We have never been a big mushroom loving family, but something beautiful happens when you saute mushrooms in butter and add Marsala wine. This same nutty and caramel mushroom sauce is what makes my Chicken Marsala a favorite in our house. I replicated the sauce we love with the pork tenderloin we love and introduce polenta rounds at the same time. Disaster or splendid combination?
First, I have to tell you how much I recommend this marinade for a pork tenderloin. A quick combination of olive oil, grainy Dijon mustard, lemon juice and any blend of fresh or dried herbs is a sure fire way to ensure your pork will be so tasty you only get one piece. True story, my family ate it all, and I just ate one medallion.
One pork tenderloin feeds my family of four - but keep in mind my kiddos are young. You may need to buy more to feed a large family or a family with teenagers! Adjust the amount of ingredients depending on how many tenderloins you are marinading, and know that this is not an exact science.
Pork Tenderloin Recipe
1 pork tenderloin
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup olive oil (I like California Olive Ranch evoo)
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves (use what you have on hand: fresh or dried dill, Italian seasoning blend would be great too)
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
Add all the ingredients to a zip-top bag, squeeze out the air and refrigerate for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.
When you are ready to cook, remove the tenderloin(s) from the bag and discard the marinade. It is okay if the herbs and garlic cling to the tenderloin.
Sprinkle with Kosher salt and pepper before you cook.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Get a splash guard ready, the wet marinade on the pork will spatter as you lay it in the hot oil. Sear the pork tenderloin on all sides until golden brown.
You can either
a. use an oven-safe saute pan and move the pan to a 400-degree oven for 10-15 minutes until the center of the pork registers 137 degrees, or,
b. transfer the pork to a foil-lined baking sheet where you are going to roast other ingredients alongside the pork in a 400-degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
I almost always have other side items that need oven time as well, so I time the meal so that the pork can be moved to a baking sheet with other items that can go in the oven at the same time.
When the pork registers 137 degrees in the thick middle part, transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil for 10 minutes to rest. The juices will reabsorb, and the pork will not taste dried out.
Marsala mushroom sauce and polenta rounds
1 tube polenta
6 ounces crimini mushrooms
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup chicken broth (I use Better than Bouillon chicken paste mixed with water)
2/3 cup Marsala wine
Kosher salt and pepper
For this particular dinner, I transferred the pork tenderloin to a foil-lined baking sheet with rounds of polenta. I purchased the tube of polenta, on the pasta and rice aisle of the grocery store. Once unwrapped, the polenta is firm and holds its shape. Slice into rounds and brush with olive oil before placing on the baking sheet. Give everything a nice sprinkle of salt and pepper.
While the pork and polenta bake in the oven for 10 minutes, finish the mushroom sauce.
The pan that you roasted the pork in already has some fat and drippings which is a perfect start for the sauce. I chop our crimini mushrooms pretty small to ensure no one at my table freaks out over seeing a mushroom. When the pan is brought back to medium-high temperature, add the mushrooms, garlic, and shallot. If the pan looks too dry, add a splash of olive oil. The mushrooms will give off a lot of liquid, and they will begin to brown in spots. If it looks like the garlic or shallot is burning, turn the heat down. After 6-8 minutes the mushrooms should be browning in places, and the shallot and garlic softened.
Sprinkle over the flour and stir to combine for 30 seconds. Add the marsala wine and chicken broth, and bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce begins to thicken about 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
After the pork has time to rest, carve into 1/2-inch-thick slices. The thickest part of the tenderloin will be pink (and that is perfectly okay), and the thinnest parts on the ends will be well done.
Serve the pork medallions alongside the warm and crispy polenta rounds and spoon over the marsala mushroom sauce.
This meal was a splendid combination, and everyone enjoyed it. Bryce likes to point to new things on his plate and say, "we've never had that," to which Jim responds, "that is what mom does, she doesn't repeat." Oh my, I had a good laugh!