Pork Tenderloin with Prune Sauce

Pork Tenderloin in Prune Sauce

By Pati Jinich, reprinted with her permission

Serves 6-8

2 to 2-1/2 pounds pork tenderloin

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Rub ingredients

½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Sauce ingredients

4 chiles anchos, stemmed and seeded

4 chiles guajillos, stemmed and seeded

2 cups pitted prunes (about 8 ounces)

5 cups water

½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt

¾ pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed (6 small or 4 medium)

6 unpeeled garlic cloves

Half of a large white onion, peeled

In a small bowl, combine the rub ingredients and rub all over the tenderloin.

Heat a comal or skillet over medium heat.  Once it is hot, lightly toast the chiles for about 20 to 30 seconds per side.  Place them in a medium sauce pan, along with the prunes.  Cover with the 5 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium and keep it at a steady simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Turn off the heat.

Place the tomatillos, onion, and garlic on a foil-covered baking sheet and place under the broiler anywhere from 8 to 10 minutes.  The ingredients should be completely charred on the outside, and soft.  The tomatillos should also be mushy and juicy.  Peel the garlic as soon as it is cool enough to handle and place it in the blender along with the onions, tomatillos, chiles, prunes, and the simmering liquid (plus any liquid from the vegetables on the baking sheet).  Add the ½ teaspoon of salt and puree until completely smooth.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large casserole or Dutch oven set over medium heat, heat the oil.  Once it’s hot but not smoking, brown the meat on all sides, for a total of about 8 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low, and pour in the pureed sauce.  It will sizzle and bubble.  Turn off the heat.  Make sure the meat is entirely surrounded with the sauce, under and over, and place the casserole, uncovered, in the oven.  Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, baste the meat once halfway through.  Take the casserole out of the oven.  Cover it, let it rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve the meat with plenty of sauce.

Note on the tenderloin quantity:  this recipe makes enough sauce for more meat.  If your casserole can handle another tenderloin without crowding too much, go ahead and use it.  Make one and half times the spice rub amount, but use the same amount of sauce ingredients.  When you add the sauce to the pan, lift one of the tenderloins a little so you get a good sizzle from the sauce.

Note on toasting chiles:  Since I have to heat the broiler anyway, I toast the chiles in the oven.  Put another oven rack down near the bottom of the oven away from the broiler element, and put the chiles on a small pan.  Once the broiler is hot, put the pan on the low rack and toast for about a minute.  Check carefully to see that they’re not burnt.

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