Moroccan Pork Tenderloin with Cardamom Glazed Carrots

Moroccan Pork Tenderloin with Cardamom Glazed Carrots

This tenderloin is succulent and full of flavor. The aromatic qualities of the spice rub are an invitation to the senses to indulge.

Pork Tenderloin

Serves 6-8


2 1 ½ pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of all visible fat and silver skin removed
¼ cup Moroccan Spice Rub (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter


Spread half of the spice rub on one tenderloin and, using your hands, massage it all over the tenderloin. When fully and evenly covered, wrap the tenderloin in cling film. Repeat with the second tenderloin. Allow the pork tenderloins to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Bring the marinated tenderloins to room temperature on a counter. Preheat oven to 375° F.

Set a large, oven proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter. Heat pan until the butter is melted, stirring to combine with the olive oil. Unwrap the tenderloins and pan sear the tenderloins together in the skillet until brown, about 4 to 6 minutes per side.

Place the skillet into the preheated oven and continue cooking the tenderloins for about 8 minutes until medium-rare, or until the internal temperature reaches 135° degrees. Remove from the oven and move to a cutting board. Tent with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes. The internal temperature of the pork will continue to rise.

Prepare a pan sauce:
½ cup coarsely chopped apple-smoked bacon (about 6 to 8 slices) cooked until crisp, and drained on paper towels
3 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
1 cups dry white wine (Chardonnay works well)
¼ cup apricot/peach/passion fruit jelly
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced

Return the skillet to the stove top and place over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, chicken broth, wine and jelly to the pan. Boil about 20 minutes until reduced to 1 ½ cups, scraping any browned bits from the pan. Strain the sauce into a small sauce pan and place over low heat. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time whisking until incorporated and sauce is smooth. Add the rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.

[Chef’s Note: Sauce can be prepared in advance without incorporating the browned bits from the seared tenderloins. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat until warmed through.]

Moroccan Spice Rub

This rub is as aromatic as it is flavorful. Pork is a wonderful platform to express the combination of spice and citrus, combined with a side of Cardamom Glazed Carrots (recipes below).

Makes approximately ¼ cup spice rub


2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
½ tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
Olive oil


Combine all of the ingredients, except olive oil, in the bowl of a small food processor. Process in short bursts until the ingredients are coarsely ground and combined. If the rub is dry, add olive oil in a slow drizzle just until the mixture has some moisture. You do not want to turn the ingredients into a paste. Rather, the rub should be aromatic and just moist.

Cardamom Glazed Carrots

Serves 4


1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound spring baby carrots, washed and unpeeled
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Zest of ½ orange
½ of a fresh lemon
Chopped chervil, for garnish


Heat olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-low heat. Add butter and melt, stirring to incorporate. Add carrots and cardamom. Toss with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium, and add the orange juice. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat until carrots are just tender, about 5 minutes.

Remove the lid and bring to a boil, cooking off the excess liquid. Remove the pan from the heat, add orange zest and toss. Place in a warmed bowl, sprinkle with chervil leaves and taste. Add a drizzle of fresh lemon juice just to brighten the flavors. Serve immediately.

[Chef’s Notes: In doubling this recipe to serve eight, do not double all of the spices. Instead, double the carrots, butter, and olive oil, then use the specified amount of the rest of the ingredients, and adjust them to taste.

This recipe also works well with packaged or mature carrots.  First peel them, then proceed as directed.]

Recipe by Donna Marie Desfor

Photo: Kelly Cline