For a while there, about half our meals were coming from Mexican Everyday, or at least it felt like it. It still remains one of my favorite cookbooks, but I was thinking the other day that it’s been far too long since I’ve made something from it (well, something new that is – both the red chile chicken and rice with black beans and arbol chile salsa have graced our table in the past few weeks).
Since I’ve been big into marinating and not big into, um, too much work lately, I decided to pick a marinade from the book. I went with a quick adobo marinade. Originally I planned on using this with bone-in chicken pieces, but in the end decided to do a pork tenderloin. That said, you can really pick your favorite meat (or vegetable) and this will work well on it. Promise.
For the marinade, you can use either straight chile powder or an ancho chile puree. I opted for the latter because I recently ordered dried ancho chiles instead of ground (oops), so I already had them on hand. Bayless also calls this a “more harmonious” preparation and, really, it’s about as easy to make as dumping some chile powder out, anyway. The marinade was nice and flavorful, but not spicy. Anchos are dried poblanos, which generally do not have a whole lot of heat. Grilling or searing in cast iron and then roasting will give this some smokiness in addition to the small amount of spice.
We had this alongside some spicy sweet potato fries and roasted asparagus, so after the initial preparation, the meal was pretty hands-off and my oven did all the work.
I know this dish requires marinating so if you’re trying to think of a last-minute Cinco de Mayo meal, this may not be for you. Rest assured, though, I have an absolutely insane amount of Mexican dishes in the blog (and a previous round-up) so you have plenty to choose from!
Pork Tenderloin Adobado
From Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless
1 Tbsp. olive oil or canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup ancho chile powder or ancho chile puree (recipe follows)
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/3 – 3/4 cup water
1 (1-1.25 lb.) pork tenderloin
In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant and golden, about 1 minute. Stir in the chile powder or puree, vinegar, oregano, sugar, salt, and water. If using chile puree, use 1/3 cup of water; if using chile powder, use 3/4 cup. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-10 minutes until flavors are combined. Let cool to room temperature (or, if making ahead, refrigerate). Set aside about 1/4 of the marinade.
Place the remaining marinade and the pork tenderloin in a shallow bowl or resealable bag, making sure to coat the pork with the marinade. Marinate for several hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425. Sprinkle a little extra salt on the tenderloin. Place a heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron is preferable) over medium-high heat. Once hot, remove the tenderloin from the marinade and place in the pan. Sear on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. As you are searing, brush the pork tenderloin with the reserved marinade. Place the pan in the oven and continue to cook until pork is 145 degrees, about 15 minutes.. Allow to rest for 5-1o minutes before slicing.
Alternatively, you can grill the pork.
Ancho Chile Puree
Makes 2.5 – 3 cups
8 dried ancho chile peppers (ab out 4 oz.)
hot water for reconstituting
2 cups water
Stem and seed the chiles. Place a large skillet over medium heat and once hot, add the chiles in a single layer (you will probably need to do this in two batches). Toast for about 20 seconds, pressing to flatten, until fragrant and the underside has lightened slightly in color. Flip and repeat with the other side. Place the toasted chiles into a bowl and pour hot water over the top to submerge the chiles, putting a plate on top to weigh them down. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Remove the chiles from the bowl and discard the water. Place in a blender or food processor with 2 cups of water and blend until smooth.
Unused puree can be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 3 months or frozen.
Pork Adobado (Happy Cinco de Mayo!)