Monday, December 27, 2010

Pork Tenderloin "Diablo" – The Devil is in the Details

This roasted pork recipe is the first meat dish I remember learning in culinary school. It was demonstrated by a German chef at the Hotel Saranac, and when I asked why it was called "Diablo," he said because that means "devil." Um, thanks. 

Eventually I learned that "Diablo," referred to the old-school culinary terminology for something spicy being, "deviled." Back then entrée's had names. Dishes like Beef Wellington, Clams Casino, Steak Diane, Lobster Thermidor, and this Pork Diablo, would be proudly displayed across menus in bold font, followed by the chef's brief description.

Nowadays, naming a dish just isn't as fashionable, so all we get is the description, and a lot of it. Maybe we're compensating for no longer giving the recipe an official title, but these descriptions tend to go on forever, and give way more detail than necessary, including what farm the Brussels sprouts came from, and at what angle the pork will be sliced.

One of these days I fully expect to see, "rosemary sprig was picked left-handed, by a guy named Pete." I hope I don't sound too curmudgeonly, but I kind of prefer the way we used to do it. There was a bit more formality to it, and just the right amount of mystery. Today's menu descriptions don't leave anything to the imagination. [Insert burlesque analogy here].

Regardless of how you choose to communicate it on your menu, this is a great pork recipe. Mustard is a classic with pork, but when you add the extra zing of horseradish and cayenne, and then smooth it out with a little cream and butter, well, it's devilishly delicious.

As I mentioned in the video, the great thing about pork tenderloin is it's one of those versatile cuts of meat that's fancy enough for a New Year's Eve dinner party, but also works equally well as a simple and quick weeknight meal. 

By the way, if you've watched our older pork tenderloin videos, you'll notice I used to cook the meat to a higher internal temperature. Since all the old cookbooks say to cook pork to 185 degrees F., I felt like a real renegade only cooking it to 165. Now, I'm a believer that somewhere closer to 145 is perfect.

And by "perfect," I mean juicy, flavorful, and able to be cut with a fork, and you'll see in the final climactic scene. I hope you give this Pork "Diablo" recipe a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients: (make 2-3 portions)
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon extra hot horseradish
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon fresh chives
1 tablespoon cold butter

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