How to Cook Pork Tenderloin Jacques’s Way

The menu for the week was blank. Blondie and Ol’ Fuzz Face were in torrid disagreement on what to do. All they could find in the freezer were two pork tenderloin steaks. There was great unhappiness in the air. In a desperate move, I, the one and only Pierre LeChat, made the decision. We will learn how to cook pork tenderloin Jacques’s way.

farmhouse cuisine

No, the freezer wasn’t bare. However, over the last week, Blondie and Fuzzy had prepared beef, lamb, and chicken. They would not speak of vegetables, pasta, or fish because they had just finished a Lenten season in which they voluntarily abstained from meat three days per week.

So, they had to shop their pantry for something different, and pork tenderloin was all there was. Unfortunately, the soon-to-be-world-famous Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen had no recipes for that particular cut of pork.

The Quest for a Jacques Pépin Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Taking my decision to heart, my amazing friends searched high and low for how Jacques Pépin would prepare pork tenderloin with the ingredients they had on hand. None of their standard reference cookbooks contained such a recipe.

Ever onward, they searched through the Internet. Alas! There were no recipes that fit the bill. Blondie and Fuzzy were, to say the least, most frustrated. They needed help.

As we have come to expect, it was Mr. Monte who stumbled across a KQED episode of Jacques Pépin Cooking At Home. The dish Jacques prepared was called Pork Tenderloin Steak with Mushrooms and Corn. But, this was just a video, there was no written recipe. True, the footnotes to the video listed the primary ingredients. It was up to the viewer to interpret and remember what Jacques did and what order he did it.

That is where I stepped in and transcribed the entire episode. The recipe in this post is taken from my copious notes.

Persnickety Pierre’s Criteria of Excellence

Although this SFH Test Kitchen adventure was not planned, Chef Blondie decided to record the proceedings and make the results available to you, our esteemed and faithful viewers. Of course, the test would be conducted in accord with my personally developed – Persnickety Pierre’s Criteria of Excellence:

  1. Level of the challenge
  2. Selection of good-quality ingredients
  3. Use of cooking techniques
  4. Development of superior taste and flavor
  5. Presentation

In the SFH Test Kitchen, we take our work seriously. We test recipes under the same conditions and with the same challenges that confront any amateur home chef. The only difference is the SFH-TK staff is scientific and methodical. We record each step of the recipe process and analyze the results. Our end goal is to have a fail-proof, go-to recipe that can be listed on your weekly menu with the highest degree of confidence.

It works for the SFH-TK and it will work for you. 

Test Results & Commentary

As this was not a scheduled recipe test, the Test Kitchen staff had to make a lot of preparations on the fly. This, of course, can lead to some missteps and consume valuable time. Nevertheless, under firm guidance from Chef Blondie, every staff member performed admirably.

It goes without saying, but I shall say it anyway, Jacques Pépin has a range and depth of culinary skill that cannot be matched. This particular recipe presents both the essence of simplicity and an unusual element of surprise. The inclusion of frozen corn caught us off guard, but it contributed greatly to enjoyment of this dish.

1. Level of the Challenge

This is meant to be a simple, low-cost meal. It’s perfect for preparation in an old farmhouse or average home kitchen. Although our recipe allows 20 minutes for preparation and 40 minutes for cooking, the meal could easily be made in half that time. This is a meal that could be used by an entry-level home chef as a means to learn and perfect simple cooking techniques.

2. Selection of Good-quality Ingredients

Sometimes the recipe dictates the ingredients. In this case, however, the ingredients dictated the recipe. This is what the SFH-TK had on hand. The quality of the pork was excellent. The onion and corn were waiting for someone to use them. The mushrooms were fresh and ready take on subtle shades of flavor from the other ingredients. Unfortunately, we had no chives or suitable substitute, to use for a garnish.

3. Use of Cooking Techniques

This is meant to be a simple, low-cost meal. The SFH-TK staff encountered little difficulty in preparation of this recipe. The techniques used are simple and straightforward.

4. Development of Superior Taste and Flavor

Here is where the Test Kitchen staff deviated from Jacques’s video presentation. He chose to use V8 juice to develop a certain degree of acidity. Prior to adding the juice, he mentioned that you could use wine instead, but he did not specify white or red. The SFH-TK pantry had no V8 juice, so we opted to use red wine. We found the results to be quite satisfying. During our tasting session, we found the flavor to be well developed and we did not sense any deficiency in the level of acidity.

5. Presentation

The use of red wine changed the appearance of the dish. It made the meal components take on a reddish hue that tends to detract from the more natural colors of the pork and mushrooms. V8 juice produces the same effect, but to a lesser extent. Perhaps a good choice for us in the future would be to use a white wine.

Obviously, Ol’ Fuzz Face did not read my review Jacques’ Lentil Salad – SFH TK Test. Once again, he trotted out the Willow Pattern China for presenting this dish. Badly done, Fuzzy! That pattern is a distraction. Next time, be more careful in plating.

Remember, I’m watching. And they don’t call me Persnickety Pierre without good reason.

How to Cook Pork Tenderloin Jacques’s Way

So, without further ado, here is Jacques’s recipe. We’ve included pictures showing how the Test Kitchen employed his techniques. – If you desire to learn more about Jacques’s approach to cooking, check out his book Jacques Pépin New Complete Techniques.

Jacques's pork tenderloin steak

Pork Tenderloin Steak with Mushrooms and Corn

This is meant to be a simple, low-cost meal. It's perfect for preparation in an old farmhouse or average home kitchen. Although our recipe allows for 20 minutes of preparation and 40 minutes of cooking, the meal could easily be made in half that time.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Servings 4


  • 1 Frying pan


  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup sliced onion
  • ¼ cup red wine or V8 vegetable juice
  • 8 oz. coarsely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • chives


  • Remove thick skin on top of the steaks using sharp knife.
  • Makes four 4-oz. steaks.
  • Add butter and oil to skillet
  • Place steaks in pan. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side. The pan doesn't need to be covered, but Jacques partially covers it to prevent splattering.
  • Add sliced onions to pan.
  • Remove steaks, they should be slightly pink in the center
  • Continue to sauté onions and add wine or V8 juice; reduce, then pour over steaks.
  • Add butter and oil to pan
  • Sauté coarsely chopped mushrooms; add a bit of water if necessary
  • Add 1/2 cup corn; salt & pepper to taste
  • Add chives as garnish; sauté slightly
  • Add mushroom & corn as side for loin steaks
    Jacques's pork tenderloin steak


Keyword Pork tenderloin steak

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