Monday, February 28, 2011

Cocoa Cherry Pork Tenderloin – Based on a True Story

My favorite candy growing up was the chocolate covered cherry. I didn't have them often, but when I did, it was always a special treat. The way that thin, crisp chocolate would break away to reveal the florescent red maraschino cherry suspended in the clear syrup was intoxicating.

I almost never eat them anymore; only on the rare occasion my mother, Pauline, or mother-in-law, Peggy, happen to have some out, usually around the holidays. One such occasion came on my recent trip back to Clifton Springs, NY, and as I enjoyed the sweet treat a strange thought popped into my brain. What about a savory dish that celebrated the same basic flavors?
I remembered seeing Alton Brown use cocoa in a rub for chicken, and since I had a pork tenderloin sitting in the fridge, just a shelf away from a jar of black cherry preserves, I figured, why not?

I really loved how this came out, and while it's obviously an unsweetened version of chocolate being used, the plate definitely had some of the same culinary DNA as my beloved candied cherries. Anyway, that's the odd-but-true story of how this recipe ended up here, and as usual, I hope you give it a try and tell me what you think. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1-2 pork tenderloins
salt as needed
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
For the rub:
2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle
For the sauce:
1/3 cup cherry preserves
1/3 cup white vinegar
big pinch of oregano

View the complete recipe

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Humm Pork tenderloin sitting in the fridge just awaiting inspiration to strike.

Having company over who don't like 'hot'. How much heat does the rub add to the dish once it's cooked?

Anonymous said...

I think from now on every one will be looking for you in the bowls reflection... don't disappoint us!

rancholyn said...

Another great recipe...by the way, what was that green stuff on side? Caesar Salad? or what??

Anonymous said...

I had pork tenderloin already in the fridge and cherry preserves on the shelf.

I know I should try a recipe as written first but didn't have ancho chili powder (didn't want to go to the store and don't need another spice bottle on the shelf) so subbed regular dark chili powder for that.

It's a winner. I didn't get much cocoa taste (thought I'd liberally used rub, but maybe not) but there was a slight chili warmth that grew a bit. Cherry sauce made it really good and I really liked the oregano in it.

Chef John said...

Hard to say since heat is subjective, but I didn't think it was that spicy at all.

The side was the jicama apple slaw we did.

You really dont get a strong cocoa taste, it's more of a subtle thing.

Thanks! P.S. I wish you guys would use your names so I can do these multiple responses! ;-)

Rita said...

i've been wondering what else to do with a pork tenderloin... now, i know! what's the shelf life of a homemade dry rub?

also, is michelle, your wife, on about.com now? (the same web site where i first found you, years ago). i was watching her vid last nite and i recognized the theme music and the catch-phrase - just want to make sure. by the way, she's gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Dear Chef John,

You have no idea how many times I've refreshed this page in the past 24 hours just to wait for an update on the foodwishes blog. It literally makes my day every time there's an update, because I know that I can follow your recipe and make a meal that's not only edible, but delicious. ^^

Sincerely,
foodwishes follower who is in dire need of more updates on this site :)

Anonymous said...

This recipe looks fantastic and its easy on the eye. Pork and slaw go so well together. Keep it up chef!

Food Junkie said...

Another great sounding recipe Chef. Often when a spice rub is used the meat is allowed to "marinate" a while before cooking to allow the flavours to permeate the meat. In this case it looks like you put the meat straight into the pan. Is there any particular reason for cooking it right away or would the flavour benefit from a some resting time before cooking?

Taylor said...

Looks awesome! I wouldn't have thought you could turn a candy into a savory dish, but looks like it worked out great! Thanks for sharing.

Chef John said...

Yes, you can put the dry rub on the pork the night before, but I was hungry!

Asian Malaysian said...

Any substitutes for ancho and chipolte? Unfortuantely, we dont have those in Malaysia.

Chef John said...

Not sure what you have, but they are just dried red chilies. Should be able to find something similar.

Anonymous said...

Love your new picture!
And I already have the ingredients on my grocery list! for this fabulous looking recipe.
Jackie

Rich Stillwell said...

This looks amazing and I will make it this weekend!
Just a question for you John...
Do you take your pork out of the fridge and put the rub on right away or do you let the pork come up closer to room temp like a steak? I've just been wondering.
Thanks.

Chef John said...

It was right out the fridge.

Chef John said...

Rita, the dry rub will last a very long time. And yes she is my gorgeous wife! Thanks!

Chris K. said...

I'm thinking this might be really nice with duck breast too...

Andy said...

