Peruse this expertly curated collection of entertaining favorites from 75 of the industry’s most beloved chefs. If anyone can compile a worthy tome of chef recipes, it’s noted food writer and book author Maria Isabella. This pork tenderloin with tomatillos is a tangy, savory Latin spin on a simple cut.
“With some minor tweaks in preparation, this dish can be made with a well-trimmed pork loin roast, cubes of pork shoulder, chicken breast, or even chicken thighs. All will be delicious and worthy of company!”
Roasted Tomatillo Sauce Base
- 1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
- 4 unpeeled cloves garlic
- 1-2 fresh serrano chiles
- 1 small white onion, sliced 1/2-inch-thick
- 1 large fresh poblano chile
- 1 1/2 pounds small red or white-skinned boiling potatoes (preferably about 1-inch across; if any larger, cut them in halves or quarters), peeled if you wish
- Vegetable oil, olive oil, bacon drippings or freshly rendered pork lard
- 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloins, silver skin removed
- 1 cup chicken broth, pork broth, vegetable broth or water
- 3-4 tablespoons chopped epazote or cilantro leaves, plus additional for garnish
- 1 lime, quartered, for drizzling
For the sauce and pork
To make the roasted tomatillo sauce base, on a rimmed baking sheet spread out the tomatillos, garlic, serrano, and onion. Slide the baking sheet as close up under a preheated broiler as possible. After 4 or 5 minutes, when everything is blotchy-black and softening, turn the vegetables and roast the other side. Look for everything to cook through (they should be soft), while taking on an attractive bit of rustic char. Remove from the broiler until cool enough to handle.
Slip the skins off the garlic and pull the stem off the chiles. In a blender, combine the tomatillos and any juice on the baking sheet, garlic, chiles, onion and a scant teaspoon of salt. Blend everything to a coarse purée. Set aside.
To make the pork tenderloin, roast the chile directly over high heat of a gas flame or charcoal fire until the tough skin blisters and blackens, about 5 minutes. If only an electric stove is available, heat the broiler, adjust the shelf as high as it will go, and roast, turning, until the chile is uniformly charred, about 10 minutes. While the chile is roasting, place the potatoes in a microwavable bowl, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of water, cover with plastic, poke a few holes in the top, and microwave at 100% for 4 minutes.
Place the blackened chile in a bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel to trap a little steam and loosen the charred skin. When the chile has cooled enough to be handled, rub off the charred skin and remove the seed pod by pulling firmly on the stem, then rinse the peeled, seeded flesh briefly under cool water.
In a very large 12-inch heavy skillet set over medium-high, heat the vegetable oil (or one of its stand-ins) to coat the bottom. When hot, dry off the meat with paper towels, sprinkle it generously with salt, and lay it in an uncrowded single layer in the pan. When brown on all sides — this takes 5 to 10 minutes — remove the meat to a plate and add the roasted tomatillo sauce base to the pan. Let the sauce simmer and reduce, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes. Roughly chop the chile and add it to the pan along with the potatoes. Finally, stir in the chicken broth and chopped epazote or cilantro leaves.
Nestle the meat into the pan, immediately reduce the heat to medium-low, cover it, and let the meat coast slowly toward doneness, about 20 minutes.
When the meat is done, remove the pork to a cutting board. Bring the sauce to a full boil, then taste and season it with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon. Cut the tenderloin into thick oval slices on the diagonal and lay them overlapping on each of 4 plates. Drizzle with a light squeeze of lime. The sauce and potatoes get spooned over and around the meat before the plates are carried to the table. Cilantro leaves add freshness to the finished dish.