The first time I made this pork, I had an outline of a recipe and a vague idea of the flavor profile I wanted. A friend and I drank wine and traded stories as I threw in a little of this and a glug of that. The improvised sauce turned out so delicious that we polished off the whole thing, drenching the tender slices of pork with the spicy, deeply browned sauce.
A week later, I made the whole thing again, camera in hand and with measuring cups this time. And it was all wrong. Instead of a delicate yet rich drizzling sauce with bold flavor, I’d accidentally made a lumpy, onion-heavy puree with a little bit of ginger and a definite lack of kitchen magic.
So I headed back to the grocery store and started over again. This time, I built the sauce from the ground up, the way I had the first time: lots of ginger for its unmistakeable kick, grated garlic for a silky smooth texture, soy sauce and white wine for complementary flavors. A bit of orange zest for fruit, a generous pour of stock for roundness. Plenty of time to simmer as the pork finished, darkening and deepening all of the flavors. And, crucially, a pat of butter to finish it off right.
Despite the measuring cups, this sauce managed to find that lost kitchen magic. Rich and smooth, it invites you back for seconds and then back again until you hit the bottom of the pan. The best part? The whole thing comes together in less than half an hour for a weeknight dinner that I know I’ll be making again.
- 1 pork tenderloin
- 1 t. salt
- ½ t. pepper
- 2 t. vegetable oil
- 2 T. grated ginger, about two thumb-sized knobs
- 1 T. grated or pressed garlic, about four cloves
- 1 t. orange zest
- ½ c. dry white wine
- ½ c. vegetable stock
- ¼ c. soy sauce
- 1 T. butter
- pepper, to taste
- scallions, minced, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Rub the pork all over with the salt and pepper. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet until shimmering, then add the pork. Cook until browned, about three minutes. Using tongs, rotate the pork one quarter turn and repeat the browning on each side.
- Transfer the pork to a baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook until the center registers 145 degrees F, about 10-18 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the pork to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- While the pork bakes, make the pan sauce. Add the ginger and garlic to the hot oil, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until fragrant, about two minutes. Add the orange zest, wine, stock, and soy sauce. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by about one third. Add the butter and stir gently to combine. Season with pepper to taste.
- Cut the tenderloin into slices, drizzle sauce over the top, and finish with minced scallions.