Sheet Pan Dinner: Pork Tenderloin, Green Beans and Potatoes
- Servings: 3 or easily doubled to 6.
Sheet pan meals aren't new. Someone with more appetite than time, as well as an appreciation of not dirtying every pan in the kitchen, came up with the idea of assembling all the main parts of a meal into one sheet pan and cooking them all at once. With the right combo of ingredients that can taste well together and also will cook properly at the same temperature, it's a technique that produces both great flavor and efficiency (like our recipe for chicken thighs roasted with potatoes, artichoke hearts, and lemon; see our link).
But a recent issue of Cook's Country magazine added a twist to the usual side-by-side cooking by placing a pork tenderloin right on top of a generous row of green beans. The moisture of the pork helps the beans from drying out and any drippings from this mostly lean cut of meat adds flavor. Genius, I thought.
The only drawback to cooking pork tenderloin in this way -- at a high heat and without browning the meat first (which would dry it out) -- is that the pork, while becoming tender and moist, never gets brown. Cook's Country added the visual and flavor touch of brushing the tenderloin first with hoisin sauce, but what if you don't want its sweet flavor? Looking for an alternative, I omitted the hoisin sauce and instead marinated the pork in an olive oil-lemon-garlic mixture, satisfied to have the pork remain pale alongside the golden brown potatoes and shriveled, tender green beans.
Pork tenderloins are always small, usually about one pound each. But it's all lean and no waste, so one tenderloin will easily feed three persons. To serve more or make leftovers, make the recipe as written with two tenderloins.
- One (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed (most are sold already trimmed)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 3 tablespoons
- The zest of 2 lemons
- 1 lemon, juiced (about 3 tablespoons)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 thyme sprigs
- Two large or 3 medium garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
- 1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes; you can substitute larger potatoes, e.g., yukon golds, scrubbed and unpeeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Make the marinade in a measuring cup by combining 1/3-cup olive oil, the zest and juice of one lemon, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4-teaspoon black pepper, the thyme sprigs, and one garlic clove, either grated or finely minced. Place the tenderloin (or two if you're making two) in a plastic ziplock bag. Stir the marinade to combine and pour over the tenderloin, manipulating the bag so that the marinade covers the pork. Seal and refrigerate for at least 3 hours but up to 12 hours.
- Remove the pork from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 450° F.
- In a large bowl combine the green beans, potatoes, 3 tablespoons olive oil, the zest of the other lemon, 1 teaspoon salt, about 8 to 10 grinds of black pepper, and one large or two medium garlic cloves, grated. Using your clean hands, toss to coat.
- Transfer the beans and potatoes to a sheet pan. Organize them so that the beans line up in a row down the center (it's fine if they're piled up on one another) and the potatoes are arranged on both sizes in a single layer, with a cut side down on the pan.
- Remove the pork from its plastic bag and discard the marinade and thyme sprigs. Lightly season the pork with salt and pepper and lay it lengthwise on top of the beans. If you're cooking two tenderloins, arrange them side by side but untouching.
- Roast until the pork registers 140° F, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the tenderloin from the oven and hold it aside, loosely tented with aluminum foil to keep it warm. Do not tightly seal the meat as it will continue to cook and will become dry and overcooked.
- Toss the potatoes and beans together, taking care to turn over the potatoes so that another surface roasts and gets crispy and golden brown. Return the pan to the oven and cook another 10 to 15 minutes until everything is tender and browned.
- Remove from the oven and add 2 tablespoons of butter to the vegetables. Transfer to a serving platter. Cut the tenderloin into 3/4-inch slices and place on top of the vegetables.
- Serve immediately.