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Valentine's Day Dinner - Spicy Pork Tenderloin

One of the many perks of being married to my beautiful and talented wife is her ability to produce a restaurant quality meal at home. So, when she told me I could have anything I wanted for Valentine's Day dinner, I quickly asked for for the Spicy Pork Tenderloin she had made several times in the past. The recipe is based on one from the Gourmet Cookbook, one of Cyn's favorite cookbooks that complies many of the best recipes from Gourmet Magazine.

I love pork, in fact, I love almost anything from the pig (OK, maybe not scrapple). For me, it's more than just "the other white meat". It is a perfect canvas for a wide variety of dishes that run the gamut from subtle to in your face . This one is clearly in the latter camp. Here is her version of the recipe.

Adapted from Gourmet

Ingredients (for pork)
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Cyn's house made curry powder (you can use a store bought curry powder too)
2 tsp ancho chile powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins (2 - 2 1/2 pounds total)
2 tbsp grapeseed oil (or other high smoke point oil)

Ingredients (for glaze)
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp cholula chipotle (or tabasco, but the cholula is better)

Preparation (the pork)
  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Stir together salt, pepper, curry powder, ancho chile powder and cinnamon. Coat all sides of the pork with this rub.
  • Heat oil in an oven safe 12" heavy skillet over moderately high heat until just beginning to smoke. Brown pork on all sides and ends - about 4 minutes total. Leave pork in skillet.

Preparation (the glaze)
  • Stir together brown sugar, garlic and cholula then pat mix onto the top of each tenderloin before roasting.

Preparation (the oven)
  • Roast in the middle of the oven for about twenty minutes or until the center of each tenderloin is 140°F. Let stand in skillet at room temperature for 10 minutes. (temperature should rise to approximately 155°F while standing).
Slice the pork to desired thickness and serve with juices from the skillet spooned over the meat. Hint: Don't ignore the "pork candy" that has formed on the bottom of the skillet. The combination of spices, pork juices and brown sugar make a taffy like substance that I'm thinking of patenting and marketing.

Cyn served this perfectly medium rare and fork tender delight over a bed of creamy polenta and with mustard green that had been quickly blanched in boiling water, chilled in an ice bath to retard the cooking and then sauteed with sliced fresh garlic until (mostly) tender. Any restaurant chef would be proud to serve this finished plate.


  1. It is dangerous to serve pork medium rate!
    You should be more careful meat temperature!

    1. I'm afraid your comment is based on old and outdated information. Here is a link to the current USDA pork cooking temperature guidelines.

      If you've never tried pork cooked to medium rare, I highly recommend it. It improves the flavor and moistness greatly.

    2. USDA recommends cooking all whole cuts of meat to 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat

      you:Roast in the middle of the oven for about twenty minutes or until the center of each tenderloin is 140°F
      be careful!

  2. Roast in the middle of the oven for about twenty minutes or until the center of each tenderloin is 140°F. Let stand in skillet at room temperature for 10 minutes. (temperature should rise to approximately 155°F while standing).

    I say : If you are cooking low, it might not go up the full 5F


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