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Maple-Mustard Turkey Tenderloins with Cranberry-Port Sauce

Sweet and slightly smoky maple syrup is an easy way to add full, complex flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. Here, it balances the spiciness of mustard to make a simple glaze for lean turkey tenderloins. A splash of full-bodied port wine contributes to a bold sauce punctuated by sweet-and-sour fresh cranberries and zesty crystallized ginger.

Ingredients:

  • 2 turkey tenderloins, each about 3/4 lb.  
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt  
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper 
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter 
  • 2 Tbs. pure maple syrup 
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard 
  • 1 3/4 cups fresh cranberries 
  • 1/2 cup tawny or ruby port 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 3 Tbs. minced crystallized ginger 

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Using kitchen string, tie each tenderloin crosswise in 3 or 4 places, spacing the ties at even intervals. Season the tenderloins with the salt and pepper.

In a large ovenproof fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the turkey and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Remove from the heat.

In a small bowl, stir together the maple syrup and mustard. Spread about half of the mixture over the tenderloins. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Spread the remaining maple syrup mixture over the tenderloins, return to the oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the tenderloins registers 165°F, about 10 minutes more.

Meanwhile, in a heavy nonreactive saucepan over high heat, combine the cranberries, port, sugar and crystallized ginger and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, at a brisk simmer, stirring often, until the berries have popped and the juices are syrupy, about 10 minutes. Fill a large bowl with ice water. When the sauce is ready, transfer it to a heatproof bowl and nest the bowl in the ice water bath. Let cool, then transfer to a serving bowl.

When the tenderloins are done, transfer them to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes. Snip the strings and cut the tenderloins crosswise into slices 1/2 inch thick.

Divide the turkey evenly among warmed dinner plates, fanning the slices. Spoon some of the cranberry sauce next to each portion and serve immediately. Pass the remaining sauce at the table. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Chicken, by Rick Rodgers (Oxmoor House, 2008).