Herb Crusted Pork Loin with Zinfandel Reduction

Recipe Pin
1 hour 35 minutes
10 servings

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My tender and juicy Herb Crusted Pork Loin with Zinfandel Reduction is brimming with both savory and sweet notes and rich with fall flavor!

pork tenderloin slices and arranged on a white platter, with a wine sauce

During preparation, an otherwise nondescript pork tenderloin is rubbed with an herb-sugar-Dijon ‘paste’ which forms a sweet and sticky crust while roasting. The result is a delicious, anything but nondescript, pork roast dish sure to please!

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And for serving, a spiced old vine Zin morphs into to an intoxicating glaze you’ll soon not forget. Until you’ve prepared reduction sauces, knowing what you’ve been missing is next to impossible.

One level cup boils down to mere tablespoons of plummy magic. If you are unable to source an old vine Zinfandel, a lively red wine or sweet port wine will also work.

Cooking with wine is rewarding, in that dishes require fewer ingredients for the main ingredient to shine. Both Zinfandel and fragrant herbs are the heavy lifters in boneless pork sirloin roast. This method will also work well with different cuts of meat and different cuts of pork such as tomahawk pork chops and thick-cut veal chops.

All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC

Herb Crusted Pork Roast Ingredients

  • boneless pork tenderloin
  • olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • Dijon mustard
  • whole grain Dijon mustard
  • brown sugar
  • fresh rosemary leaves
  • fresh thyme leaves
  • old vine Zinfandel wine
  • granulated sugar
  • fresh rosemary branch about 3 to 4-inches in length
a thick red wine sauce being drizzled over slices of warm pork loin

What Are The Best Herbs for Crusting?

So, the Zinfandel is a given, but what about the herbs? The herbs that are best to use for an herb crusted pork dish are rosemary and thyme.

Together with two types of Dijon mustard, brown sugar, and black pepper, these few ingredients are enough to perfectly season your boneless pork roast. If you would like to build onto the fresh herbs, consider adding minced fresh sage or a few shakes of your favorite dried herbs, however fresh rosemary and fresh thyme are integral.

Equipment Needed

In addition to a small bowl in which to prepare the herb crust mixture, you will need a sharp kitchen knife and cutting board for mincing the herbs. If you prefer to mince the herbs in a small food processor, you will certainly shave some time off prep. I recommend mixing everything with a wooden spoon.

You will also need a roasting pan with a meat rack insert or an elongated baking dish and an insert on which the roast rests, an instant-read thermometer or old school meat thermometer, and a small saucepan for reducing the zinfandel.

Temperature and Time Considerations

When the internal temperature of the pork reaches 145°F in the thickest part of the meat, it’s fully cooked. Depending on the cut, the weight, and how thick it is, this could take anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes.

Following the oven time, the piece of meat should be wrapped in aluminum foil and allowed to rest for several minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. I allow 15-20 minutes for this, tightly double-wrapped.

Allow your self time when preparing this dish so you can perfectly time it with guests arriving or other recipes you need to prepare. The meat can always be kept warm on a serving platter in a hot oven or re-warmed in an oven proof skillet.

a large meat platter with slices of pork loin drizzled in a zinfandel reduction, with herbs and Dijon

How to Make Pork Loin with Red Wine Reduction

Before Beginning

Preheat oven to 400°F. Assemble a shallow roasting pan with a meat rack insert. Alternatively, use an elongated baking dish with an insert.

If you plan to assemble a later gravy from the bottom of the pan drippings, add 1/2-cup of slightly warmed ham or chicken stock into the bottom of the roasting pan. If not planning gravy, add 1/2-cup of tepid water to be discarded after the roast.

NOTE: pan dripping gravy or au jus needn’t be made the same day; see my method for a delicious and gluten-free au jus gravy from drippings and consider freezing the drippings from this recipe for future use.

Tear at least one sheet of aluminum foil sizeable enough to wrap the pork roast in once it’s finished cooking. Set all aside.

Preparing the Crust

In a small mixing bowl, combine both Dijons, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of fresh minced rosemary, 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, several cracks of black pepper, and a hefty pinch of Kosher salt.

The mixture will be somewhat runny and this is correct. If you are concerned the herbs will drip off during the roast, baste first with pan juices then add an additional teaspoon of each to the top of the meat during the final 10-minutes of oven time.

