Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Fig Relish

Valentine's Day is almost here!

And you know what that means? It's the perfect time to dress up dinner.

I'm not talking about anything extravagant, mind you. But there's nothing wrong with getting just a little bit fancy once in a while - especially if you can do it without any fuss.

Maybe you're planning a romantic dinner for two. Or maybe you're excited for a hot date with Netflix. (Ahem. You're not alone. Cough, cough.) Either way, you just might fall in love with this surprisingly simple recipe from the Hearty 10 Meals & More Collection

In fact, my husband said this meal was better than any pork tenderloin he's ever had at a restaurant. Even better, it's ready in 35 minutes from start to finish.

Now I know what some of you are thinking. Figs? With pork? Despite the great reviews for this recipe on Tastefully Simple's website, I was more than a little nervous, too. My six-year-old was also suspicious and immediately asked, "Mom, what are those little black things on my plate?" (Clearly, this mama needs to change things up more often.)

Don't be afraid. The pork is incredibly succulent, and the caramelized figs create just the perfect sweet-and-salty balance. Plus, you'll feel like you're dining at an expensive five-star restaurant - without making reservations, hiring a baby-sitter or spending an arm and a leg.

What's not to love about that?

 - Jen

P.S. There's always room for dessert! Just swirl ¾ cup of warmed Nutella into Absolutely Almond Pound Cake batter before baking. Serve with fresh strawberries, along with cold glasses of milk for the little sweethearts in your life.

Nutella Cake

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Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Fig Relish



Serve it tonight: Preheat oven to 425°. Season pork with Garlic Pepper Seasoning. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook 6-7 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove from skillet. Add remaining ingredients to skillet; stir to loosen caramelized bits. Simmer 2 minutes. Place half of sauce in a greased 9 x 13 baking pan. Add pork and remaining sauce. Bake uncovered 15-20 minutes or until internal temperatures reaches 160°. Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Slice pork and serve with sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.

Freeze it for later: Season pork evenly with Garlic Pepper Seasoning and place in a gallon resealable freezer bag. Combine last 4 ingredients in a quart resealable freezer bag. Place both bags in a gallon resealable freezer bag. Seal well, label and freeze. Thaw completely. Prepare as directed above.

Serve with steamed, fresh green beans.

Tips and Hints

  • Serve with roasted asparagus and mashed potatoes. (And depending on your romantic mood or your stress level this week, pour a glass of wine or two, too. You've earned it.)
  • This dish would also pair nicely with green beans or butternut squash.
  • Since my husband and I really enjoyed the fig sauce and it reduced a lot while cooking, next time I'll double the amount - using 2/3 cup Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and ½ cup water.
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