Island Spice Pork Tenderloin

Most of the time when I save recipes, I do it because I know without a doubt that we will love the result.  (This is why about 98% of the recipes I have saved are desserts.)  Sometimes, though, I save things more because I think, “Hmmm…interesting…that might be good.”  This recipe was definitely a case of the latter.  In fact, I put it on our menu back in November or December but the day came when I was planning to make it and it just did not sound good to me at all.  So back into the freezer went the pork, and it has been there all this time waiting for me to change my mind.  I finally decided that I needed to either use the pork or get rid of it, so I put the recipe back on the menu and decided I would make it no matter what.  Turns out, we were blown away by this meal.

The combination of spices may seem a bit odd, but the end result is a little bit spicy but also sweet, and incredibly flavorful.  Ben even deemed this his new favorite kind of pork tenderloin.  I was very surprised by how quickly it came together.  Most pork tenderloin recipes I make require marinating of some length, but this is just a simple spice rub made from pantry ingredients, and a glaze to go on top.  I halved the amount of glaze because the original amount just seemed like overkill.  I’m glad I did because this was just the right amount.  Just be sure to spread the glaze out very evenly over the top of the tenderloins.  I had a bite or two that seemed overly sweet because of too much glaze.  All in all, this is a fantastic preparation of pork that is quick enough for a weeknight and nice enough to serve to company.

Island Spice Pork Tenderloin
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Ingredients:
For the spice rub:
2 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 pork tenderloins (about 2-2½ lbs. total)
2 tbsp. olive oil

For the glaze:
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. (2-3 cloves) finely minced garlic
1½ tsp. Tabasco sauce

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Combine the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Stir together with a fork to blend.  Pat the mixture over the pork tenderloins.

Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Place the tenderloins in the skillet and brown on all sides, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes total.  Remove from the heat, leaving the pork in the skillet.

Stir together the brown sugar, garlic and Tabasco in a small bowl until blended.  Spread the mixture evenly over the tops of the tenderloins.

Place the skillet in the preheated oven and roast about 20 minutes, until an instant-read themometer inserted in the center of each tenderloin registers 140˚ F.  Loosely tent the skillet with foil and let stand 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Source: adapted from Pennies on a Platter, originally from The Gourmet Cookbook

Pacific Pork Kebabs with Pineapple Rice

Add this to the ever-growing list of dishes that I have had marked to try forever, and now am kicking myself for not trying sooner!  This was an excellent meal, and a great way to expand what you make on the grill.  I must admit I was a bit unsure about the pineapple rice as a side dish, and almost skipped it entirely, but it ended up being my favorite part of the meal!  The pineapple and scallion may seem like an odd combo, but the flavors compliment each other nicely.  The pork kebabs were great as well, but I felt like the honey and pineapple juice glaze really wasn’t very noticeable after grilling.  Next time, I will toss the meat in a bowl with the glaze and let it sit for 30 minutes to absorb more of the flavor (I have noted these changes in the recipe below).  This is a fabulous summer meal for the grill!

Pacific Pork Kebabs with Pineapple Rice
Ingredients:
For the kebabs:
Juice reserved from draining 1 (8 oz.) can pineapple tidbits (for rice)
1/3 cup honey, warmed
1 (1 lb.) pork tenderloin, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 bell peppers (red, orange or yellow), cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

For the rice:
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 (8 oz.) can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger

Lime wedges, for serving (optional)

Directions: 
In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the reserved pineapple juice and the honey.  Mix well.  Season the pork cubes with salt and pepper.  Add to the bowl with the glaze, toss well to coat, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat the grill to medium heat.  Lightly oil grates with vegetable oil.

To assemble the kebabs, alternately thread the pork and bell pepper pieces onto skewers.  Brush with any of the remaining honey mixture.  Grill until the pork is cooked through and peppers begin to char, about 10-15 minutes.  

Meanwhile, to make the rice, cook according to package directions.  Once cooked, mix in the scallions, pineapple tidbits, and ginger.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Fluff with a fork.  Serve the kebabs with rice and lime wedges.  

