Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The sum of its parts

My favorite recipes are those that feel like magic.

A few onions, roasted peppers and beef broth go into the pot. You simmer for a while and then...poof! Rich beautiful flavor.

This recipe is like that. And believe me Rick Bayless has gone way up in my book.

But sadly this is a meal I ate alone.

I had big plans when I decided to make this. I've been a lazy cook lately, so last tuesday I decided I would cook after our 6:30 puppy class. I bought all the stuff, pork loin, poblanos, tomatoes. The class schedule said 1.5-2 hours.

"They just say that to scare you," Cobe said. "I'm sure it'll be like 45 minutes."

Two and a half hours later we were finally walking back to our car glassy-eyed. Cobe was like a hungry animal, his sentences short. At that point there is no cooking, just Subway.

But I had that pork loin. And I can't bear to waste food.

I decided to cook it up, even if it was like 10 pm. And lo and behold it was magic. The spiciness of the roasted peppers with the sweetness of the onions and tomatoes and the rich meatiness of the pork loin. It washed over you with each bite.

Did I mention it took like 45 minutes? And that is not just what I wrote on the schedule.

Pork Tenderloin ala Mexicana
(adapted from Rick Bayless, Mexican Everyday)

2 poblano chiles
2 jalapeno chiles
1.25 lbs pork tenderloin
2 T olive oil
vidalia sweet onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained
3/4 c beef broth
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Turn on broiler, place rack as close as possible, and roast poblanos and jalapenos. Turn every few minutes. They should be black on the outside (like completely). Put in paper bag to steam and forget about them for a bit.

Wash and dry tenderloin. Salt generously. Heat oil in pan over medium heat, brown pork on all sides. Remove from pan. Add onions and saute until brown and wilted (4-5 minutes). In the meantime, pull skin off chiles (should come off easily) and remove seeds. Cut into 1/4" strips. Add chile and garlic to onions and stir x 30 seconds. Then add tomatoes, crush with spoon. Add broth. Bring to boil and cook until slightly thickened (5 minutes). Add whole pork loin back with chopped cilantro. Turn heat down to medium, cover and cook until pork is just cooked. I usually go for 140 degrees which is just a tad rosy because I can't stand tough pork, but you maybe should cut it and see what you like.

When cooked, take out of pan and slice into 1/4-1/2" slices. Sprinkle with more cilantro. Serve with rice or tortillas.


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