Last weekend we hosted Christmas/dinner with friends, and while I love to cook I sometimes have a hard time deciding what to make for a large crowd. I want something festive, somewhat easy (I don’t want to be in the kitchen for hours and miss the party), really good, adult and kid friendly, and budget friendly. With the potential for 15 people attending, including kiddos, it took me a couple of weeks to find something I was happy with.
Originally I was going to go with tacos, quick, easy, and everyone can bring something to chip in, but that doesn’t make me think Christmas (it’s on for Cinco de Mayo though!). After going through my recipe collection I came across an old favorite that fit all of my criteria!
Cranberry Pork Tenderloin! It’s so yummy, and looks like Christmas with the cranberry sauce served with it. Plus pork is less expensive than beef, so it’s a win all the way around!
Cranberry Pork Tenderloin
Serves 4 Time about 50 min
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Pork Tenderloin (about 1 lb)
1/2 tsp each kosher salt and pepper
1 small red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-Preheat oven to 350. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tsp oil, over med-high heat. season pork with salt and pepper; brown lightly all over, about 5 min.
-Transfer pork to a foil-lined 9×13 baking pan. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to frying pan, reduce heat to medium, and add onion. Cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, then pour in chicken broth, cranberry sauce, rosemary, and vinegar. Cook 2 minutes.
-Pour hot cranberry sauce over pork and bake, uncovered, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 160, about 20 minutes. Let pork rest 10 minutes, then slice and serve with sauce.
I got this recipe from Sunset Magazine’s wine club. I seriously miss that wine club, because they send you a recipe to go with each bottle of wine you get. I highly recommend it for those that love wine and cooking! Once I’m back to working FT that’s one of the first extra’s I want to add back to our life!
I used a 5.6 lb pork loin, and added 15 min to the baking time. After that I started checking the temp with a meat thermometer until it hit 160…I want to say it was close to 60 min. I forget. Trust the thermometer and it will turn out beautifully!
One thing I’ve learned about cooking for gatherings is pick something that can be prepped/cooked ahead of time 100%, grill it, or pick something that spends the majority of it’s cooking time in the oven…that way you will be part of the party rather than in the kitchen the whole time!