Saturday, July 23, 2011

Weekly Food Challenge - Vanilla (not dessert) Take 2

I know I already posted a recipe using vanilla in an entree for the challenge this week, but I was disappointed in the vanilla impact in that dish, and so I thought I'd try another one.  This time I chose to make this Cocoa Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Vanilla Rum Butter Sauce because doesn't that sound DEEE-licious?  Unfortunately, it didn't exactly live up to expectations, but I think the faults were mostly mine (and a little bit the recipe's) so I'm posting it anyway in case David wants to improve upon it.

The combination of ingredients used in the rub sounded a little strange, and when the pork was eaten plain, frankly it tasted a little strange, but I think that's because I over-seared the meat and maybe got a little burned flavor mixed in.  When eaten with the "sauce", it ended up tasting good.

When you look at the photo, you may wonder why there is no sauce when the sauce is clearly the best sounding part of the recipe.  The answer is that the sauce turned out to be, ummm, extremely non-photogenic.  The instructions said to cook the sauce for 30 minutes, giving no indication of what it should look like.  So I followed the recipe to the letter (and read Amelia about 216 pages of Madeline) and came back to a pot full of penuche.  So we ate the pork tenderloin with a vanilla rum butter frosting/streusel and it was TASTY.  Ugly, but tasty.  So if you feel like eating dessert as a main course, make this recipe!

Cocoa Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Vanilla Rum Butter Sauce
serves 3 or 4

1 ½ tsp cumin
1 ½ tsp coriander
1 tsp ground black peppercorns
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
dash of nutmeg
1 ½ tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp salt

1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
1 tbsp olive oil

Vanilla Sauce:
½ C. brown sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp molasses
4 tbsp rum
1 tsp vanilla
½ vanilla bean, halved with the beans scraped out
½ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400F.  Mix the first 8 ingredients together in a small bowl.  Rub onto pork tenderloin until covered.  Heat oil in skillet until hot, then sear meat being careful not to burn the crust (a minute or two on each side is enough).  Place pork in a baking dish; cook at 400F for about 20 minutes, or until temp reads 145F.

Meanwhile, make the vanilla sauce.  Combine first 7 ingredients in a small pot.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture resembles a syrup (maybe 5-10 minutes).  Do not cook too long!  Add remaining 3 tbsp butter, ½ tbsp at a time, stirring until combined.  Serve sauce over pork.

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