Easy Fennel Crusted Pork Tenderloin | Nesting 123

Seattle Food blog easy pork tenderloin recipe

Last week, I found myself playing hostess to a bevy of breeding ladies. It is not exactly uncommon for me these days to be surrounded by the gestating, but it is rather uncommon for me to host everyone at my home. In fact, I was rather nervous about it. The purpose of the evening was to knit and crochet together and I felt grossly unqualified to direct this important affair. I know little about knitting and crocheting and even less about entertaining pregnant ladies.

In the end, however, the evening was a success. I didn’t do any directing. Instead, I found myself talking a lot with the other women and watching their lovely woolen baby projects develop before my eyes.  It felt like a lesson in nesting.

It was a lesson I needed. I don’t really understand what it means to “nest,” but I am doing my best to take some cues from those around me and develop my own system for this seemingly important maternal rite of passage.  You won’t find me on some mad cleaning spree, however.  I am afraid I cannot relate to such stories.   Truth be told, I loathe cleaning house and anticipate hiring a professional to make my dirty house baby worthy come December. On the other hand, I feel I’m doing my best to work on baby projects and transform our home into a happy place to raise a little bun.

I started a baby quilt. It’s been far easier than I anticipated and so much fun.

Seattle food blogger discusses nesting/ quilting squares and cooking pork tenderloin

I am also working on a nursery.  I received the most lovely paintings from my talented niece to cheer up the space. Aren’t they just the most gorgeous and fun paintings?

Seattle food blog pregnant nesting foods for winter

I can’t wait to put them on the walls!

Additionally, I am trying to cook hearty but simple meals that will be good staples during the cold season when I anticipate the possibility of limited mobility. This week, I cooked a pork tenderloin crusted with earthy fennel seeds, which rested on a bed of roasted fennel.  It was divine. I’m not sure what took me so long to test out my culinary guns on pork tenderloin, but I’m so glad I did.  This meal took little time to prepare and had so few ingredients, but the payoff was extraordinary. The pork tenderloin lives up to its name by being unbelievably tender. It was moist, perfectly roasted, and flavored with the nearly floral taste of sweet anise. And, roasted fennel?  There is nothing quite like it.  It’s sweet and savory at the same time. Roasted fennel has the consistency of a roasted onion while maintaining a more complex and deep autumnal flavor.

I’m not sure what winter or late Fall will look like for you? Perhaps you will be nesting or just in need of a few nights at home to hunker down in a warm kitchen while cooking up a wonderful and hearty meal for yourself or your loved ones. Either way, give this easy pork tenderloin a shot. I think you will love it.

Seattle food blog easy pork tenderloin recipe

Fennel Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Fennel Wedges

1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 pound pork tenderloin
1 tsp (each) sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed, reserving fronds
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Crush fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle or wrap in a kitchen towel and crush with bottom of a heavy skillet.
Pat pork dry, then sprinkle with crushed fennel seeds and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cut fennel bulbs lengthwise into 1/2-inch wedges.

Heat oil in a 12-inch oven-proof heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown pork on all sides, about 6 minutes total, then transfer to a plate. Sauté garlic and fennel wedges in skillet until fennel is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in broth and butter. Put pork on top of fennel and transfer skillet to oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 145 to 150°F, about 15- 20 minutes.

Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, transfer skillet to stovetop (handle will be hot) and boil, stirring occasionally, until most of liquid has evaporated. Stir in lemon juice and 1/4 cup chopped fennel fronds. Thinly slice pork and serve over fennel with sauce.

Adapted from Gourmet.

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42 Comments

  • October 19, 2010 - | Permalink

    I’ve never had roasted fennel, but the way you describe it makes me feel like going out and getting it this very moment! Love the paintings.

  • October 19, 2010 - | Permalink

    Robin this looks devine! I love roasted fennel! The quilt looks like it will be so beautiful…hope your both well xoxo

  • October 19, 2010 - | Permalink

    those paintings are great! so cheerful.

  • October 19, 2010 - | Permalink

    That quilt and the paintings will surly make the nursery one of the brightest places for the young Miss Bun. the pork looks good too! I have yet to cook or eat fennel (except the seeds in sausage) but I keep hearing such good things about it, I should give it a try. Take care!

