Though not a traditional holiday meal, this take on pork tenderloin ends up feeling festive with its red sauce. Serve with greens for a nutritional boost — and to complete the Christmas look. Put the kids on sauce duty, they’ll love to help dump and stir the ingredients.


  • 2 pork tenderloins

  • 5-6 shallots (sliced)

  • Approx. ½ cup less-sodium soy sauce

    • Note: When I have access to really good Japanese soy sauce, I use it here. Otherwise I go with any name brand with less sodium because soy sauce is salty enough already!

  • 2 limes, juiced

  • 4 blood oranges, juiced

  • 1 pomegranate, juiced (optional)

    • Note: Only use this ingredient when in season and fresh.

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine

  • 6-8 large sage leaves, chopped fine

  • 10-12 Madagascar wild peppercorns (optional)

    • Notes: If you want some, I suggest checking out They have all sorts of amazing things, peppercorns and otherwise, there.

    • These peppercorns, when cooked down in the sauce, become soft and pack quite a lot of taste without an excessive amount of heat. They are my daughter’s favorite part of the meal, and she picks them out and piles them on her plate to save for her last few bites!

    • I DO NOT recommend substituting standard black peppercorns or whatever might be lying around. Standard Malabar black peppercorns do not cook down soft, and will be hard, bitter and hot!

  • Approx. ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • Approx. ½ cup real maple syrup, more if you like a sweeter sauce

  • 1 spoonful seed mustard

    • Note: I use Pommery Mustard, found at Fresh Market and Whole Foods.

  • 2 spoonfuls lingonberry jam

    • Note: This is easily found at Fresh Market and Whole Foods.

  • Approx. ½ tablespoon achar masala

    • Note: This is an Indian pickling agent and the main spice for the dish. Start with 1 teaspoon if you want less heat. It can be found at most Indian grocery stores. The consistency is curry-like and the color is bright red.

  • Approx. 2 1/2 cups red wine


  1. Peel garlic. Then finely chop garlic and sage leaves. Add both to a large bowl.

  2. Add achar masala, peppercorns, mustard, lingonberry jam and maple syrup. Set aside.

  3. In a second bowl or large measuring cup, add soy sauce, fruit juice, balsamic vinegar and red wine.

Note: You want approximately 4 cups of liquid, so fill the measuring cup with fruit juice on top of the 2 ½ cups of the red wine rather than measuring the juices exactly.

Note: If you have never juiced a pomegranate, it can be annoying. Just be patient and crush through as much of the flesh of the fruit as you can.

  1. Pour contents of the second bowl into the first. Whisk to make sure maple syrup has combined.

Note: Taste test! Keep in mind that as the sauce cooks down, it will draw out more flavor/heat.

  1. Place pork tenderloins into a bowl and marinate for 4-6 hours. Overnight or skipping this step work, too.

  2. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 385 F.

  3. Heat a pan over medium heat with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

  4. Slice shallots, add to pan and saute until they appear soft and translucent. Set the pan aside.

  5. In a baking dish equipped with a rack, add water or chicken stock.

  6. Place the meat on the rack, then bake on the oven’s middle rack for 40-50 minutes.

  7. While the meat is cooking, pour sauce into a pan and cook over medium heat so that the mixture comes to a boil. Monitor heat and stir occasionally. If it boils too hard, turn the heat down. If it isn’t boiling at all, turn the heat up. Cook the sauce down until about 1/3 of the liquid has cooked away.

Note: This renders the juice that the pork sat in safe to eat and concentrates the sauce.

  1. When the sauce has cooked down, usually after about 15-20 minutes, add the shallots. Stir in and reduce heat to low.

  2. When pork is done, remove and slice into medallions. Spoon sauce over top. Pair with snow or snap peas, bok choy or a mixed green salad, plus steamed rice or sauerkraut.

  • Recipe notes:

    • I have had no problems with this meal keeping in the refrigerator for up to a week.

    • This meal is easily adapted to the grill. Skip the baking dish/oven phase, and just put the tenderloins straight on the grill.

    • You can also skip the cooking sauce down phase and combine it with baking the pork: when sauteing the shallots, do it in the baking dish. Then place the rack with pork on top, then pour sauce over top and cook the whole thing in the oven.

  • Holiday tip: Spoon the sauce over rice and add a few pomegranate seeds or lingonberries and serve with greens.

Tastes of Tradition

Try more Schildknecht family favorites to create your own decadent holiday memories.