Fragrant Pork Tenderloin with Spinach and Chickpeas

Pork Tenderloin is an incredibly versatile cut of meat.  It is moist and tender when prepared correctly and has a more mellow pork flavor that holds its own well.  Oftentimes prepared with minimal seasoning, I feel that this is doing it a disservice.

For this Fragrant Pork Tenderloin, we borrow from an Eastern spice range. The smoked Paprika adds to a palate-pleasing recipe which comes together very quickly and easily.  It is better to leave the pork to marinate for an hour or so, but less time will also work.

When purchasing Pork Tenderloin look for a bright pink colour.  If you are using a smaller butcher you may be able to request that they clean the cut for you as well.

Fragrant Pork Tenderloin with Spinach and Chickpeas

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 Pork Tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground Coriander
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan Salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil

For the vegetables

  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup diced carrots
  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 2 cups of Spinach shredded
  • ½ cup of cooked chickpeas
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 potato
  • Oil for frying
  • Fresh coriander for garnishing
  • Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees Celcius / 450 degrees Fahrenheit / Gas mark 8.

  2. Prepare the marinade by combining the spices and olive oil in a flat dish.

  3. Clean the Pork Tenderloin by removing as much of the silver skin as you are able to. Trim the tail end down slightly and remove the head of the Tenderloin. The head will detach as the silver skin is removed.  

  4. Roll the Tenderloin in the marinade. Be sure to coat it as generously as possible. Set aside while you prepare the vegetables.

  5. Peel carrots and dice carrots into evenly sized pieces.

  6. Peel and finely chop approximately half a medium red onion. Any extra onion can be frozen for later use.  

  7. Clean and finely chop the Bell pepper.  

  8. Wash and dry the spinach. Roll the spinach leaves up tightly and sliced into thin strips.  

  9. For the potato chip garnish peel and trim down your potato to a size slightly larger than your cutter. Using a Mandolin or knife cut into thin slices. If you prefer you can punch out the centers with a smaller cutter. Fry the slices in hot oil until crispy. Place on paper towel to remove excess oil.

  10. Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan until it starts to smoke. Do not add extra oil to the pan. Evenly seal the Tenderloin and place in an oven tray. Allow the meat to relax before putting into the oven to cook.

  11. Using the same frying pan, add a small amount of oil over a medium heat. Start by browning the carrots and then add the onion. Once the onions are translucent add the peppers, garlic, and chickpeas. Finally, stir in the spinach and allow the moisture to cook out.  

  12. The pork Tenderloin will need approximately fifteen minutes for medium, depending on how thick the meat is. Once ready allow the meat to rest before slicing.  

Fragrant Pork Tenderloin with Spinach and Chickpeas

Serves 2

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Active cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pork Tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground Coriander
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan Salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil

For the vegetables

  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup diced carrots
  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 2 cups of Spinach, shredded
  • ½ cup of cooked chickpeas
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 potato
  • Oil for frying
  • Fresh coriander for garnishing
  • Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees Celcius / 450 degrees Fahrenheit / Gas mark 8.
  2. Prepare the marinade by combining the spices and olive oil in a flat dish.
  3. Clean the Pork Tenderloin by removing as much of the silver skin as you are able to. Trim the tail end down slightly and remove the head of the Tenderloin.  The head will detach as the silver skin is removed.
  4. Roll the Tenderloin in the marinade. Be sure to coat it as generously as possible.  Set aside while you prepare the vegetables.
  5. Peel carrots and dice carrots into evenly sized pieces.
  6. Peel and finely chop approximately half a medium red onion.  Any extra onion can be frozen for later use.
  7. Clean and finely chop the Bell pepper.
  8. Wash and dry the spinach.  Roll the spinach leaves up tightly and sliced into thin strips.
  9. For the potato chip garnish peel and trim down your potato to a size slightly larger than your cutter.  Using a Mandolin or knife cut into thin slices. If you prefer you can punch out the centers with a smaller cutter.  Fry the slices in hot oil until crispy. Place on paper towel to remove excess oil.
  10. Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan until it starts to smoke.  Do not add extra oil to the pan. Evenly seal the Tenderloin and place in an oven tray.   Allow the meat to relax before putting into the oven to cook.
  11. Using the same frying pan, add a small amount of oil over a medium heat.  Start by browning the carrots and then add the onion. Once the onions are translucent add the peppers, garlic, and chickpeas.  Finally, stir in the spinach and allow the moisture to cook out.
  12. The pork Tenderloin will need approximately fifteen minutes for medium, depending on how thick the meat is.  Once ready allow the meat to rest before slicing.

