This year we had two Christmas dinners, as well as a light supper Christmas Eve. I feel like I can try different things for Christmas while Thanksgiving tends to be more set. For one of our Christmas meal, I made a delicious and flavorful Pork tenderloin crusted with Caribbean spice.
I prefer to keep Christmas time meals easy to prepare and I don’t want to be in the kitchen all day. This Tenderloin recipe is quite simple and fast yet feels festive and tastes wonderful! I made this for our 2nd Christmas dinner…again our honorary “daughter”, Litto, had to work over Christmas and so we had another dinner for her and our family. We had Sweet potato and maple sausage hash for late Christmas Eve supper after church with our son. Then we had ham with the family on Christmas day. I was wondering about cooking chicken or beef but Litto loves pork so tenderloin won and my, was it a winner!! Every last morsel was snatched up and everyone wanted to know how to make it. I was glad to be able to share a recipe that even these busy, full time working people can make for a special dinner on a weeknight.
I served this roast with an awesome pineapple salsa. I saw a avocado -pineapple salsa on the Martha Stewart Website, and that gave me the idea to add avocado to my regular pineapple salsa. I really liked the result!
I also made my favorite rice with dates, pecans and raisins. For our vegetable, I made broccoli topped with cheese. It was such a wonderful and relaxed meal.
So basically this tenderloin is coated in a sweet, spice rub. You can make this rub as spicy or mild as you like. If you are not into spicy, use the sugar, salt, cinnamon with just a pinch of cumin and allspice or whatever combo you choose.
Tenderloin cooks quickly. I like to start it in a very hot oven and lower the heat a bit. The sugar in this rub can burn quickly so watch it. The juices can smoke and if this is a problem, you can turn the oven down or even take the pan out and move the roasts to another foil lined pan and put back in a cooler oven. You want to cook this to a temperature of about 155 and then let it rest.
Caribbean Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Salsa
¼ cup light-brown sugar
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
2 pork tenderloins ( one package)
Heat oven to 475 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine all the spices and sugar. Remember these spices are optional- use what you have and what you like!
Rinse and pat dry the tenderloins. Put foil over a large rectangular baking sheet and place tenderloin on it. Pat the spice rub onto meat. Place into oven.
Immediately turn heat down to 450. Keep a close eye on the roast and if the glaze is smoking or over browning, turn oven down a bit. After 5 minutes, you can turn this down to 425.
After 15 minutes, check with an instant-read thermometer to see if pork is 150 degrees, or after about 20 minutes, turn oven down to 375 degrees. Let pork roast another 5-7 minutes until temp is around 155.
Remove to rest for 8 minutes. The pork can still be pink in the center or it may be cooked to white throughout but do not let it dry out
Slice into ½ inch medallions and serve with rice and a fruity salsa, such as this pineapple-avocado salsa or try a mango or peach salsa.
Grilled pineapple salsa
4 large fresh pineapple spears
Place on foil and spritz or brush with oil and broil for 7 or so minutes, turning to each side, until beginning to turn golden brown.
Juice of one orange or lime
½ red onion, minced
1 small jalapeno, minced
1 tsp each sugar
1 tsp of salt, sea salt preferred
1 tsp ginger paste or pressed ginger
1 diced avocado
1/3cup cilantro, chopped
Mix everything together and chill for a bit. Serve alongside pork.