During my marathon blog reading session, courtesy of Mr. Bittman, I wandered over to A Lusty Bit of Nourishment. How’s that for a great name? A few clicks later, I was introduced to Cocoa & Chile Pork Tenderloin. As I’ve said before, I love, love, love, the combination of chocolate and spice. So it was only a matter of time before I pulled a tenderloin out of the freezer and gave this a go.
Pork is one of those things that intimidates me. Whether its bad memories of pork from the past, or my obsessive compulsive worrying that it’s going to be undercooked and make everyone sick, I get a little uneasy when I see it on an ingredient list. Unlike a nice marbled piece of beef, pork is extremely lean. So it needs two things: a lot of added flavor and quick cooking. Under seasoned pork tastes pretty bland. Over cooked pork is D.R.Y. And the two together is a waste of good money. So I guess the lesson here is to go big and bold with flavors and rely on an instant read thermometer to keep an otherwise tasty dish from becoming shoe leather.
This recipe calls for two pork tenderloins. Until I opened the package, I didn’t understand that there were actually two small tenderloins pressed together in one package. I’m pretty glad I didn’t defrost the second package of tenderloin that I picked up at Costco. Although, having more leftovers to nibble on wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Cocoa & Chile Pork Tenderloin
Lustybit’s adaptation of Food & Wine Recipe
- 2 pork tenderloins
- 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder (I used half as much chipotle powder and still got a ton of heat)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (I used a little more to try and offset some of the chipotle)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
- Small pat of butter
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cocoa powder, chili powder. Add olive oil in a slow drizzle and stir until you have a thick paste. Smear the paste all over both tenderloins until they are completely covered (this will be a bit messy, just so you know).
Heat a large oven proof pan over medium high heat, add a small amount of olive oil, and brown the tenderloins on all sides.
Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the roast reaches 135 degrees on an instant read thermometer (this took less than 30 minutes in my oven). Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven, transfer tenderloins to cutting board, and cover loosely with foil to rest.
Place (the still hot) pan over a medium high flame. Add white wine or chicken broth to the pan and stir up the bits of fond from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the sauce is reduced by half. Remove from the heat and add a small pat of butter and any juices from the cutting board to the pan. Whisk until butter melts and taste for seasoning.
Slice the tenderloin into medallions and serve with sauce spooned over each serving.