Pan seared pork tenderloin is a great alternative to beef steak. Lean pork tenderloin is pounded into moderate thick steaks and then pan seared in a cast-iron skillet for a quick and easy weeknight main dish.
Though the pork cut used in this recipe is a tenderloin we'll call these pork steaks. Tenderloin is lean so they're easy to overcook and dry-out. Pounding them flat makes them perfect for a quick high-heat sear. They are ready in no time and you can easily lock in that natural flavor.
The wine-based sauce that accompanies this recipe is heavenly despite its simplicity.
Beats and Eats Pairing
This is a simple recipe but its flavor and preparation are both intense covering a short amount of time. The pan sauce gives the dish a level of funkiness that's off da charts! Given this a George Duke lick is in order. "Dukey Stick" is that jam that is the perfect fit.
Ingredients Needed To Make Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin Steaks
- Pork Tenderloin - perfect for searing, but you'll need to pound it flat
- Onions - I like fennel here too, but didn't have any on hand
- Red Wine - you don't need a lot, but use a decent red
- Beef Stock
- Balsamic Vinegar - Pomegranate Molasses is also a great option and preferred but less readily available
- Fresh herbs for garnishing
How To Pan Sear Pork Tenderloin Steaks
Pre-heat cast iron skillet on high heat.
Cook the Steaks
While skillet heats prepare the tenderloins. Cut tenderloin into thirds then pound each into half-inch thick steaks using a mallet or flat side of a meat tenderizer.
Mix the spices together in a small bowl or ramekin. Season each of the steaks on both sides.
Add oil of choice or ghee (clarified butter) to the skillet once it's smoking hot.
Add the tenderloin steaks and sear each about 2-3 minutes per side.
Make the Sauce
Reduce the heat of the skillet to medium. Add additional oil if needed, then add the onions and saute 3-4 minutes.
Add ½ cup red wine cooking the alcohol off (1 -2 minutes). Add a ¼ cup of the beef stock. Bring to boil, then reduce and cook until the sauce thickens.
Add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar plus a pinch or two of the spice mix. Mix well and serve over the pork steaks. Garnish with fresh herbs.
Pork Steaks Cooking Considerations and Notes
Partially frozen meat is easier to cut. After you slice the pork into thirds allow to reach room temperature and then pound flat into steaks. Pounding both flattens and tenderizes.
Season simply. You don't want to get too crazy with the spices as you could possibly make the steaks a bad fit with the sauce.
Pork and fennel go great together, so if you have fennel available to you, then use it instead of the onions. You'll need to saute it a little longer than onions to get rid of that bitter licorice taste.
Use a cast-iron skillet if you have one. It holds heat extremely well and is great for that high heat sear which effectively seals the flavor in on those steaks as well as aids in crust building.
Choose a high smoke point fat like grapeseed oil or ghee. Ghee is just clarified butter, but it easily withstands high heat cooking without losing its flavor. Low smoke point oils go rank after a certain amount of heat is applied.
I prefer full-bodied red wines like malbecs or cabernets for the sauce. Additionally, choose a balsamic vinegar with some character. Aged vinegars are great for the sauce. Pomegranate molasses is a good alternative. I usually use it instead because I typically have it on hand. It ain't cheap and can be hard to find so don't bother if not readily available.
Pair the pork steaks with simple sauteed spinach or other greens like kale, collard greens, or even bok choy.
Pan Seared Pork Steaks Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Long Does It Normally Take To Cook A Pork Tenderloin?
Cooking pork tenderloin is inherently fast. Unflattened you're looking at about 25-30 minutes depending on the pork's thickness. However, flattening the pork takes you to about 5 minutes cook time total.
Can you overcook pork tenderloin?
Yes it's actually quite easy to overcook pork tenderloin. I tend to err on the side of undercooked as you can easily add cook time, but you can't recover once you cook too long. Note that the pork steaks will continue cooking once you remove them from the skillet so keep this in mind.
Are The Alternatives To Wine?
Wine will be your best option. However, I've used ports before. They're much sweeter so you'll need to counter the sweetness some with something savory or additional acid to balance things out.
Can You Use Something Else Besides A Pork Tenderloin?
Tenderloins are advantageous for a few reasons - one they're easily accessible and two they cook easily. Pork shoulder blade cuts are a good substitute as well as pork chops.
For Similar Based Recipes Try These:
Pan searing is one of my favorite cooking methods. Checkout these two scallop recipes that feature pan sear cooking - Scallops with pear cream sauce or Scallops with Coffee Vinaigrette.
making Pan-Seared Pork Steaks
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- 1 ½ pounds Pork Tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 medium onion sliced thick
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ½ cup red wine
- ¼ cup beef stock
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Pre-heat cast iron skillet on high heat.
Cook the Steaks
- While skillet heats prepare the tenderloins. Cut tenderloin into thirds then pound each into half-inch thick steaks using a mallet or flat side of a meat tenderizer.
- Mix the spices together in a small bowl or ramekin. Season each of the steaks on both sides.
- Add oil of choice or ghee (clarified butter) to the skillet once it's smoking hot.
- Add the tenderloin steaks and sear each about 2-3 minutes per side.
Make the Sauce
- Reduce the heat of the skillet to medium. Add additional oil if needed, then add the onions and saute 3-4 minutes.
- Add ½ cup red wine cooking the alcohol off (1 -2 minutes). Add a ¼ cup of the beef stock. Bring to boil, then reduce and cook until the sauce thickens.
- Add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar plus a pinch or two of the spice mix. Mix well and serve over the pork steaks. Garnish with fresh herbs.