Monday, October 22, 2012

Island Pork Tenderloin Dinner

 love pork tenderloin, but honestly had not made it since the 1990's when I was married. My daughter found this recipe and emailed it me asking me to "pretty please" make it for Sunday dinner. So I read it and thought, "Hmmmmm, this sounds weird." But I bought a pork tenderloin and put it in the freezer and forgot about it for a couple of weeks. This Sunday I decided to give it a try.

Doesn't that look delicious? First let me say that I used a cast iron skillet. I love cast iron skillets and I remember all my tias (aunts) cooking with them, but myself had never really used one. It just made me feel like I was channeling all the wonderful cooking skills of all my tias, even though I'm sure not a one of them had ever used a cookbook, let alone recipes from the internet!
This recipe was adapted from Gourmet Cookbook and my daughter found it at Little B Cooks: Chronicles from a Vermont Foodie. It's super easy and if you read it you might just wonder how these different ingredients could go together as they don't really seem to make much sense, but ohmygosh!!!
The only change I made from Little B's recipe is that I used Cayenne Pepper instead of plain ole chili powder cause we didn't have chili powder. I'm glad I did because it gave the the dish a great little spicy kick!
I think though that using the Cayenne made for a little bit of drama in my kitchen because you take salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon and the cayenne and stir it all together for a dry rub. Then after you get all up-close and personal with your pork loin you braise it in your skillet with some EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). This process created an aroma that I didn't personally like although my son and daughter did. This process also created some smoke that had all of us coughing! My mom coughed so bad she had to step outside for fresh air! So be sure to turn the fan on over your stove. You have been warned!
Once you've braised it on the stove then you stick it....cast iron pan and all into the oven. Once it's done you take it out, cover it lightly with foil so all the juices can soak back in and slice and serve. Delicious. I didn't think about it at the time, but there were some delicious drippings left in the pan which I should have pour over the top, but still great even without! We had mashed potatoes and green beans as side dishes. I'm planning to make pork loin sandwiches with coleslaw with the leftovers...if they make it through the night!
For Spice Rub:
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or chili powder)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins (2 1/4 - 2 1/2 lbs total) trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil
For Glaze:
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp Tabasco
Stir the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl and rub all over the pork. Heat oil in ovenproof 12 inch heavy skillet (or a cast iron skillet if you are fortunate enough to have one) over medium high heat. Brown pork, turning occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes total. Remove from heat, but leave pork in skillet.
Stir together brown sugar, garlic and Tabasco in a small bowl. Pat the mixture on top of the pork. Place skillet in the over at 350. Roast until thermometer inserted diagonally into the center of each tenderloin registers 140 degrees, about 20 minutes (I didn't have a thermometer so I just left it in the oven for 30 minutes to be safe and it was perfect!). Loosely cover with foil and let stand in skillet for 10 minutes then slice and get ready to be delighted!


  1. I don't think my poor Irish taste buds could tolerate all the Cayenne pepper and Tabasco, but other wise it sound yummy.

    I bought a cast iron skillet when I lived in your neck of the woods. It had some lengthy procedure for rubbing it down with lard and baking it to season the skillet. I in my 22 year old infinite wisdom said balderdash to that and just went ahead and cooked my eggs in the skillet. Wow. They tasted like scrambled oysters. Next stop was over to the commissary to buy a some lard. It took about 4 sessions to get that skillet seasoned.

    1. Well I think you could leave out the cayenne and tabasco. I know my kids have asked me to leave out the cinnamon the next time I make it, that's the good thing about cooking is that you can take a recipe and customize it to suit you. It was a very tasty dish, I was surprised.

      Yes, there definitely is an art to seasoning a cast iron skillet. The one I have and used needs some seasoning, but making the dish in it definitely helped. I've promised my sister I will make it for her and her family this next weekend so my skillet will be getting some more seasoning. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Sextant, always a pleasure to read your comments :)

    2. Oh the other thing with cast iron skillets, don't over clean them or let them soak too long, you can remove the seasoning and your back to scrambled eggs from the sea. I learned that the hard way as well.

      My mother hit my father in the head with one when I was a child. Happily for both of them he was drunk and didn't seem to notice. Had he been sober she may have killed him. Ah, the joys of childhood. In any event seasoning seems to have no bearing when using skillets as a weapon.

    3. That's very true with cast iron. My mom always taught me to just wipe it clean if you just fried an egg or something and when you do wash it immediately after rinsing it place it on the stove with the burner on and dry it with heat until it's hot and that reseals the seasoning.

      lol on the seasoning has no bearing on the skillets as weapons. I guess what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger.


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