Cook the Pork Loin

Rinse the meat under cold running water. Place roast atop a sheet or sheets of paper towel to drain and pat dry.

Rub a tablespoon of olive oil all over the meat including the ends. Season roast liberally with salt and black pepper and let stand for 15 minutes, as this will also allow the roast to come to room temperature.

Pat the pork with the crust mixture on all sides packing it as best you can. Place pork on the roasting rack (fat side up if it has a cap) and place the roasting pan on the center rack in the preheated oven.

Roast until pork registers 145°F in the thickest part and springs back upon touch. The cooking time will range, but for a 4-pound roast, plan on 55 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes.

a creamer filled with a port wine sauce

Make a Zinfandel Reduction Sauce

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat to start, add the Zinfandel and the granulated sugar. Whisk constantly to dissolve the sugar.

Once the mixture comes to a low boil, reduce to medium heat. Toss in the rosemary branch and reduce the liquid by 3/4 or until it coats the back of a spoon, about 15 to 18-minutes. Keep warm on a rear burner.

Assembly

When the roast is done resting, unwrap and slice into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Arrange on a meat platter and garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme if desired. Drizzle lightly with a tablespoon of the reduction and offer the remaining reduction in a gravy boat passed tableside.

What Sides Go Best With Herb Crusted Pork?

If you’re needing serving suggestions for this pork roast recipe, I highly recommend a Mac and Cheese. Creamy ribbons of savory cheese sauce blanketing every al dente noodle compliments every aspect of this pork recipe.

Green beans flavored with pecans and brown butter, or an easy corn pudding are great choices also.

Modifying the Norm to Make It Not Entirely Average

  • Add a tablespoon of pure maple syrup to the crust mixture and apply to the tops of seasoned pork chops. Allow to marinate 1 hour in a baking dish, then bake for a maple-infused variation on this method.
  • Substitute a tablespoon of molasses in lieu of the brown sugar in the crust mixture and coax caramelization during the roast.
  • Skip the Zinfandel glaze and make an easy gravy or au jus from the pan drippings and spoon over the roast before serving.

Pairings

White wines with a touch of juiciness, such as Riesling, Chardonnay, or Pinot Blanc, work fantastic with both pork AND the fresh rosemary. If you are leaning toward a red, choose lighter-bodied but juicy red wines to accompany your Pork Tenderloin, such as Beaujolais or Côtes du Rhône.

What type of pan should I use to cook the pork?

A roasting pan with a rack insert is recommended for this method, however you can certainly improvise by using a baking dish large enough to fit the meat, and either place a meat rack inside or make a rack out of a bed of vegetables such as carrots and celery. This is a clever idea if you also plan to save the pan drippings for a future gravy or au jus, as the veg will naturally flavor the drippings.

How can I tell when the pork is done cooking?

Pork is fully cooked when the internal temperature on an instant-read thermometer reads 145°F. One of the steps in this method is wrapping the loin in foil to let it rest. Once wrapped, the temperature will continue to rise by a few degrees as the juices redistribute.

How can I make sure the herbs stay on the pork during cooking?

The paste does a pretty good job at adhering to the meat and forming a crust, but if you are concerned it will drip off, during the final 10-minutes of oven time, baste the meat with the pan juices then add an additional teaspoon of each minced herb to the top of the meat.

Featured image for herb crusted pork loin with zinfandel wine sauce.

Herb Crusted Pork With Zinfandel Reduction

Jenny DeRemer
Herb crusted pork loin roast is the recipe for weeknights or for special occasions, tender and juicy with a drizzle of red wine reduction.
5 from 29 votes
Servings: 10 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Resting Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 10 servings
Calories 313 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 4 pound boneless pork tenderloin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt to season and taste
  • black pepper to season and taste
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar light or dark
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper coarsely ground
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary fresh, minced
  • 2 tablespoons thyme fresh, minced
  • 1 cup Zinfandel wine **use an old vine red Zinfandel
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 3 to 4 inch long rosemary branch plus additional in-tact branches for garnish

