Meat & Potatoes: Satisfyingly Sweet and Savory Molasses Roasted Pork Tenderloin

This is the fourth day of Meat & Potatoes. Which is a lot of these hearty starchy partners, I know. But I have promised a week of these satisfying meals– so plod on I must!

We started with a traditional Pot Roast. Well, not that traditional, because I roasted my veggies separate and gave the sauce a big swig of vinegar. Thus improving both the taste and texture of this one-dish-wonder.

Speaking of traditions. The French have a Lamb & Potatoes gratin of sorts that they call Lamb Champvallon. In Day 2 I tweeked tradition, re-wrote history and updated my version with a bold new spice and boneless chunks of succulent lamb.

So as not to appear ready to re-write the culinary history of just one country. I also let loose my imagination on the Scots. They have a traditional side dish made with Turnips & Potatoes that they call Neeps & Tatties. Well, Sippity Sup was named after a nursery rhyme after all, so it just made sense to translate the lyrical nature in that phrase for my selfish purposes. So I came up with Neeps & Tattie-Cakes, making my version reminiscent of another great bit a children’s verse. I chose to serve these Tattie-Cakes with Zinfandel Braised Short Ribs.

appleToday it’s pork tenderloin. Something that hits closer to home, at least my home and my history. Because this recipe has southern roots. My mom was big on making pork meals with roasted apples, So there is its provenace. My mom would have simply called it dinner, but I call it Molasses Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Walnuts. Which seems like quite a mouthful if you will pardon my blatent pandering. But I think it’s a pretty good name because it hits all the high points of my recipe. The name however is inadequate because it comes nowhere near conveying the complex flavors both sweet and savory that make this such a satisfying and flavorful pork recipe. But if I’d called it Satisfyingly Sweet and Savory Molassas Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Walnuts and Complex Flavors, I’d lose you. I know what your attention span is like… you are already thinking “where’s the food?”

Molasses Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Walnuts serves 4 CLICK here for a printable recipe


  • 1â/4 c walnut oil
  • 2 T apple juice concentrate
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1 1/2 t corasely ground black pepper
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T molasses
  • 1/2 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 lb boneless pork tenderloin
  • 3 c sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1‑inch cubes
  • 2 firm baking apples such as jonagold cut into 8 sections each
  • 1/4 c chopped walnut pieces
  • 1 T thyme leaves, minced

roasted pork tenderloinCombine the walnut oil, apple juice concentrate, honey black pepper, salt, molasses, apple cider vinegar, into a large zip lock bag. Add the pork the tenderloin to the bag and seal it tightly, pushing out as much air as possible. Let this marinate in the refrigerator at least 8 hours, and up to 3 days.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the tenderloin onto the bottom of a large shallow sided baking dish. Spread the sweet potatoes all around the meat, then pour most of the marinade into the baking dish, until the liquid covers the sweet potatoes about 1/2‑inch. Put the meat and potatoes into the oven and roast 10 minutes. At this time open the oven and baste the meat and potatoes with the pan liquid, then add the apple slices and chopped walnut pieces. Sprinkle the minced thyme over everything and and roast another 20–30 minutes, until an instant read thermometer reads 135 degrees. remove the meat from the oven and move it to a cutting board to rest about 7 minutes. Slice and serve with the potatoes and apples.


Greg Henry