  • October 19, 2010 - | Permalink

    I love the baby quilt! I’ve always been weary of cooking with fennel, not sure why, but this recipe has inspired me to conquer this fear. :)

  • October 20, 2010 - | Permalink

    I read a Rachael Ray recipe where she puts roast chicken with garlic gravy on a bed of roasted fennel and onions. It sounded really interesting but I haven’t had a chance to make it. Maybe I’ll try yours first!

  • October 20, 2010 - | Permalink

    That is a delicious combination! That dish must be very flavorful.

    I love those bird paintings. So pretty!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • October 20, 2010 - | Permalink

    great article, just stumbled onto this blog and looks good so far
    the-food-place

  • October 20, 2010 - | Permalink

    I LOVE those bird paintings-they are beautiful! And I love that you used fennel wedges-a lot of people are so scared to use it. Beautiful pictures!
    Kelsey

  • October 20, 2010 - | Permalink

    oh this looks delicious! I can’t wait to see what the quilt looks like when you’re done!

  • October 20, 2010 - | Permalink

    I keep contemplating pork tenderloin. You make it sound so easy. I’m imaging some smashed potatoes as well. I really can’t wait to try. Happy nesting :)

  • October 20, 2010 - | Permalink

    a. Your nice is a genius.
    b. I didn’t nest, either. Well, until the third go. All you really need is 1. you and 2. baby.
    c. It’s been too long since I made pork tenderloin.
    d. Fennel makes me weak in the knees.
    e. YUM!

  • October 20, 2010 - | Permalink

    Yum, looks perfect for these chilly nights! I haven’t had pork in a long time, so I think I’m about due.

  • October 20, 2010 - | Permalink

    Robin, I love fennel. It’s so wonderful. I love the paintings. Your niece is really talented, as are you.

  • October 20, 2010 - | Permalink

    Love your little projects. I wish i had more time for sewing and other things. But with a full time job and new house, cooking and blogging and then trying to live a normal life, there isn’t much time for anything else. Love the tenderloin!

  • October 20, 2010 - | Permalink

    i adore cooking fall food. wonderful recipe. another must try. i just heart swine so this might just have to be in the line up to be paired with squash soup. yum.

  • October 21, 2010 - | Permalink

    Ohhh…I’ve never done roasted fennel and I’m not quite sure why. I loved your post. Isn’t it funny that we so often doubt ourselves as qualified enough to do something: host a small gathering, speak at a panel, etc.? Looks like it turned out just fine though, as it usually does. Sounds like there’s a sweet little community of pregnant gals up in Seattle too which is so important. Not that I’ve been there…but I can imagine :) And I think everyone approaches nesting differently. Just do what feels authentic to you; don’t worry about what you “should” be doing.

  • October 21, 2010 - | Permalink

    This is definitely a cold weather meal. Your niece is so sweet to make you those paintings. How lovely!

  • October 21, 2010 - | Permalink

    omg! i totally want to make this! i’ve been thinking about pork tenderloin all week long (i know, it’s only wednesday, but it’s been long days)… my mum makes it stuffed with prunes and bacon… maybe too much, but this one… drooling!

  • October 21, 2010 - | Permalink

    The colors in your baby quilt look darling. It’s funny with quilting, you look at the project and think, “This is going to take quite a while…” but things always seem to come together faster than expected.

  • October 21, 2010 - | Permalink

    I think nesting is whatever feels natural to you to get ready for the baby. I love the colors of the quilt and bird paintings. You asked me how my nursery was coming along and truthfully it hasn’t at all yet. We ordered the crib but that takes 8-10 weeks (glad we got it when we did) and for the rest I guess it’ll just come together in the next few months before baby arrives. I’ve heard you don’t need a ton of stuff at the beginning anyways but I still want to make a cute little place for the baby. :)

    Sounds like you got to spend some time in Germany, where at? (if you don’t mind me asking) I do love the markets around here, especially around Christmas time.

    Be well, Robin. Enjoy making the quilt for your little girl!

    • redmenace
      October 21, 2010 - | Permalink

      Julia,
      I think you’re right. You don’t need much for baby at the beginning. Lots of love and swaddling blankets! That’s what I’m hoping too. As far as Germany is concerned, I spent most of my time in Stuttgart. I LOVE the markets there and, of course, all the shopping. I’ve also been to Frankfurt, Berlin, Heidleburg, and Munich. All wonderful places. I’m actually a European citizen and always trying to convince my husband to move there for a bit! You’re so lucky! xoxoxoo Robin

  • October 21, 2010 - | Permalink

    LOVE roasted fennel!

