chinese roast pork

(I thought the earlier picture was anemic looking, so the next time I made this roast pork, I took another picture!) This is the home version of the traditional red roast pork found in Chinese restaurants all over the world. I like it with a stronger anise flavor so I’ve added a clove of star anise and Sichuan peppercorns to the marinade.  In Chinatown, specialty shops sell barbecued duck, crackling pork, and, red roast pork. Their wares hang in the shop windows, shiny with grease and stippled with fat. No words need convey the deliciousness of these barbecued and roasted meats. A pound of this red roast pork costs $9.00 in New York’s Chinatown. My homemade version: $5.00.

Chinese roast pork (adapted from: The Gourmet Chinese Regional Cookbook)

1 lb pork tenderloin, excess fat and the silver removed

Marinade
2 T brown bean sauce, mashed
2 t minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 Tablespoon dry sherry
1 clove star anise
1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red food coloring, optional

Put all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat ingredients until sugar is just melted. Cool slightly. Put pork in a pan and pour marinade over pork. Refrigerate overnight. On baking day, let stand 3-6 hours at room temperature, turning occasionally. Remove from marinade and discard the marinade. Bake at 350˚ for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and tent with foil. Let the meat rest 10 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with rice or noodles.

Cook’s Note: I’ve upped the food coloring to make it a deeper red and made it optional because not everyone likes to color their food. It depends on if you want traditional or not!

spice-rubbed pork tenderloin

A spicy pork tenderloin is paired with caramelized carrots. It is moist and tender. This is the entrée for a cold winter night. Or a summer picnic. I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit, which advises cooks to use either baby carrots or carrots cut to baby carrot length. The amounts given in the recipe were for two pounds of carrots and two pork tenderloins. I used one pound of carrots and 1 pork tenderloin and did not halve the seasonings. I’m glad I didn’t. The result was just right and full of flavor. My recommendation is to double the recipe for two pork tenderloins and two pounds of carrots. This is the second recipe  (chicken and fennel meatballs was the first) I’ve recommended a salsa verde and I didn’t make it!

Yield: Makes 6 servings

 Carrots:
1 pound baby carrots, peeled, trimmed
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter, diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 small jalapeño (preferably red), seeded, if desired, and coarsely chopped (I used a frozen Thai chili pepper)
1 teaspoon honey (I used sugar free maple-flavored syrup)
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

 Pork:   
1 (1-to 1 1/4-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and silver
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Salsa Verde
1 can tomatillos
2-3 serrano chilies, seeded and chopped
1 bunch cilantro, leaves only
salt to taste
olive oil to drizzle

 For carrots:
Arrange carrots on large rimmed baking sheet. Whisk 2 tablespoons water and all remaining ingredients in small bowl; pour over carrots and toss to coat. Cover tightly with heavy-duty foil. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Toss to coat before continuing.

For pork:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Roast carrot mixture covered until just tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, arrange pork tenderloin on another rimmed baking sheet. Stir oregano, cumin, chile powder, smoked paprika, and 1 teaspoon coarse salt in small bowl; rub mixture all over tenderloin.
  • Heat oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork to skillet and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  • Return to rimmed baking sheet. Remove foil from carrots. Nestle pork among carrots on baking sheet, arranging carrots in single layer around pork.
  • Roast uncovered until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 145°F,stirring carrots occasionally if beginning to caramelize, about 15-18 minutes.
  • Let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer pork to work surface. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange carrots on platter. Top with pork slices, drizzling any pan juices over the pork and carrots. Serve with a salsa verde, either home made or if you have no time to make one, store-bought.