EATS: Cocoa Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

3

March 15, 2013 by annmquintero

We’re in luck, Amazons! I had a friend of the Amazons and an Amazon herself (What is it with me hanging out with 6 foot tall women?!) helping me make today’s dish and taking photos.

Petrina is the owner of new NYC-based company, NYFoodBox. NYFoodBox is geared towards New Yorkers who want to cook more, but still want the convenience of delivery and sometimes, quite frankly, don’t know where to start with cooking. While they don’t offer a paleo meal plan, they do offer quick, easy-to-make recipes AND their necessary ingredients for delivery to your home or office. We at UA are fans of Whole30 and the paleo concept, but what is more important to us is that our beloved Amazons have access to knowledge and tools to help make their lives healthier and happier, whatever that means for them. And, like our friends at NYFoodBox, we believe in eating honest food and learning new skills!

slicingPetrina did a fabulous job with the photos, but I don’t want you to get too used to it. As much as I’d love to have her come up and make my food look pretty all the time, y’all are just gonna have to put up with my lameass phone pics most of the time. But for today, bask in the glory of better living through decent photography!

As you know, I am a big fan of the pig. Not only is it tasty, but it’s more easily sustainable and lower in fat than people realize depending on the cut. Did you know that the average pork chop today is about as fatty as a chicken breast? True story. One of my favorite cuts for convenience, frugality, and versatility is the pork tenderloin. With a very small amount of work, you can make a meal in under 30 minutes that’ll impress your friends and neighbors.

When you look for pork tenderloin at the grocery, you’re generally going to find it in a vacuum seal bag with some liquid in it. Some of these liquids are seasoning. Don’t buy those. Not only are they loaded with sodium and godknowswhat, but they take away your chance to get down with your own flavors! I’m going to give you one of my favorite pork tenderloin rubs today, but in truth, the sky’s the limit with this. We’ll talk about other flavors as we go on.

What you’ll need:

Oven safe skillet
Tongs
Smooth edged blade
Good oven mitts

1-2 pork tenderloins (I’ve found that 1 tenderloin usually feeds two people with no leftovers.)
Cocoa powder, unsweetened
Chili powder
Instant coffee (you could also use espresso or turkish grind)
Thyme (fresh or dried is fine)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F

cleaning4First, you have a little butchering to do. When you remove the meat from the packaging, you’ll see that there are a few bits of fat to be trimmed off. But more importantly, there’s what’s called silver skin. This is an indigestible bit of tissue that you’re best off removing. You’ll see, it’s aptly named. Now, a fine butcher would be able to remove the silver skin in a very elegant single stroke, leaving behind a smooth and perfect tenderloin. I’m gonna cover mine in chocolate and hope you don’t notice that I trim meat like I’ve got the palsy.

But! Here’s the idea. Once you find the silver skin, slide the tip of the knife under it, cutting yourself a fingerhold and carefully pinch it with your non-knife hand fingers and then place the butt of the blade underneath and try to slice smoothly away from yourself under that silver skin. It’ll take some practice, but it’s really not that hard. If it ends up a little choppy, that’ll be covered by our rub!

prepAye, there’s the rub! Throw about a tablespoon of each of the powders into a bowl and top off with a healthy sprinkle of thyme. Salt and pepper your neatly trimmed (I won’t tell if you won’t) tenderloins and then sprinkle them with the powder and roll them around to press it in. You want them really coated.

BrowningPut your skillet on med-high to high heat with a little olive oil (or the fat of your choice). Give it time to really get hot. Use the tongs to place the tenderloin(s) in the skillet. You’re going to be just searing them on all sides. This will take about a minute on each side, especially if your pan’s hot enough. Once they’re seared, pop the skillet into your preheated oven. In 15-20 minutes, take them out and put them on a cutting board to rest for another 5-10 minutes. Resting will allow the meat to finish cooking and the juices that are boiling to redistribute so that when you cut into it, the moisture will stay in the meat and not run all over the board. Please, please, please be careful when removing the pan. That handle is going to be screaming hot. Dar and I can attest to that. (If you’d like to do some nerdy reading on caring for cast iron, I recommend this article.)

plated-meal2When ready to serve, slice on the diagonal for pretty presentation. With the dark rub outside and the tender white meat inside, it’s a wonderfully pretty plate with your favorite veggies. I chose to riff on a recent post and made butternut squash with bacon, thyme, and hazelnuts. Yum!

(If this is your first time reading EATS, I encourage you to check out the Introductions post for my philosophy and list of must-have kitchen items.)

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3 thoughts on “EATS: Cocoa Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

  1. Uriel Maimon says:

    this looks so awesome. I love cocoa and meat! I need to try a sous-vide version of this!

  2. […] on vacation, so I should come back with renewed vigor.  Of course, the Amazing Ann has her EATS post on Friday and we’ll have a fresh book club for you Monday courtesy of Nikki from […]

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