Thursday, July 22, 2010

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Baby Carrots and Spring Onions

What do you do when your CSA keeps supplying you with carrot, after carrot, after carrot?  Particularly if you don't generally like cooked carrots?  You try cooked carrots again - in a new and more interesting way and hope that you like them better this time.  My typical problem with cooked carrots is the texture.  The texture tends to be somewhere between mushy and toothsome and reminds me of a combination of baby food and old people food.  And unlike fingerling potatoes or parsnips (or any of the other vegetables that you typically roast with a pot roast), carrots never get that nice crust on the outside.  They just sit there and get mushy.  This pork tenderloin just sounded so good and we had so many carrots that I couldn't resist this recipe.

This recipe made me a little nervous because there isn't much salt in it.  And it definitely needed just a little more salt.  Once we sprinkled some sea salt on top of the final dish the flavors all came together and the entire dish was just that much better.  So I have adapted the recipe to use the amount of salt we really should have used for optimal flavor.  Even after adding more salt, Alex and I both agreed that the flavors in this dish were nowhere near as vibrant as they could have been.  Don't get me wrong - I voluntarily ate roasted carrots which is huge in and of itself.  And the carrots were actually quite good.  But they weren't as good as they could have been when seasoned with jalapeno, cumin, ancho chile powder, garlic, etc.  With all of those spices I was really expecting a real burst of flavor and instead I got just a little taste.  So all-in-all I would give the recipe a solid B or B-.  With a few modifications it might even make it to a B+, but it definitely isn't quite there yet.
Recipe after the jump!

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Baby Carrots and Spring Onions
Adapted from Bon Appetit
April 2009

2 lbs. baby carrots, peeled, trimmed
6 spring onions, whites only, cut into wedges
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp evoo
1 tbsp butter, diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 small jalapeño (preferably red), seeded, coarsely chopped
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp ancho chile powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
2 1-to 1 1/4-lb pork tenderloins
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ancho chile powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp coarse kosher salt
1 tbsp evoo

Arrange carrots and spring onions on large rimmed baking sheet. Whisk 2 tablespoons water and all remaining ingredients in small bowl; pour over carrots and toss to coat. Cover tightly with heavy-duty foil. Let stand at room temperature. Toss to coat before continuing.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Roast carrot mixture covered until just tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, arrange pork tenderloins on another rimmed baking sheet. Stir oregano, cumin, chile powder, smoked paprika, and 1 teaspoon coarse salt in small bowl; rub mixture all over tenderloins. Heat oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork to skillet and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Return to rimmed baking sheet.

Remove foil from carrots. Nestle pork among carrots on baking sheet, arranging carrots in single layer around pork. Roast uncovered until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 145°F, stirring carrots occasionally if beginning to caramelize, about 18 minutes. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes.

Transfer pork to work surface. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange carrots on platter. Top with pork slices, drizzling any pan juices over.

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