Spicy Pork and Pineapple

img_7772I love to cook the smaller pork tenderloins that come two to a package. They’re so easy to cook because they’re fairly thin, but the meat is so tender and juicy and flavorful. This Rachael Ray recipe puts those tenderloins to great use in a flavor-packed dish that incorporates sweet and spicy — sweet from grilled, juicy pineapple and a spicy kick from jalapeño peppers, alongside a gorgeous, cumin-spiced pork tenderloin and avocado.

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The key is to get each of these flavors into one awesome bite. I ate this as the recipe calls for, but also tried wrapping it into a taco with some cheese, which was pretty great as well. One of the best parts about this recipe is there are so few ingredients and very little to do on the stovetop, so it comes together really quickly. A perfect weeknight meal!

TW’s Tips

  • You want to cook the pork until it’s medium — not done all the way through. People get weird about pink pork, but it’s delicious and tender and has so much more flavor.
  • The recipe called for quartering the pineapple, but I found it better to slice it thickly so you could get a sear on both sides of each slice but still warm it through.
  • Serve alongside some greens dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.
  • You could even turn this into a quesadilla by chopping up the pork and pineapple more finely and serving alongside some salsa.

Enjoy!

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Spicy Pork and Pineapple

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pork tenderloins (1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1 avocado, cut into wedges
  • 1 jalapeño chile, thinly sliced

Directions

In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, salt and pepper. Sprinkle all over the pork. In a large cast-iron skillet or grill pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pork to the pan and cook, turning, until browned and firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm.

Using the same skillet, add the pineapple and cook over medium heat, turning, until golden, about 8 minutes.

Slice the pork. Divide the pineapple, pork and avocado among 4 plates. Top with the jalapeño.

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Cumin and Lime Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Creamed Corn

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Very often I default to a few select proteins for my meals–more often than not, it’s chicken– how boring! I’ll throw in ground beef, steak, shrimp, salmon now and then…but there are so many more options out there. I realized I needed a little variety. For instance, why no pork? Pork is delicious. This Rachael Ray recipe for cumin and lime roasted pork tenderloin gave me the inspiration I needed.

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The pork came out perfectly, still moist and tender, and with some spice and tang from the cumin and lime. The spicy corn was a great side dish — it’s got great heat from the jalapeño. I found some beautiful pork tenderloin at Costco — these came in a two-pack, with two smaller tenderloins in each package. Grocery stores often sell pretty large tenderloins and it can be hard to find smaller ones, so keep your eye out next time you go grocery shopping to see if your regular store sells them.

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TW’s Tips

  • I’m partial to fresh corn (versus frozen, which can get cardboard-y/chewy) — I found some husked ears at Costco and they were surprisingly good and fresh!
  • This does make a lot of pork — I got a little tired of eating it straight up, so I made mini sandwiches with avocado and Dijon mustard on rolls and they were delicious!
  • The corn makes a lot. Unless you’re feeding a bigger family I’d cut it in half and serve with a green vegetable as well.
  • The meat came out just perfectly medium with a little bit of pink left — perfect!
  • If you get a larger pork tenderloin you’ll have to cook it longer. These were a little over a pound each, for comparison.

Cumin and Lime Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Creamed Corn

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 lbs pork tenderloin
  • 2 limes, juice of
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves (4 cloves cracked, 2 cloves chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 (10 ounce) boxes frozen corn kernels (or kernels cut from 5 ears fresh corn)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Directions

Preheat oven to 500°. Trim the sliver skin or connective tissue from the tenderloins using a very sharp, thin knife.

Place tenderloins on a rimmed nonstick cookie sheet; coat them with the lime juice, rubbing the juice into the meat. Drizzle olive oil over the tenderloins, just enough to coat (about 2 tablespoons). Season the meat with the cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Cut small slits into the meat and disperse chunks of the cracked garlic cloves into the slits.

Roast for 20 minutes; remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes, tented loosely with foil.

While the pork is cooking, preheat a skillet over med-high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter. Add in the onions, jalapenos, bell pepper, chopped garlic, corn, salt, and pepper; cook 4-5 minutes, or until the onions are tender. Sprinkle with the flour, and continue cooking 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken stock and heavy cream; bring mixture to a simmer and then lower the heat to medium-low; cook until it is thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add in the parsley and cilantro; taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Slice the rested roasted pork; serve with spicy creamed corn.