There's very little prep work involved in making this family-friendly dish, which combines the slight sweetness of reduced cranberry juice and a subtle spice rub on pan-roasted pork.

Spiced Pork Tenderloin With Cranberry Fregola

4 servings

2 cups cranberry or cranberry apple juice

1 1/2 to 2 pounds pork tenderloins

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon plus a pinch kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup fregola (a toasted pasta that resembles large pearls of couscous. Plain toasted couscous, not instant, may be subbed)

2 1/2 tablespoons butter

1/2 lime (optional)

1. Bring the juice just to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.

2. Meanwhile, trim the silver skin and visible fat from the pork tenderloins. Pat them dry with paper towels.

3. Mix the caraway seeds, allspice, coriander, nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper in a bowl. Rub the mixture over the tenderloins, pressing it onto the surface.

4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

5. Add the fregola to the bubbling juice; add pinch of salt; stir; then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir once or twice during cooking. Remove from the heat; keep covered.

6. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. As the butter starts to brown, add the tenderloins and sear on all sides, turning as each side is browned. (About 6 minutes total.)

7. Transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast for about 12 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers 145 degrees. Transfer to a cutting board; rest for 5 minutes; tent loosely with aluminum foil.

8. Stir the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter into the fregola, which will thicken almost like a risotto. Add salt and pepper to taste. If too sweet, add the juice from the lime half.

9. Divide the fregola among individual plates; cut the tenderloins crosswise into 1/2-inch slices; distribute among the plates. Spoon any remaining juices over the slices. Serve immediately.

- Adapted from The Best Skillet Recipes, (America's Test Kitchen, 2009)


Per serving: 525 calories, 40 g protein, 51 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 131 mg cholesterol, 490 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 15 g sugar.