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.
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.
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!
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
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!
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.
I think you are going to love it. As for me, it was love at first bite.
And every bite after that as the cranberry apple sweetness smothered every crevice of the moist, tender, juicy, spicy Cajun pork.
And that is why I love this Cajun Pork Tenderloin with Easy Cranberry Apple Balsamic Reduction year-round!
I hope you love it too as you celebrate a beautiful holiday season full of family, friends and forkfuls!
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Cajun Pork Tenderloin with Easy Cranberry Apple Balsamic Reduction
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- 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
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
- 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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