Sunday, February 17, 2008

Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Purée and Warm Chipotle Salsa

If this recipe sounds fancy that's because it's from the 5th edition of Le Cordon Bleu's Professional Cooking which is basically a textbook for culinary schools. You've got everything in here from the use and care of a chinacap to the basics of broiling and the chemistry of gelatine. It's awesome because you could basically work through this whole book and you'd be a "professionally" trained chef. Now the only problem is is that doing so would cost a fortune because lots of this food doesn't come cheap and all the recipes are written for restaurant portions. Best to pay your tuition and go to a culinary school if that's your bag. But if you're like me, you just want to learn how to cook better so buying a book like this does the trick.

What I was originally looking for was a recipe for Eastern European pork roast with sauerkraut. I don't even know if that's the dish but I'll post it as soon as I've found out. For now we have this South American inspired dish that has the delicious flavour of marinated pork loin, coupled with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes, and all offset with a nice smoky and spicy chipotle salsa. It's obvious that a recipe from Le Cordon Bleu will match flavours properly. Salty. Sweet. Spicy. There's no tart or bitter here but you catch my drift.

The marinade consists of chopped onion, mashed garlic, salt, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, lime juice, olive oil and powdered red New Mexico chiles (I used dried chiles from Mexico but that's what I had on hand...the recipe says that you can also substitute for good old chili powder). As you can see there's nothing magic about this marinade. Just let sit over night, barbecue or roast, and enjoy.

As for the salsa, it's also pretty basic. Roast one garlic clove and 1 lb of plum tomatoes for about 10 minutes, peel, throw into a blender with 2 whole chipotle chiles in adobo (seeded or unseeded depending on how much heat you want), a bit of salt, a bit of adobo sauce, purée and voilà. You could probably add cilantro, onions or other such traditional salsa ingredient but I found this sauce was basic and tasted really nice.

All you have to do once everything is cooked is to cut the tenderloin into medallions, place on top of the roasted and puréeed sweet potatoes, drizzle with salsa and that's it. Delicious. Lean. And lets not forget spicy.

But if you're not a health nut, you can use the leftover tenderloin and salsa with some smoky cheddar all baked on top of some nachos and you've got another delicious meal that's great with a nice cerveza, a hockey game and some wings.

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