Pork Tenderloin with Apricots and Figs over Couscous


I have a bit of a confession to make: I’m a legit homebody. It’s true. And as much as I really do love taking trips and finding adventure, my happiest most comfortable place is my cozy home. I’m always so happy to come back to it after time away, even if we’ve only been gone a few days.

The irony of my homebody tendencies is that my children love to travel. And not only do they love to travel, they are the best kind of travelers; easy-going, adventurous, fearless. Every time we take a trip, I remind myself to be more like them.

So we find our way as the kids get older. We are embarking on trips farther and farther away from our home and finding how fun it is to spend time exploring new places as a family. But nothing beats coming back, tired and maybe a little weary to our own home. I never sleep so good as the first night back after time away.

This dinner is perfect for a cozy winter night. I love pork tenderloin because its relatively inexpensive, is lean and so easy to cook; it’s hard to mess it up. This is a recipe I stumbled across a few years ago and initially made with beef. I’ve slowly made it my own and the combination of sweet fruit, caramelized onions, a hint of cinnamon and rich sauce hits all the right notes.


Pork Tenderloin with Apricots and Figs over Couscous

·         2 pork tenderloins (about 3 pounds)

·         2 tablespoons olive oil

·         1 large yellow onion, sliced

·         4 cloves garlic, minced

·         2 teaspoons smoked paprika

·         1 teaspoon dried thyme

·         1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

·         2 tablespoons tomato paste

·         1 bay leaf

·         12 dried apricots

·         6 dried figs

·         1 32-ounce can organic crushed tomatoes

·         kosher salt and black pepper

For couscous

·         2 cups whole wheat couscous

·         2 cups water

·         2 tablespoons minced parsley

·         ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese (or feta cheese)

·         Salt and pepper

In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Liberally coat the pork tenderloins in salt and pepper. Sear each side of the pork for 3-4 minutes until both sides have a golden-brown color. Remove meat from the pot and set aside on a plate.

Turn the heat to low and cook the onion, stirring often, scraping up any bits of meat from the bottom of the pot. When the onion has softened, add garlic, spices and tomato paste. Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, apricots and figs. Add the pork tenderloins back to the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and cook at 325 degrees for about 45 – 60 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers the meat at 145 degrees. At the halfway point, flip the meat in the pot so the sauce covers both sides of the meat.

When the meat is finished cooking, remove the pot from the oven and allow the meat to rest. Put 2 cups couscous in a large bowl. Pour 2 cups boiling water over couscous. Let rest for 5 minutes. When the water is fully absorbed, use a fork to fluff the couscous.

To serve, spoon couscous on each plate. Top the couscous with crumbled goat cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Slice pork tenderloins thinly. Layer slices of meat over the couscous and top with a heaping spoonful of the pan sauce, making sure to scoop up the apricots and figs.

Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.