  • October 21, 2010 - | Permalink

    Lovely recipe… I happen to have some fennel in my kitchen at this very moment!

    Looking forward to meeting your little bundle in a few months!

    Robyn x

  • October 21, 2010 - | Permalink

    I’m a big quilter and I had to smile when I saw the fabric you have. So cute. What a wonderful time this is for you. Enjoy it.

  • October 21, 2010 - | Permalink

    Hey Robin, I’ve been meaning to get started on learning how to knit. So nice that you are already doing that at such a young age;)
    Oh, and your pork looks beautiful. My vegetarian self did not say this, but, as a restaurant person, I’ve always felt that this cut of pork is very underrated in the realm of omnivore pleasures (smile).

  • Chef Bee
    October 21, 2010 - | Permalink

    Pork and fennel is a great combo. Roasting always brings out such good flavor. Great job on everything.

    Plan B

  • October 21, 2010 - | Permalink

    Our cool fall days left us for a bit. It’s been back to warm and muggy unfortunately. As soon as the cooler air finds its way back, I want to roast some fennel. So delicious and fragrant!

  • October 21, 2010 - | Permalink

    How fitting that I, at 25 weeks pregnant, would find your blog today! Well, we’ve been hiring house cleaners since before I was pregnant so that’s no different. But I am considering learning to knit so I can make a baby blanket! Your recipe looks outstanding.

  • October 22, 2010 - | Permalink

    Robin,

    Very cool you’ve been to all those places in Germany. I actually live two hours from Stuttgart. I haven’t been but I have been wanting to travel and see more places in Germany (esp. Berlin and Munich). If I ever go maybe I can get some recommendations from you. :) Interesting that you are a European citizen, where would you want to live if you came to Europe? Funny thing is you live in Seattle now (and I lived in the area a bit) and I think, lucky you. Grass can always be greener. :)

    Be well.

    Julia

  • October 22, 2010 - | Permalink

    I love roasted fennel, its so sweet, yet savoury at the same time!

    xoxo
    bianca

  • October 22, 2010 - | Permalink

    Mmm the fennel sounds wonderful and everything tastes better roasted in my opinion :).

  • October 23, 2010 - | Permalink

    Robin,

    This is beautiful! Hooray for nesting. I love roasted pork tenderloin. We usually get volunteer fennel in our garden in December / January, so I’ll have to bookmark this recipe to try then (it won’t be very RGB if I run to the market to buy fennel now). On another note, I completely agree that roasted fennel is a beautiful thing. Very earthy and flavorful to go with cozy winter dinners. In a weird way, very much looking forward to it. :)

    [K]

  • October 24, 2010 - | Permalink

    I love pork tenderloin. I braised one in my dutch oven recently that came out very nice.

    I’m going to have to be brave and give fennel a try. I’ve always stayed away from it because I don’t like black licorice… but it always looks and sounds so wonderful. I’m not the type to stay away from something forever because I didn’t like it once.

    I also found your rosemary walnut bread, and I think it will be making an appearance at my Thanksgiving table this year!

  • October 24, 2010 - | Permalink

    Does your niece sell her paintings? I LOVE those!!

  • October 25, 2010 - | Permalink

    For as much as I enjoy pork tenderloin, we don’t buy it nearly enough, and the same goes for fennel. I think in large part it’s because the two generally aren’t the cheapest at our stores, but I should splurge on them more often, b/c this sounds most excellent. As for the bevy of bun-in-oven ladies, how’d you manage to find a group of women near you to mingle and meet with?? So great.

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

  • October 25, 2010 - | Permalink

    You are going to be such a great mommy! I can tell. I’d also like to know how you found your group of to-be moms in your city, it seems like a lot of fun to be able to sew and knit together. This dish looks delish! A GREAT satisfying dinner for these busy cold days.

  • October 25, 2010 - | Permalink

    I would be highly entertained by that, pregnant or not :).

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  • June 22, 2011 - | Permalink

    This design is incredible! You certainly know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

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