Sunday, April 19, 2009

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Blackberry Red Wine Reduction Sauce

Blackberries were recently on sale, so I picked some up, intending to eat them with yogurt for breakfast. Then I remembered a few weeks ago I had been looking at this blueberry-bourbon pork recipe but never had a chance to give it a try.

So why not try something similar with blackberries? I had the idea earlier in the week and have been waiting all week to give it a was worth the wait. Busy week, so I'm glad I waited until Saturday when I had the time to make this dish the right way, because IT. WAS. GOOD. Success at my first attempt at any sort of a "reduction"!

This recipe takes a bit of prepping for the pork tenderloin so plan ahead...but it's worth it. Plus, this would make an excellent dinner party dish. Oh yeah, and it's low-fat and full of flavor...if your dinner guests aren't into healthy eating they'll never know!


  • 1 unseasoned pork tenderloin, thawed
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic powder
Blackberry sauce:
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups red wine (I used a Cabernet-Sauvingnon)
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries (about 2 pints)
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. seedless blackberry preserves, no sugar added
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp. sugar (see note in directions)
  • salt & pepper to taste


Preparation: The night before you plan to make the meal (or even the morning-of if it's for dinner), rub the thawed pork on all sides with salt, black pepper, garlic powder and rosemary (fresh would be great but I had dried in stock). Since there's already a decent amount of sodium in the pork, it doesn't need a lot of salt. Wrap the tendrloin in clear plastic wrap and store in a container in the refrigerator.

When ready to prepare the meal, take out the pork and it let come to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat the grill (we use a charcoal grill, so I'm not sure of the temperature if you're using a gas grill).

Once hot, grill the pork 15 min. on each side, about 30 min. total. Some recipes suggest searing the pork for a couple of minutes on either side and then cooking it through on a medium heat. It is recommended to cook pork to 160 degrees, but be careful not to overcook it.

When cooked, remove from grill, let rest for 5-10 min. and slice.

To make pork in oven, cover a shallow baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place pork on foil and bake at 350 degrees about 45 min. or until pork reaches 160 degrees.

Blackberry Sauce:

I started working on this while the grill was heating and it was done about the time we finished the pork. Couldn't resist a photo of the heat rising off the sauce! Yum!

Heat 2 tsp. olive oil (plus a little olive oil spray) in a skillet over medium heat. Mince shallot and sauté until mostly translucent. Increase to med-high, add wine and bring to a boil. Let liquid reduce a bit, stirring some to make sure the shallot isn't sticking to the pan.

While waiting for wine/shallot mixture to boil, wash blackberries, put in a bowl and mash easily with a potato masher (otherwise blackberry juice will spray everywhere!). I did it in the sink to avoid any blackberry juice stains. Another option is to purée them in the food processor and then strain them with a fine strainer to remove the seeds. For a thicker sauce, use the potato masher. I would equate the mashing with "coarsely chopping" (i.e. still lumpy).

Once the wine mixture has reduced some (let boil about 5-8 min.), add freshly squeezed lemon, lemon zest, fresh blackberries, blackberry jam, fresh thyme, sugar (note: omit sugar if not using sugar-free jam), a dash or two of salt and some black pepper. Stir everything together, allow the jam to mix in well, and reduce heat to medium or medium-low. Simmer uncovered for about 30 min. or until sauce thickens to desired consistency, stirring occasionally.

Top sliced pork with blackberry sauce.

Sauce Makes about 8 servings. Because of my desire to eat this dish immediately, I didn't figure out exactly how much it makes, but I estimate it has about that many servings, based on our leftovers. The pork probably serves 4.


As mentioned above, THIS DISH ROCKS. I will certainly be making it again. Our immediate reaction was that the rosemary on the pork was an awesome complement to the blackberry sauce, coupled with the fresh thyme in the reduction. The garlic flavor was better off on the pork vs. the sauce, but surprisingly also went well. And of course, the red wine flavor ROCKED. Definitely a great combination and one I will be repeating.

We generally bake our pork tenderloins, but I'm really glad we grilled this one. The grill gave it an awesome flavor boost, but I don't think it would be lacking if it's baked. The key would not to overcook it, because the juiciness in the pork added quite a bit.

Nutritional information:

Blackberry reduction: 86 calories, 1.3 grams of fat, 2.1 grams of fiber per serving. Makes 8 servings.

Pork tenderloin: 122 calories, 3 grams of fat, 0 grams of fiber per 3 oz. serving.

(Note: this is a point to pay attention to serving sizes, as a few slices is probably a few servings. A food scale comes in handy just to get an idea exactly how much your serving weights, to accurately count the calories or WW points).

Where's the inspiration?

As mentioned above, I initially got this idea from a blueberry recipe I read, although this recipe was nothing like that one. I searched quite a bit online for a blackberry sauce I could use, but had a terrible time finding a recipe that didn't call for butter. I didn't think this needed butter...I was able to find enough alternative flavor-boosting sources for much less calories. So, the recipe is somewhat inspired and adapted from this one.

Really though, a WW-friendly-cooking friend had made a similar reduction with figs, so I chatted with her about how she made the sauce and went from there. So thanks to her for the inspiration!

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  1. I love your use of blackberries in this dish! Blackberries go so well with quite a few wines and the sauce sounds amazing with the pork. Great job!

  2. On vacation we ate at the restaurant Alligator Soul in Savannah, Georgia (highly recommend!) that had the most delicious almond crusted pork chops with a blackberry reduction sauce that I am looking forward to trying this at home. It is a great combination. The almonds added a lot as well.