Source: adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Spicy Pork Po’ Boys

Oh my, you have GOT to try this sandwich!  I made these for dinner weeks ago and I still haven’t been able to stop thinking about how awesome they were.  Definitely more than just your average meatball sub.   This is a pretty quick dinner – just mix up the meatball mixture, cook on a grill pan and assemble the sandwiches.  That’s it!  I suppose technically the sandwiches I made were not true “po’ boys” because I used hoagie rolls rather than soft French baguettes, but I am not so concerned with authenticity when they taste this fantastic using what I had on hand.

I almost considered skipping the sauce that dresses these but decided to give it a try at least once.  I’m so glad I did, because I think that was an important part of the flavor.  We loved it!  I did omit the dill pickle from the sauce because I didn’t have any on hand, but I will try adding it next time.  These will most definitely become a frequent part of our dinner rotation – yum!

Spicy Pork Po’Boys
Ingredients:
For the meatballs:
1 1/2 lbs. ground pork (I used closer to 1 lb. and got about 3 sandwiches out of it)
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 medium kosher dill pickles, finely chopped
1/2 small shallot, minced

For the sandwiches:
4 (8-inch) soft baguettes, split (or hoagie rolls)
Shredded iceberg lettuce
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
Hot sauce

Directions:
In a large bowl combine the ground pork and all of the spices for the meatballs.  Mix thoroughly using your hands until the mixture is well combined.  Form the pork into 12 half-inch thick patties.  Preheat a grill pan over medium to medium-high heat.  Grill the patties, turning once, about 8 minutes total, until cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the ingredients for the sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix well and spread the sauce onto the split baguettes.

Place pork patties on each baguette and top with lettuce, tomato and a few splashes of hot sauce.  Close the sandwiches and serve. 

Source: adapted from Liz’s Cooking Blog

Herb-Marinated Pork Tenderloin

I am a huge fan of marinating meat or poultry for dinner.  It always results in such a moist, flavorful entree that requires minimal effort.  Ten minutes of prep time, throw it in the fridge, and forget it…you come home, and dinner is almost done.  Talk about perfect for a weeknight meal!  This dinner was not without hiccups though…this was our first time using the grill after a long winter and we had a little mishap that made this meal less than fantastic – but I can tell it would have been incredible otherwise, so I can’t wait to make it again!

The original recipe recommends grilling the pork, which is what we did.  However, if you don’t have a grill or the weather isn’t agreeable, I find that baking the pork in a 9×13-inch baking dish at 375° F for 45-50 minutes works just as well.  I typically pour the marinade in the dish as well to be sure that the meat doesn’t dry out while baking.  I served this with roasted carrots and potatoes and they went nicely with the meal.

Herb-Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Ingredients:
Grated zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4-6 lemons)
1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing the grill
2 tbsp. minced garlic (6 cloves)
1 1/2 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Kosher salt
2 pork tenderloins, about 1 lb. each
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard, and 2 teaspoons salt in a sturdy 1-gallon Ziploc bag.  Add the pork tenderloins and turn to coat with the marinade.  Squeeze out the air and seal the bag.  Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours but preferable overnight.

When you are ready to cook the pork, heat a charcoal or gas grill.  Brush the grate of the grill with oil to prevent the pork from sticking.  Remove the meat from the marinade and discard the marinade.  Sprinkle the tenderloins generously with salt and pepper.  Grill the tenderloins, turning a few times to brown on all sides, for 15-25 minutes (depending on the temperature of the grill) until the meat registers 137 degrees F at the thickest part.  Transfer the tenderloins to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Slice and serve warm with the juices that collect on the platter. 

Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics by Ina Garten

Spicy Shredded Pork

Okay folks – you must try this one.  Truly, it is fantastic.  First of all, it takes just minutes to prep which is always a good thing.  It certainly does take a long time to cook, but the active prep time is very minimal.  After roasting for just 45 minutes, my house was smelling so good that I was practically drooling (okay, so I was drooling – let’s be real).  It was very obvious to me when this was finished cooking, as I went to turn the pork and it completely fell apart.  Now that’s tender!  I prepped this early in the day and then reheated when Ben got home for dinner.  And OH, did he love it!  I think his exact words were, “Oh my God….oh my God….oh my God,” etc. etc. for a few minutes.  Then he announced that this dinner had shot right up the ranks into his top five favorite dinners.  Impressive!  I loved it as well, far more than I expected.  We served it up on flour tortillas, topped it with some homemade salsa and sour cream, and it was heavenly.  I had originally planned on freezing the leftovers but instead we ate it for lunches until it was all gone.  We will be having this again and again!  (For what it’s worth, I would not really call this spicy at all, but it is so tasty I don’t care what you call it!)

