It’s been raining and raining and raining out our way. It stopped for a while, but now the steady drumbeat on my drainpipes tells me it’s starting up again. It’s the kind of weather where my thoughts turn to baking or soupmaking, but I already bought all the ingredients for Jamaican Jerk Pork Tenderloin, and so that’s what I’ve got marinating in the fridge. It’s a recipe I got out of a lo-cal cooking magazine a couple years ago and it has graduated to the front of my “keepers” recipe file.I get a kick out of blending 2 cups of green onions with all these spices, vinegar, soy sauce and whatnot — it looks like the nastiest green slop ever and has an aromatic pungency that’ll clear out your sinuses. But the pork you marinate in it and then grill is just heavenly, and maybe the “island” flavor will help us think warm and summery thoughts while we wait for the umbrellas to dry off.
(By the way, in case it needs to be said, be careful when you’re handling the habanero peppers. The recipe isn’t that hot if you only put in one pepper (the Jamaicans put in 10, by the way), but even dealing with one has its problems. They’re the hottest peppers you can buy (I think), and so you’ll want to wash your hands immediately. I got careless and scratched an itch next to my eye before I’d washed up. It’s not burning much, because I had hardly touched the peppers, but it’s still enough to remind me not to be such a doof next time. On the other hand, if you looove the hot stuff and want to kick it up a notch, you can leave the seeds in. Not my idea of a good time, but then I might be a wimp.)
Jamaican Jerk Pork Tenderloin
2 cups coarsely chopped green onions
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-4 Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers (depending on how spicy you want it) — seeded and chopped
1 (1 1/2 pound) pork tenderloin
- Place first 15 ingredients (from green onions to habanero peppers) in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth.
- Butterfly pork tenderloin by cutting almost all the way through the tenderloin lengthwise, opening it up like a book and cutting each of the other two sides lengthwise the same way, so you can open the tenderloin up and allow for more surface area. Pour the green onion mixture over the top, working it in with a spatula or spoon. Put the meat into a plastic bag, pour the rest of the mixture in and work it into the pork so it covers it.
- Cover or seal, marinate in refrigerator for 3-24 hours. Remove pork from the bag.
- Prepare the grill. (We don’t have a grill and if we did I couldn’t use it in this weather, but a convection oven or regular oven heated to 450 degrees does just as well).
- Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray, grill 8 minutes on each side or until meat thermometer registers 160 degrees — slightly pink. (If you’re cooking it in an oven, your time will be longer of course. Trust the meat thermometer, because the pork tends to take on a pinkish hue that can throw you off and make you think it’s not done. I cooked mine for 25 minutes, and it was perfect.)
- Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces pork).
And for the calorie-conscious, here’s the nutritional information per serving. If you’re on Weight Watchers, I believe it comes out to 5 points:
Calories: 248 (27% from fat)
Fat: 7.5g (sat 2g, mono 2.8g, poly 2g)
Cholesterol 111 mg
Iron: 3.1 mg
Sodium 1.126 mg
Calcium: 52 mg