With this recipe (and also others that use white vinegar in the sauce like the sweet & sour pork), I get a strong vinegar aroma. I thought that the smell would weaken after cooking, but that doesn't seem to be the case. And if I serve the food just after cooking -- which I do -- the vinegar smell persists even as the food is on the plate ready to be eaten. Am I doing something wrong? Is there some special thing I can do to lessen the vinegar aroma that seems to linger -- or should I just simply decrease the amount of vinegar I put in it (replace with water perhaps?)? Many thanks for the help!

Steve said...

Chef:

I'm thinking this would be absolutely fabulous on rack of lamb, as well. Perhaps even better.

Bhargav Patel said...

Can I use a chicken breast for this? The chicken breast is frozen, what can I do to avoid the dry gray meat?

Thank you

sequimteeth said...

This recipe surprised me. I made it last Friday for my wifes birthday, shared with my daughter and family (kids age 2 and 4). Had all the ingredients. Used black cherry jam and rice vinegar. The time you gave for the oven was perfect. Well, all the adults loved it (with a nice Ridge Zin), but it bombed with the kids. The video is soooo helpful. As in the past...a good recipe and a donation go hand in hand.

Chef John said...

Thanks!! Give them few years.

Perry said...

I found the recipe to use way too much vinegar, I prefer a sweet sauce with the somewhat spicy rub..

Chef John said...

Then you should by all means use less vinegar! :-)

Anonymous said...

I made this tonight and my sauce didn't thicken up very much. The pork was pretty good though.. Thanks for another great recipe...

Christy

Anonymous said...

this looks great! It's been on my mind for a few days now, I'm going to make it tomorrow.

One question though, I can't eat carbohydrates (sadly, that means potatoes/rice/etc are out, although I'm sure they would've been a perfect fit) and we don't like any type of slaw. Do you have any suggestions? For a moment ratatouille popped into my mind but the flavours might clash.

Unknown said...

I made this tonight, along with the pistachio-crusted sweet potato casserole, brown butter pineapple corn muffins, and sunshine cheesecake! Everything was amazing! It was a great "date night" meal for my husband and I. :) The muffins were a tad dry, I probably could have pulled them out a minute or two earlier than I did, but other than that everything turned out pretty much perfect. My cheesecake didn't crack at all. Thank you for the recipes and the videos. :)

carrielee05 said...

okay chef john this is my first time trying 1 of your recipes. I found the recipe at work but was unable to watch the video. in a hurry last night to make this for my valentines day dinner I went ahead and pulled out the pork tenderloin and I used the entire rub, oops. I than went online to watch the video for the cook time and temperature and saw that you salted the meat first and did not use all of the rub. Oops! if I salt the meat before I cook it, do you think it will turn out okay??? I do have 2 loins. Please help :)

Chef John said...

Sorry, but I don't understand!

carrielee05 said...

okay chef john this is my first time using 1 of your recipes. I printed it out but had not seen the video when I used all of the rub on two tenderloins then went online to watch that video for cook time and temperature. It was then I saw you salted the meat first. Oops! if I salt the meat before I cook it do you think it will turn out okay??? Please help this is my valentine's dinner!!!

carrielee05 said...

Who don't you understand?

Chef John said...

You! :) I don't understand your question.

carrielee05 said...

if I put the salt on after the rub do you think it will still turn out okay or should I leave the salt out

Elaine Livingston said...

My pork tenderloin came in to slivers. A bigger peice and a smaller peice. Can I somehow join them together or was it supposed to be that way?

alex said...

great recipe i love the flavours. althou i prefer let it cook a little more since is to pink for my taste. Thanks for all the videos.

Alexander Stanczyk said...

Made this today, it was delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

michelle said...

when you roast, do you use a roasting bag or just put the meat in a baking dish and leave it uncovered?

Chef John said...

A bag? You mean a plastic bag? never roasted with one before. BTW, for future reference, I'd never use something and not show it in the video. Enjoy!

Jennifer Sweet said...

I had my annual Christmas party this past weekend, food for 20 and all homemade. The main course was this pork tenderloin recipe, adapted to a 10lb pork loin roast. It was amazing and everyone loved it. I also made your mascarpone gnocchi as a side and your 666 deviled eggs as an appetizer. Both were gone by the end of the evening. Here's a shot of the dinner buffet: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maggiethekatt/11293097915/in/set-72157638516295965
Also pictured for those curious: Cream corn (recipe from Allrecipes), spinach bacon salad (spinach is off to the side but the dressing is in the white crockpot), parker house dinner rolls, and twice baked potatoes.
Thanks for all the awesome recipes and inspiration, Chef John. Happy holidays!

Leif Masrud said...

Anybody have a suggestion for a wine pairing for this? The smokiness of the chipotle makes me nervous to go with a white... Help? :)