Spicy Shredded Pork

Ingredients:

4-7 lb. pork shoulder

1 onion, quartered

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. ground cumin

¼ cup brown sugar

3-4 garlic cloves

1-2 tbsp. salt

pepper

1-2 tbsp. olive oil

2-3 tbsp. white wine vinegar

2 cups water

 

Directions:

Rinse and pat dry the pork shoulder.

 

Combine the onion, spices, brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper to taste in the bowl of a food processor.  Add the olive oil and white wine vinegar.  Blend mixture until totally combined.  Pour over the pork shoulder.  Rub over the whole surface of the pork, being sure to cover any folds or crevices. 

 

Place the pork in a Dutch oven or roasting pan and add water to the pan.  Cover tightly and roast at 300° for several hours, turning once every hour.  When it is fork tender turn the heat up to 425°, remove the lid, and roast skin-side up for 15-20 more minutes until crispy.  Let rest 15 minutes.

Shred the pork shoulder using two forks.  Pour some of the juice from cooking over the shredded meat to keep it moist.  Serve with warm tortillas, lime wedges, sour cream and pico de gallo.

Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Lemon-Mustard Sauce

While the weather still remains nice enough for grilling, I am trying to take advantage and continue to branch out our grill repertoire.  We love pork tenderloin and I thought this recipe sounded good so I gave it a shot.  I have to say, it was GREAT!  The flavors in the rub and the sauce did a perfect job of complimenting the taste of the pork without overpowering it.  I am sure it also helped that I bought the meat at the awesome new butcher shop I discovered, but I think the recipe deserves most of the credit.  This came together quickly and easily for a wonderful summer meal.  I don’t know that “lemon” should really be included in the title of this dish as I couldn’t pick out the lemon flavor at all, but this tastes good no matter what you call it.

Pork Tenderloin Medallions in Lemon-Mustard Sauce

Ingredients:

2 (12-14 oz.) sections of pork tenderloins

 

For the rub:

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. brown sugar

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. olive oil

 

For the sauce:

3 tbsp. unsalted butter

¼ cup shallots, finely chopped

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp. minced fresh parsley

kosher salt

 

Directions:

Cut off any scrawny tail ends from the tenderloins.  Slice each tenderloin into 6 equal rounds.  Pound the medallions with a meat mallet to about 1-inch thickness.  In a small bowl, mix together the rub ingredients.  Coat the medallions with the rub.  Allow to sit for a couple of hours to deepen the flavor, if desired.  Let sit uncovered at room temperature while the grill heats to medium high heat.

 

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook until soft and beginning to color, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chicken broth and mustard, and continue cooking until reduced by about one half.  Stir in the lemon juice, parsley and salt to taste.  Keep the sauce warm over low heat.

 

Transfer the pork medallions to the grill.  Grill, turning once, until cooked through and tender.  If any of the medallions begin to look dry drizzle with a bit of the sauce.  To serve, place medallions on plates and top with a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce.

Source: adapted from Made by Melissa

Teriyaki Grilled Pork Chops


I still have meals frozen that I made before the baby was born, but the itch to get back to cooking was unbearable!  I decided I would try something easy for my first night back in the kitchen so these pork chops seemed the perfect choice – and they were!  I served these with a fabulous new couscous recipe as well as sugar snap peas.  The whole dinner was delicious and ready in about 20 minutes.  Can’t beat that!  We’ll definitely be making this meal again.

Teriyaki Grilled Pork Chops

Ingredients:

2/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup water

¼ cup rice vinegar

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and chopped fine (or 1 ½ tsp. dried ginger)

4-6 pork chops

 

Directions:

For the marinade, combine all ingredients except pork chops in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Cool the marinade completely.  Put the pork chops in a large resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over them.  Seal the bag, pressing out excess air.  Allow chops to marinate, turning bag once or twice, at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

 

Pour the marinade into a saucepan and boil for 5 minutes.  Grill chops on an oiled rack, approximately 7-8 minutes per side, or until just cooked through, basting with marinade during last 5 minutes of cooking.

Source: adapted from Elite Entrees, originally from Gourmet Magazine