayed with glaze garnished with chives.

And that is why I love this Cajun Pork Tenderloin with Easy Cranberry Apple Balsamic Reduction year-round!

Cajun Pork Tenderloin sliced displayed on a white plate with apple garnish.

I hope you love it too as you celebrate a beautiful holiday season full of family, friends and forkfuls!

Cajun Pork Tenderloin with Easy Cranberry Apple Balsamic Reduction

Servings: 8
Total Time: 55 mins
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins

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Ingredients

Pork Brine

  • 2 1 lb pork tenderloins trimmed of excess fat, total of 2 pounds
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Cajun Rub

Cranberry Apple Balsamic Reduction Sauce

  • 1 cup Swanson® Louisiana Cajun Flavor Infused Broth
  • 1/2 cup quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole cranberry sauce canned or homemade
  • 1 large Gala apple, peeled, cored and chopped

Instructions

  • In a gallon-size freezer bag, dissolve ¼ cup kosher salt in the warm water. Add the remaining Brine ingredients, including the pork. Brine for exactly 20 minutes. The pork becomes mealy if left in the brine any longer.
  • Meanwhile, create the Cajun Rub by whisking together 2 tablespoons olive oil and Cajun seasoning. At exactly 20 minutes, remove the pork from the brine and pat dry. Rub the pork all over with the Cajun Rub.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. When oil is very hot, add pork tenderloin. Sear each side until browned, approximately 1-2 minutes per side. Place tenderloin on rack in shallow roasting pan or on a rack placed on a baking sheet. Roast approximately 25 to 30 minutes at 425F degrees or until an internal thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin registers between 145 and 150 degrees F (63 and 65 degrees C). This means the pork will be juicy and slightly pink in the middle. When pork is done, let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
  • Meanwhile, prepare Cranberry Apple Balsamic Reduction Sauce by adding Cajun Broth, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and sugar to a large skillet (not saucepan or it will take much longer to reduce) and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add apples and cranberry sauce and continue to simmer 10-15 minutes or until reduced, stirring occasionally. The sauce thickens rapidly at the very end, so watch closely so it does not burn. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • To serve, slice tenderloin into thin slices and spoon Cranberry Apple Balsamic Reduction over top. Garnish with green onions (optional).

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15 Comments

  1. Carrie @Frugal Foodie Mama says

    Flavor infused broths?? Oh my! I am definitely looking for these the next time I am at the grocery store. 🙂 I made something similar to this last year for Christmas dinner in my slow cooker, but I love the addition of a brining step! I just may have to try that this year.

  2. Erica (@Erica's Recipes) says

    Love everything about this recipe! The flavors look tremendous and it looks easy to make – this recipe is such a keeper!

  3. Rach @ Eazy Peazy Mealz says

    As per the norm with my visits to your site, the mouth is watering. I love cajun everything, and balsamic everything, but never thought to mix them. Can’t wait to try ti!

  4. Pat says

    I made this for Christmas and my family ordered it a new tradition! The Cranberry Apple Balsamic sauce is to die for! Thank you for our new Christmas dinner!

    • Jen says

      Hi Pat, what a fun new tradition! I am so happy everyone loved it that much! Thank YOU for letting me know it was a hit! Happy New Year and late Merry Christmas!

  5. Kristen says

    Hey Jen!

    What should I do if I can’t find the cajun infused broth at my grocery stores? Love your recipes!!!

    Thanks so much!

    • Jen says

      Hi Kristen! If you can’t find Cajun infused broth, I would suggest adding a little Cajun seasoning to the standard chicken broth. Start with just 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste. I am so happy you love my recipes, thank you!

  6. Pam says

    I absolutely love this recipe ! Wondering if you could give me an opinion . I cook for large groups and I would love to make a variation for 300 people . I was thinking of using the brine and sauce with pork chops instead of tenderloin for ease of serving . Do you think this would work ?
    Thanks in advance !
    Pam

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much! You can subscribe to my weekly emails on the sidebar of my site – let me know if you have any trouble.

  7. Carrie Kramer says

    What sides do you like to serve this with? I’m planning our Xmas dinner for 15 people right now. Nervous because I haven’t tried this recipe before but it looks very good.

    • Jen says

      I’m so sorry I’m just now getting to your comment Carrie as I have been swamped for the holiday! I hope your dinner party was a huge success, Merry Christmas!

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