Equipment:

Frying pan, sharp knife, mandolin, different sized cutters, oven tray, and tongs.

Step 1: Preparation

Read through the entire recipe and have all your ingredients together.  The real secret to a successful dish is preparing properly before cooking even starts.

Preheat oven to 230 degrees Celcius / 450 degrees Fahrenheit / Gas mark 8.

Step 2: Preparing the Pork Tenderloin

To prepare the Pork Tenderloin trim as much of the silver skin away as possible.  Also, trim down the tail, or the thin end of the Tenderloin, to prevent overcooking.  The head of the Tenderloin will naturally come off and your trim the skin away.

At this point you may also smooth out the Tenderloin by carefully slicing off any protruding pieces of meat.

Step 3: Marinate the Pork Tenderloin

Prepare the marinade by simply combining the spices and olive oil.  Evenly coat the Tenderloin with the marinade and set aside while the vegetables are prepared.

As always, starting off with a room temperature cut is essential to a evenly cooked piece of meat.

Step 4: Preparing the vegetables

Carrots:  Peel and cut your sweet potato into small, evenly sized cubes.

Red Onion: Peel and finely chop your red onion.  You don’t need more than a quarter cup.  Bag any extra and freeze for future use.

Bell Peppers: Trim and remove the seeds of a small red Bell pepper.  Cut into similarly sized pieces as your red onion.

Spinach: To prepare the spinach, wash the leaves and then roll up tightly.  Using a rocking motion with your knife, cut the leaves into strips.

Potato chip garnish:  Peel your potato and trim down to slightly larger than your round cutter.  Press out a cylinder. Using a mandolin or just your knife, slice the cylinder into thin discs.  Punch the inside of each disc out with a smaller cutter.

Deep fry the discs until crispy.  Place on paper towel to remove any excess oil.  Season well.


Step 5: Cooking the Pork Tenderloin

Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan until the pan is smoking hot.  Do not use any additional oil as the marinade is oil based. Seal the Tenderloin until evenly browned.  Take care not to burn the spices. Place the Tenderloin into an oven tray and allow the meat to relax before putting the tray into the oven.  Cook a small tenderloin for fifteen minutes for medium. The thickness of the Tenderloin will determine cooking time. For more precision use a meat thermometer and reach 71 degrees Celcius or 160 degrees Fahrenheit for medium.

Step 6: Cooking the vegetables

Using the same pan the Pork Tenderloin was sealed in, add a small amount of oil.

Start by browning the carrots before cooking the onions to translucent.  Sprinkle the nutmeg and cinnamon into the pan.  Add the peppers, garlic, and chickpeas.  Fry for a minute before adding the spinach.  Allow any excess moisture from the spinach to cook out.

Season vegetables with freshly ground black pepper, Himalayan salt and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Step 7: Bringing it all together

Remove the Pork Tenderloin from the oven tray onto your cutting board to rest.  Split the vegetables between two plates. Using an oversized round cutter will help keep the vegetables together neatly.  Press down to the compact the spinach.

Slice the Pork Tenderloin and arrange on top of the vegetables.  Finish with the potato chip garnish and fresh Coriander.

Tips:

Season the potato chip garnish with chili for an extra kick.

The Pork Tenderloin can be placed in the marinade several hours in advance to cut down on last minutes preparation.

It is perfectly acceptable to serve pork which is a slightly pink medium rare.

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