Instructions
 

cook the pork

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Assemble a shallow roasting pan with a meat rack insert. Alternatively, use an elongated baking dish with an insert. NOTE: If you plan to assemble a later gravy or au jus from the bottom of the pan drippings, add 1/2-cup of slightly warmed ham or chicken stock into the bottom of the roasting pan. If not planning gravy, add 1/2-cup of tepid water to be discarded after the roast. Tear at least one sheet of aluminum foil sizeable enough to wrap the pork roast in once it's finished cooking. Set all aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine both Dijons, brown sugar, minced rosemary, thyme leaves, several cracks of black pepper, and a hefty pinch of Kosher salt. The mixture will be wet but not runny. If runny, add additional herbs and re-mix. The paste does well at adhering to the meat and forming a crust but if you are concerned the herbs will dislodge during the roast, during the final 10-minutes of oven time, add an additional teaspoon of each minced herb to the top of the meat.
  • Rinse the meat under cold running water. Place roast atop a sheet or sheets of paper towel and pat dry. Rub a tablespoon of olive oil all over the meat including the ends. Season roast liberally with salt and black pepper and let stand for 15 minutes, as this will also allow the roast to come to room temperature.
  • Pat the pork with the crust mixture on all sides packing it as best you can. Place pork on the roasting rack (fat side up if it has a cap) and place the roasting pan on the center rack in the preheated oven.
  • Roast until pork registers 145°F in the thickest part and springs back upon touch. The cooking time will range, but for a 4-pound roast, plan on 55 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes. Once fully roasted, remove from oven and wrap tightly in the aluminum foil. Rest 15 to 20 minutes. I like to place directly on a baking sheet and into the still hot oven with the heat off and the oven door cracked.

make a Zinfandel reduction

  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat to start, add the Zinfandel and the granulated sugar. Whisk constantly to dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture comes to a low boil, reduce to medium heat. Toss in the rosemary branch, muddle the leaves gently using the back of a wooden spoon, and reduce the liquid by 3/4 or until it coats the back of a spoon, about 15 to 18-minutes. Keep warm on a rear burner removing the rosemary branch prior to serving.
  • When the roast is done resting, unwrap and slice into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Arrange on a meat platter (you can also warm the meat platter by placing it into a still hot oven with the door cracked) and garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme if desired. Drizzle lightly with a tablespoon of the reduction and offer the remaining reduction in a bowl or creamer passed tableside.

Notes

Please Note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not use table salt or iodized salt in any of the recipes you find on Not Entirely Average UNLESS specified otherwise.
Store Leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. To Reheat Leftover Pork place slices in an ovenproof skillet with 1/4-cup chicken or ham stock. Place into a preheated 375°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with leftover wine sauce. 
Variations and Substitutions:
    • Add a tablespoon of pure maple syrup to the crust mixture and apply to the tops of seasoned pork chops. Allow to marinate for 1 hour in a baking dish, then bake for a maple-infused variation on this method.
    • Substitute a tablespoon of molasses in lieu of the brown sugar in the crust mixture and coax caramelization during the roast.
    • Skip the Zinfandel glaze and make an easy gravy or au jus from the pan drippings and spoon over the roast before serving.
Tips for The Tastiest Roast:
  • Although convenient, dried herbs do a disservice to the final recipe as compared to fresh herbs. If you want to add dried herbs in some form, add them ONLY as a way to elevate the primary fresh herbs which are rosemary and thyme.
 

The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.

Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 313kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 41gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.001gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 273mgPotassium: 708mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 87IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 28mgIron: 2mg
Did you love this recipe?Leave a comment and Let me know how it was!

5 from 29 votes (22 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




13 Comments

  1. Love this! The pork loin was so juicy and the sauce was amazing. It really complemented the meat. Thanks for sharing this!5 stars

  2. The red wine reduction was really the star of the dish. It added such depth and richness to the pork. Honestly felt like some masterchef haha. The pork loin came out so juicy and tender. Definitely a recipe I’ll be making again.5 stars

  3. I didn’t have Zinfandel wine, so I used Merlot instead, and it turned out fantastic. Such a delicious sauce! I also followed the tip to add chicken stock for the gravy, and it was worth it. The gravy was incredibly flavorful.5 stars

  4. I was looking for something to do with the pork loin I got from the store and came across this recipe. WOW is it good! I absolutely love this wine sauce and may try it with other meats too. Do you think it would be good with chicken?5 stars

    1. Marie, I have done this method/sauce with thick-cut pork chops, stuffed veal chops (tomahawk), and chicken thighs (boneless/skinless). It’s pure magic for proteins. x – Jenny

  5. The combination of mustard, rosemary & red wine was unbelievably good! I’m bookmarking this one to make again soon.5 stars