Monday, March 7, 2011

Xan: Cocoa Cherry Pork Tenderloin

My relationship with cooking is definitely still in the "novelty stage," where everything is new and full of surprises.  I have never cooked most things, and I am still coming across totally mainstream vegetables or cuts of meat that I just haven't gotten around to trying out yet.

So with pork tenderloin!  Tonight I cooked one for the first time, and it was the right combination of delicious, inexpensive and easy.  Furthermore, pork tenderloin is especially good if you are eternally tasked with feeding someone who is both cutlery challenged (hey, no bones or fat!) and inexplicably likes her meat medium instead of medium-rare (the tenderloin tapers to one end, so there's a gray-dient).

I followed this video recipe from foodwishes.  The pork is rubbed with cocoa powder and chili powder, and served over a cherry-vinegar sauce.  It was delicious:

Yes, it came out perfect on the first time, just like every other meat I have ever roasted, thanks to my innate ability to own a meat thermometer.  Here's mine.  I guess this is just one of those have-it-or-you-don't cooking skills; if you find yourself unable to own a meat thermometer, I'm afraid you will just have to compensate with actual cooking experience and skill.  FYI this pork was taken out when it hit 145 F.

To go with, zucchini and sweet potatoes.  After an initial sear on the stovetop, the pork is transferred to the oven to finish cooking, so I sauteed the zucchini in the pork pan, with a little olive oil, some salt, pepper, and oregano...really delicious.  In other news, I have been cutting my sweet potatoes a bit thicker lately so they will have a nonempty interior of squishy goodness.

Question: What would you serve with pork tenderloin?  To me, a "standard" meal is meat+vegetable+starch.  In the starch category, rice and pasta are my most frequent choices.  Bread is also a good choice but it takes more work and actual planning.  I don't cook potatoes enough but that's on the rise...would roast potatoes be welcome here?  I would say yes automatically except I can't remember ever eating roast potatoes with pork.  Maybe I should just forget my starch and go with apples...

In my accounting, sweet potatoes are somewhere in between a vegetable and a starch; I picked them because rice and pasta obviously don't belong here, and I didn't have bread, and I didn't think of roast potatoes.

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