Monday, January 20, 2014

Gourmet's "island pork tenderloin"

I prefer to think of it as "Cinnamon pork tenderloin," because that name sounds prettier and is more descriptive. (The editors of Gourmet's superb 2004 cookbook explain that the recipe is "our spin on jerk pork," but if you don't know your Caribbean culinary traditions -- I don't, I merely guess -- such a reference may confuse you.) My photograph does not show the meat as internally juicy as it actually was; it tasted so good that we all ate lots of dinner first, and then I took some pictures.

First, preheat the oven to 350 F. Have two pork tenderloins, about 2 and 1/2 pounds total, unwrapped and ready.

In a small bowl, mix:

  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Rub this mixture over the meat.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a heavy skillet over high heat, "until just beginning to smoke." Sear the meat on all sides, about 4 minutes.

While the meat is browning, prepare a glaze of:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. Tabasco

Remove the skillet from the heat, but leave the meat in it. Pat the sugar glaze all over the tops of the tenderloins. Put the skillet in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the pork shows a temperature of 160 F. (I take my cue here from Madeleine Kamman's New Making of a Cook, rather than from Gourmet. Their suggestion of a 20 minute cooking time and an internal temperature of 140 F, to safely rise 10 to 15 degrees after a few minutes' "resting," strikes me as a bit too sanguine. Literally.)

When the pork is done, take it out of the skillet, put it on a nice plate, and carve it in slices, pouring the pan juices over. Don't skip this step -- one look at the whole tenderloins just sitting there in their bubbling brown sugar drippings will make it clear why this has to be done.

It is very delicious. Good especially with that big, syrupy, cranberry-and-oak Marietta Cellars zinfandel we had been rather disrespectful of a short time ago.

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