Wondering about the best way to cook pork medallions in the oven? This lean, moist cut is ideal for roasting and goes well with a wide range of spices. Depending on the ingredients used, it can be just as healthy as chicken or turkey breast.
The best way to cook pork medallions in the oven is to tenderize, sear and bake them. Marinate the meat overnight or for at least one hour before cooking to enhance its flavor and tenderness.
Is Pork Medallion Really Healthy?
Pork meat used to have a bad rap because of its high fat content. A growing number of customers are choosing turkey, chicken or lean beef for their daily meals. What you may not know is that pork meat is about 50 percent leaner than it was 25 years ago, as reported by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. It also cooks faster, so you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen.
Read more: 15 of the Best Lean Animal Proteins
Low in fat and calories, pork medallions can replace poultry in most recipes. These circular cuts come from the pork tenderloin, or pork fillet, and can be roasted, grilled or fried in a pan. Just make sure you don't overcook them because they'll dry out and lose their flavor. Each serving of roasted pork tenderloin (3 ounces) provides the following nutrients, as per USDA data:
- 122 calories
- 22.2 grams of protein
- 3 grams of fat, including 1 gram of saturated fat
- 19 percent of the DV (daily value) of zinc
- 8 percent of the DV of potassium
- 6 percent of the DV of magnesium
- 20 percent of the DV of vitamin B12
- 83 percent of the DV of tryptophan
- 97 percent of the DV of tyrosine
Roasted chicken breast, by comparison, has 142 calories, 26.7 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat per serving (3 ounces). It's significantly lower in zinc and vitamin B12 but higher in most amino acids compared to pork tenderloin.
When consumed regularly, fresh lean pork meat may help you slim down. In a July 2012 study published in Nutrients, overweight subjects who ate 2.2 pounds of lean pork meat weekly for six months experienced a decrease in body weight, fat mass, abdominal fat and waist circumference. It's clear that this type of meat may improve body composition and can be part of a healthy diet.
How to Marinate Pork Medallions
Pork medallions are juicy and tender, so it's not necessary to marinate them unless you want to. Marinades, though, can enhance their flavor and keep them moist while cooking, notes the Mayo Clinic.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver recommends preparing the marinade at least one hour before cooking. If you can make it the day before, that's even better. His recipe calls for cumin seeds, fennel seeds, garlic cloves, sweet smoked paprika and fresh thyme. You will also need fresh orange juice, balsamic vinegar, ketchup, salt and pepper.
There are plenty of other marinade recipes you can try. Our Fresh Mango Marinade, for instance, takes just five minutes to prepare. It requires fresh mango, ginger root, orange juice, red pepper flakes and other healthy ingredients that yield an amazing flavor. Depending on your preferences, you may also use oyster sauce, rice vinegar, pineapple juice, cumin or dried oregano in pork marinades.
Once the marinade is ready, combine it with pork meat in a large bowl or a ziplock bag. Use a half-cup of liquid per pound of meat. Remove the pork medallions from the marinade before cooking and transfer them to the oven.
Pork Medallions Oven Time
The best way to cook pork medallions in the oven is to tenderize, sear and bake them, as recommended by the U.K.'s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. This will help prevent overcooking and boost their flavor.
If you've marinated the meat, it should already be tender. Next, fry it on one side over medium heat for about three minutes. Turn it over and put it in a roasting pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for six to eight minutes or until its internal temperature reaches at least 145 F. Let it rest for three minutes or longer before serving.
Another easy way to cook pork tenderloin in the oven is to roast it. Marinade it beforehand if desired. Roast the meat in a shallow pan (uncovered) at 425 to 450 F until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145 F, advises the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Read more: Pork Tenderloin With Apricots
Cooking time depends on the size of the cut. A half-pound to 1 1/2 pounds of pork tenderloin will take 20 to 27 minutes to cook if you use the above method. Store it in the refrigerator at 40 F for three to four days or freeze it for no longer than three months.
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: "Roasting Those 'Other' Holiday Meats"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Roasted Pork Tenderloin"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Roasted Chicken Breast"
- Nutrients: "Effects of Eating Fresh Lean Pork on Cardiometabolic Health Parameters"
- Mayo Clinic: "How Meat and Poultry Fit in Your Healthy Diet"
- Jamie Oliver: "How to Make the Ultimate Pork Marinade"
- Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board: "How to Cook Pork Medallions"
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: "Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart"
- USDA Food Safety anda Inspection Service: "Fresh Pork From Farm to Table"