Check out this delicious and simple to prepare recipe for Pork Tenderloin with Banana-Dates Chutney.How is your summer going so far? To be honest, on one hand I’m glad because my sister is visiting from Poland, my boys get a break from school and we travel a bit. And there is the abundance of gorgeous, amazingly tasting fresh produce. On the other hand, I’m too busy to cook, photograph and write. And I miss it. I have a long list of recipes I want to work on before the summer ends and some of the fresh produce is gone. But I’m not sure I can do them all. So, I look forward to the normal routine and being able to post twice a week. Considering how this year has been so far health wise I remain cautious, though. My son’s arm is healing well and he is even attending a “Zombie Survival” summer camp this week!
I discovered today’s recipe recently. I had some fresh pork tenderloin that I was going to prepare my usual way (salt, pepper, some herbs). I decided to check the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook for their suggestions and found this amazing Banana and Dates Chutney recipe. I happened to have all of the ingredients at home so I gave it a try. It turned out SO well! Way better than expected although by just looking at the ingredients list one suspects good things. There are dates, jalapeno, bananas, ginger, brown sugar and fresh mint. And a touch of curry powder. You really can’t go wrong with such a combination. This chutney and any leftover pork tenderloin are also great the next day on a sandwich.
Pork tenderloin tastes great, cooks quickly and is diet-friendly. Sear on a hot skillet until a bit of crust develops and then place it in the oven to finish cooking. Searing it first locks the moisture inside, particularly important with lean meat. The pork should appear slightly pink when done and the thermometer should register 145 degrees. The roasted pork (and every other kind of meat) needs to rest, covered with aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes.
To prepare the meat, trim any fat and the white layer of the connecting tissue (per my sister, a veterinary school student, the connecting tissue keeps the pork tenderloin attached to the spine :)). This kind of meat doesn’t need a lot of spices or a long marinating time. Since the chutney requires a bit of curry powder, I used a spice mix called Herbs de Poulet Oo-La-La from Two Snooty Chefs that I found recently at my local store . This spice mix combines sage, tarragon and curry as well as some other secret ingredients. Give it a try if you see it. Otherwise, salt and pepper is all you need to add.
While the meat cooks on a skillet, start working on the chutney. Chop the dates and onion and then set them aside. Grate the ginger, mince the garlic. When the pork looks brown on all sides, transfer it carefully onto an aluminum foil covered baking sheet and place into preheated oven. Roast for about 12-15 minutes until the inside of the pork registers about 145 degrees. Use the juices left on the skillet as a base for the chutney. After placing the pork tenderloin into the oven, combine the chopped dates with apple cider vinegar and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of butter onto the skillet and cook the onion with a bit of water. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft and golden. Stir in grated ginger, minced garlic and 1 teaspoon curry powder. Stir well, and then turn off the heat.
The meat should be almost ready. Check the temperature inside the pork and remove from the oven if only slightly pink. Cover it with the foil so it continues cooking while it rests.
Return the skillet back to the stove and stir in chopped bananas, dates mixture, jalapeno and brown sugar. Cook on low heat until bananas and dates soften up, about 8 minutes. Add salt and pepper. If the chutney seems dry, stir in 1 tablespoon of water. It should have a nice balance of sweet, savory, salty and spicy flavors. If the bananas were really sweet, adding 1 teaspoon or so of lemon juice will balance them out. Add chopped mint and stir.
Slice the meat and place it on a platter. Spoon the chutney around the slices. Serve with Basmati rice.
Roasted Pork Tenderloin:
- 1 pork tenderloin, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon Herbs de Poulet Oo-La-La (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 dates, pits discarded, chopped into small pieces
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion, chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1-1.5 ripe banana, chopped into small pieces
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded (if desired) and finely chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
- A handful of fresh mint, chopped
- Roasted Pork Tenderloin: trim the meat, rub the spices into it. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Pour the oil into a hot skillet and add the pork tenderloin. Cook it, rotating slightly until nicely browned on each side. Transfer into a baking sheet and place into the oven. Continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Banana-Dates Chutney: while pork tenderloin is marinating/cooking on the stove, chop dates and onion, separately set aside. Mince garlic, grate ginger. After transferring meat to the oven, mix chopped dates with apple cider vinegar and set aside. Heat up the skillet again and melt the butter. Add chopped onion, 2 tablespoons of water and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion softens and turns golden. Add ginger, garlic and curry powder. Stir well and set aside. Chop the remaining ingredients: banana, jalapeno and mint.
- With pork tenderloin resting, return the skillet to the stove and heat it up. Add dates with the apple cider vinegar, banana, jalapeno and brown sugar into the skillet. Cook until banana starts to break apart, around 8 -10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, lemon juice if needed. Stir in the mint.
- Slice the pork tenderloin and spoon the chutney around it. Serve it with Basmati rice.
This recipe, with some tiny changes, comes from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook.