Like any good Southern lady, my Mamma raised me right! While I wouldn’t call us superstitious, she taught me that there are definitely certain traditions to preserve. The Spencer Family recipe for Rich Chocolate Frosting is a must on any yellow birthday cake; ambrosia is a staple on every Thanksgiving table; and pork tenderloin is a given on New Year’s Day. We don’t fool with what works or question our good fortune — and wouldn’t you want to start the New Year off right by enjoying a dish that signifies wealth and prosperity too?
The truth is, I vividly remember childhood New Year’s Day dinners as fancy occasions with extended family. Mom would prepare a pork dish, and always, always, always serve it alongside Hoppin’ John (recipe coming soon!), greens, and sauerkraut. While my Mom definitely raised me well, I can freely admit that my take on New Year’s is not quite as refined as hers!
My idea of a lucky pork tenderloin is one that tastes fancy enough to serve our guests, but that only requires about 10 minutes of my time! Our meals are casual affairs with 4 hungry boys around the table. I don’t fuss over the details, I’m not afraid of shortcuts, and I want effortless food that also happens to taste amazing.
Whether you welcome a New Year with one of my family’s favorite traditions, or whether you’re just serving a quick and easy weeknight dinner, this pork tenderloin is bound to make you feel lucky. I will pair my pork tenderloin with Hoppin’ John and greens on New Year’s Day (just like Mom taught me); but it’s equally delicious alongside a big hunk of cornbread with melted butter and honey on top on any given Wednesday night! No matter when or how you choose to enjoy this dish, it’s a quick-prep meal that will soon become a favorite in your household as well!
Garlic Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin
- 1 1 lb. pork tenderloin
- 2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 sweet onion thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, stir together mustard, brown sugar, olive oil, garlic, and thyme.
- Place sliced onion in a single layer in bottom of prepared dish.
- Season pork with salt and pepper on all sides, and then place on top of onion in the dish.
- Brush half of the mustard mixture over the pork.
- Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove cover, brush with remaining mustard sauce, and put under the broiler for about 5 minutes (or until a crispy crust forms on top), and pork reaches an internal temperature of 140-150 degrees F.
- Remove from oven and allow pork to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.