Last month, two college friends came to Denver for a long weekend. It has been over 20 years since we graduated. Our lives are completely different, our paths rarely cross, and still we had a great time. Though Denver has a great list of restaurants to sample, one night we opted to cook dinner at home. We made this tenderloin with a side of kale salad, which nicely complemented the spicy/sweetness of the pork. My friend Nancy liked it so much, she went home and served the exact same menu at her husband’s birthday party the following week. I highly recommend that next time you have friends over—make this dish. It’s easy to prepare, so you don’t have to make a fuss, and it goes well with both red and white wine which makes catching up all the more fun.
When we first developed our pork rub, I like it so much, I tried it on everything, including chicken. This is good, though I must admit, I like it more on pork. Still, I like chicken more with this rub, than without it. And if you live with an avid chicken eater, this does help mix it up a bit.
When I lived in Chicago, I became addicted to ribs. I never realized how good they were until I tried the ribs at Twin Anchors, a bar on Sedgwick just north of North Ave. The meat is so tender, it just falls off the bone. Now, whenever I return, I always plan enought time for a nostalgic trip to my old favorite haunt. Although this recipe is nothing like the ribs from Twin Anchors, it’s mighty tasty and satisfies my hankering for ribs between infrequent trips to Chicago.
Some historians speculate that the pomegranate, rather than the apple, was the source of all that drama in the Garden of Eden. In this heart-healthy recipe, the tension between the assertive spices and the sweet fruity glaze creates a drama all its own. Good for the heart, speaking both anatomically and metaphysically!
Rinse and dry pork loin. Mix ground spices and seasonings together and rub on meat.
Heat olive oil in pan and sear pork loin on every side until brown and cooked throughout (at least 20-25 minutes).
Remove pork loin and set aside on plate.
Whisk cornstarch with water.
Pour pomegranate juice in pan and bring to medium heat, scraping pork bits and stirring.
Add cornstarch mixture, balsamic vinegar and juice from blood orange and bring to a boil.
Add cinnamon sticks and swirl in the butter.
Reduce heat and reduce until mixture is thickened and syrupy (at least 15 minutes).
Slice pork thinly, plate and drizzle with pomegranate/blood orange sauce.
Sprinkle with a few pomegranate seeds for garnish, if desired.
NOTE 1: My local Mediterranean market carries a product by Zadaf called "pomegranate paste." It is 100% pomegranate and comes in a tall glass bottle. I find it a less expensive alternative to using regular pomegranate juice, and since it is already thick and syrupy less reduction time is necessary. If you can find it, substitute it for the pomegranate juice, water and corn starch. It is less than $7.00 for a large bottle, can also be used for a pomegranate tequila sunrise, and can be ordered at http://sadaf.com/store/product518.html
NOTE 2: Any pork tenderloin will do, but the last time I made this I used one from my local supermarket by Hormel that had been marinated in lemon and garlic—very moist!!