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Roast Pork Tenderloin with Tarragon-Dijon Cream Sauce

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Tarragon-Dijon Cream Sauce

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Tarragon-Dijon Sauce
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I’ve been making this dish for about 10 years, and it never fails to impress with its simplicity. Elegant enough for a dinner party yet quick enough for a Monday night, it pairs exceptionally well with anything from pasta to side salad to sauteed apples.

Tenderloin is economical as well, even when you source it from local or regional farms. Let’s take a look at the final product and then we’ll dive a bit deeper into some cooking tips to ensure this roast turns out perfect, every time.

Sourcing Meat

Pork in the US is getting more and more difficult to source if you’re trying to opt-out of industrial factory farms. The pork in almost all grocery store chains is going to be monopolized by one of two companies: Smithfield, or JBS (under multiple brand names). Both companies engage in horrific practices concerning their animals and have been privy to numerous lawsuits.

So what are pork-lovers to do? Easy: start buying pastured pork! If your grocery store doesn’t or won’t carry pork from farms that treat their animals well, your options are to buy direct from a local farmer, or to order your meat online, which is gaining popularity so quickly that suppliers are having a hard time keeping up.  If you’re interested in these online pastured meat options, check out Where To Shop.

In a similar vein, there ARE local farms around who sell pigs to families. Locally in Portland, we have a regional farmer called Beeler’s whose pork is all raised the old-fashioned way (ie, not factory farmed with gestation cages).

Farmer’s Markets will often have a meat stand or two and many include pork alongside chicken and beef. You also have the option to buy in bulk – a whole pig, a half, or a quarter. Consider splitting a large order with another family if you don’t have a garage chest freezer.

Alright, let’s get to eating!


This recipe serves up a lot of valuable nutrition. A smorgasboard of B Vitamins: Thiamin (70% RDV!), Riboflavin, Niacin, and B6 are all included here. B Vitamins get burned up quickly when you are under stress – either mental stress (like your job) or physical stress (working out a lot).

One 4-oz serving of a good tenderloin also produces almost 10% of your daily needs for Iron – something a lot of people aren’t getting enough of. Other minerals in this recipe include phosphorous (30%), Magnesium (8%), Zinc (18%), and Selenium (at 62%!). So eat up!

How to Roast Pork

A good roast Pork Tenderloin is going to be crispy and seared on the outside, buttery soft and pink on the inside, and slightly salty. It will have a beautifully structured-yet-almost-falling-apart appearance to it once sliced at a bias.

I like to sear it in an oven-safe pan first so it gets nice and browned, and then finish cooking by roasting at around 400 until it’s at the temperature it needs to be. That’s about 140 degrees on the inside of the meat. Some people turn down their oven temp to 325 and roast it for slower and longer, which is fine. Just keep the thermometer in to gauge internal doneness, and make sure to sear it first. Otherwise you’ll end up with an unappetizing, steamed-looking loin. Meh.

Tarragon-Dijon Sauce

This tarragon-dijon sauce is one of my favorites for pork, but I’ve also poured it over sauteed chicken cutlets. Leaner, white cuts of meat like breast and loin really benefit from a rich, creamy sauce. I’ve altered the original recipe I found to substitute heavy cream for half and half. This cuts the calories and saturated animal fat by over 50%, and still results in a rich and creamy sauce. The secret is to let the broth reduce for sufficient time when you deglaze the pan.

I keep dried tarragon on hand, but please do use fresh if its in season!

How to Serve

As I mentioned above, this Roast Tenderloin is versatile with anything. I’ve served it over a bed of pasta. I’ve served it with an acidic side salad – one of my favorites is my Ginger-Sesame Napa Slaw. The creamy/acidic balance is super satisfying.

I’ve had it with a wild rice pilaf, and over some polenta. A favorite autumn treat is to have it with a side of sliced apples sauteed in cinnamon. Nommmmmm. You can also cut up leftover loin as a Protein Building Block/Meal Prep for use later in the week – in salads, soups, grain & veggie bowls, or quesadillas.



Roast Pork Tenderloin with Tarragon-Dijon Cream Sauce

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Tarragon-Dijon Cream Sauce


1 (1 lb) pork tenderloin

1 T avocado oil or ghee

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup half and half

2 T dijon mustard

1 T dried tarragon leaves



Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.


Remove any “silver skin” (tough silvery sinew) from the tenderloin. It is common to have this on one side of the loin. Sprinkle the loin with salt. If package came with 2 loins, freeze the other for later use, or double the recipe if skillet room will allow.


Heat a deep-sided, oven-safe skillet on the range over high heat.


Swirl the oil or ghee around the pan and when shimmering, add the pork. Sear pork 2 minutes on all 4 sides, keeping the heat high and the oil distributed.


Once seared, place the whole skillet with pork in oven, preferably with a meat thermometer inside the largest part of the loin. Roast uncovered for another 15-20 minutes, or until thermometer registers 140 degrees.


Remove skillet (remember to use hot pads to handle skillet from now onward) and place back on stove top. Remove pork from skillet, place on cutting board, tent with aluminum foil and let rest.


Meanwhile, turn heat to medium and deglaze the pan by adding the 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Scrape up any browned bits from the pan and simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 5-6 minutes.


Turn heat to medium low and whisk in half and half, dijon and tarragon. Simmer very gently until thickened and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes, whisking consistently.


To Serve: Slice the tenderloin at an angle with large chef knife. Place on long narrow serving platter and drizzle sauce over top. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, if desired, and serve immediately with side dishes of choice.

Nutrition Per Serving







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