Even with a foot of snow on the ground, we grill. This time it was a smoky grilled turkey tenderloin with sweetness from a mixture of berries with a touch of honey plus spiciness from chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. Strawberry balsamic vinegar also added a bit of tang. (I used Queen Creek Olive Mill‘s balsamic.)
If you don’t count the olive oil, salt, and pepper, this grilled turkey tenderloin recipe only has 5 ingredients. Don’t feel like firing up the grill? Sear the tenderloin in some olive oil, then roast it in the oven instead.
The trickiest part of cooking the turkey is knowing when it’s done, whether you’re grilling or roasting. A cooking thermometer takes the guesswork away. The CompostMaster, expert that he is, says receiving a Thermapen® to test changed his grilling life. What’s not to like about a digital thermometer with giant numbers that gives a reading quickly? He fell so in love with his Thermapen® that we gave one to my brother for Christmas. My brother is now a fan too. I highly recommend that you download this handy, dandy food temperature chart. We’ve laminated the chart and keep it in a special place in our kitchen.
This berry chipotle sauce is subject to endless variations. Given that it isn’t exactly berry season, I used a bag of frozen mixed berries that included raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. You could use any one of those alone or in any other combination. In the summer, you could also use fresh fruit. If you go this route, you’ll need to add some water and you may not need the honey if the berries are perfectly ripe and sweet enough on their own.
Regarding the chipotle chile, remember that a little goes a long way. Start with a little adobo sauce and a tiny bit of chopped chile. If that isn’t too much heat for you, you can always add more. Did you add too much chipotle by mistake? Just throw in some extra fruit or honey. The sweetness will counterbalance the heat. Do you hate buying a whole can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce and only using a little bit? Freeze the rest in individual portions.
Winter or summer, this grilled turkey tenderloin with berry chipotle sauce is perfect. It would make a romantic entrée for Valentine’s Day too.
Disclosure: I received a Thermapen® from ThermoWorks free for review purposes. All opinions are my own (and the CompostMaster’s).
Grilled Turkey Tenderloin with Berry Chipotle Sauce
- 10 ounces frozen mixed berries thawed (with juices)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon strawberry or raspberry balsamic vinegar
chipotle chile in adobo sauce
minced plus 1 teaspoon of the sauce
- 2 turkey tenderloins about 1 1/2 pounds total
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
MAKE THE SAUCE
In a small saucepan, combine thawed fruit and juices, honey, vinegar, chipotle, and adobo sauce. (If you don't have much juice, add 1 tablespoon water). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally. Smash the berries against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon as the mixture simmers. Cook until berries have mostly disintegrated, about 10 minutes.
Strain into a bowl, pressing the mixture firmly against the strainer to extract as much liquid as possible. Scrape the bottom of the strainer occasionally with a separate spoon. You should end up with about 1/2 cup of sauce. Discard the solids.
GRILL THE TURKEY
Rub each tenderloin all over with about 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Grill, turning a few times, until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Ours took about 21 minutes on a gas grill.
Transfer turkey to cutting board and let it rest about 10 minutes.
PUT IT TOGETHER
Thinly slice turkey and serve with sauce.
Fresh berries (any combination of raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries) may be used instead of frozen. Add about 1 tablespoon water since you won't have any juices.
If you want your sauce to be vibrant red in color, use raspberries as your only fruit.
If you aren't a big fan of spicy food, start with just a little bit of the adobo sauce. If the resulting berry sauce isn't too hot for you, add in some of the chipotle pepper. A little chipotle goes a long way.
If your sauce ends up being too spicy for you, add in more fruit or honey. The sweetness will provide a counterbalance for the heat.