The main attraction: Ancho sauce and caramelized onions adorn Spanish pork loin

Spring gourmet main course

Pork with Sardinian fennel and mushroom risotto on the side

Now that you’re nicely warmed up with a pleasant cocktail and a savory appetizer, we’ll move right along to the star of the meal. Vinny rubs a large, lean pork tenderloin with a blend of dried ancho chili pepper and other spices. The meat rests in the fridge for up to a day ahead.

On the day of the party, we make the sides:

Then we caramelize the onions and make the ancho sauce.

We make all these things well ahead of the guests’ arrival.

We need 30 minutes to barbecue the pork and another 10 minutes to prepare the plates. Tip: Consider barbecuing the pork BEFORE you serve the appetizer, so your guests don’t have too long a wait between the courses (another lesson we learn the hard way).

As Vinny’s blog is more about what to cook rather than how to cook in detail, we  hope the info below is decent enough that you can make this pork dish for your own guests. I think they’ll thank you for it!

Spanish pork loin with ancho sauce and caramelized onions
serves 8

  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2  tablespoons smoked or sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried and powdered ancho chilies
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons  ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground fennel
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 red onions peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 8 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and steeped in hot water, then finely chopped
  • 2 cups maple syrup
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro, Italian parsley and rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons truffle oil to garnish

Prepare pork
1.     In a small bowl, combine paprika, ancho powder, mustard, coriander, cumin, fennel, pepper, and salt. Rub oil on pork, then pat with spice mixture to coat. Set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Caramelize onions
2.     In a hot skillet cook onions on low in oil with cover on until they lose their water. This takes at least half an hour. Then take off the cover and up the heat. When the onions are limp and browned, add 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Set aside and rewarm to serve.

Make ancho sauce
3.     In a small sauce pan, combine red wine, ancho chilies, and syrup. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a very slow bubble and allow to cook until you have  a sticky syrup. Set aside and reheat at serving time.

Grill pork
4. Preheat barbecue to medium high. Grill pork until browned on all sides, and a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of meat reads 155°, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let rest 10 minutes. Cut into slices to serve.

Serve the meal on warm, individual dinner plates
5.     Put fennel on one side
6.     Slice the pork thin and fan three or four slices beside the fennel, in the centre
7.     Add a spoonful of risotto on the other side
8.     Spoon ancho sauce on the meat and top with onions.
9.     Decorate the plate with drops of sauce.
10.    Drizzle truffle oil
11.     Garnish with chopped green herbs

About ancho chilies

When is chili pepper not an ancho? When it’s a poblano! As it turns out, the ancho is the sweetest of the dried chiles and is a staple in authentic Mexican cooking. It’s the mildest of all the hot peppers, with a sweet smokey warm flavor. But before it’s smoked and dried, it’s known as a poblano pepper.

I never liked chili much – all those dried beans and powdery flavorless spices… couldn’t see the point. Then I ran across two chefs who changed my mind about the whole scene: Bobby Flay who single-handedly popularized south western cuisine, and Richard McGary of REM Cooks, whose peppery dishes are easy to whip up and always delicious.

So I started experimenting. I’ve been amazed at the results and urge you to try too.

If you love peppers for their heat, you’ll be interested in this. All chile peppers (including ancho) contain a substance called capsaicin. The more capsaicin the hotter the chili. This substance has very real health benefits. It’s an inhibitor of something called Substance P,  which is triggers the inflammatory process. The simple explanation works something like this: capsaicin inhibits Substance P from causing inflammation…at least it slows it down. That means people who suffer from inflammation pain (like arthritis) will find relief with capsaicin.

Eating pepper or chile powder may also have cardiovascular benefits by protecting the fats in your blood from free-radicals. Chile peppers also give your immunity system a boost with their concentrated levels of beta-carotene and Vitamin A.

But watch out! The very substances that give chile peppers their health benefits can cause a lot of discomfort on your skin. Wash your hands after handling all chile peppers and chile pepper powder. And definitely don’t touch your face or eyes while handling this spice. It hurts!

– See more at: http://www.spicesherpa.com/spices/ancho-chile/#sthash.GSjxUK1w.dpuf

If you love peppers for their heat, you’ll be interested in this. All chile peppers (including ancho) contain a substance called capsaicin. The more capsaicin the hotter the chili. This substance has very real health benefits. It’s an inhibitor of something called Substance P,  which is triggers the inflammatory process. The simple explanation works something like this: capsaicin inhibits Substance P from causing inflammation…at least it slows it down. That means people who suffer from inflammation pain (like arthritis) will find relief with capsaicin.

Eating pepper or chile powder may also have cardiovascular benefits by protecting the fats in your blood from free-radicals. Chile peppers also give your immunity system a boost with their concentrated levels of beta-carotene and Vitamin A.

But watch out! The very substances that give chile peppers their health benefits can cause a lot of discomfort on your skin. Wash your hands after handling all chile peppers and chile pepper powder. And definitely don’t touch your face or eyes while handling this spice. It hurts!

– See more at: http://www.spicesherpa.com/spices/ancho-chile/#sthash.GSjxUK1w.dpuf

If you love peppers for their heat, you’ll be interested in this. All chile peppers (including ancho) contain a substance called capsaicin. The more capsaicin the hotter the chili. This substance has very real health benefits. It’s an inhibitor of something called Substance P,  which is triggers the inflammatory process. The simple explanation works something like this: capsaicin inhibits Substance P from causing inflammation…at least it slows it down. That means people who suffer from inflammation pain (like arthritis) will find relief with capsaicin.

Eating pepper or chile powder may also have cardiovascular benefits by protecting the fats in your blood from free-radicals. Chile peppers also give your immunity system a boost with their concentrated levels of beta-carotene and Vitamin A.

But watch out! The very substances that give chile peppers their health benefits can cause a lot of discomfort on your skin. Wash your hands after handling all chile peppers and chile pepper powder. And definitely don’t touch your face or eyes while handling this spice. It hurts!

– See more at: http://www.spicesherpa.com/spices/ancho-chile/#sthash.GSjxUK1w.dpuf

Their heat is as good for you as it tastes. It’s delivered by a substance called capsaicin. The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin. Capsaicin is an excellent anti-inflamatory agent. So if you suffer from arthritis or allergies or autoimmune problems or even difficulty losing weight, capsaicin can help relieve the problem.

Anchos are the mildest of the peppers, but that doesn’t mean bland. They impart a wonderful warm glow to your food that you won’t be able to resist. If you’re new to peppers, anchos are a great place to start. If you have some left over, use it in everything. I loved it in my omelets and in my veggie stir fries. I even used it in my salad dressings. Yum yum!

Related

Vinny cooks up an internet dinner – For the full menu and other recipe links to this delicious meal, click here!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nancy50in120
    May 31, 2014 @ 08:16:31

    Vinny – First of all thank you for your comments on my new blog…and new journey. I LOVE your blog. Great copy…funny and real and the recipes are inspired! Loved the Fennel section!!! Ill try some and add them to my food journal…….thank you for your support. N

    Reply

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