Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rind and Brine

So, this is a new one for me. I can't recall ever having made a pork tenderloin. I wanted something different though, and I definitely succeeded! I have never made anything that is brined, and I have never made a tenderloin. Two new things in one day.

The title is called Rind and Brine because part of the brining solution is lime rind. Curious. I have used lemon rind in cooking before but never lime rind. Make that three new things in one day. Actually five because I have never used cumin seed or Mexican oregano before. Yes, I have used cumin powder, just not the actual seed. And yes, I have used oregano before, just not Mexican oregano.

This recipe is time consuming in the sense that the brine must marinate with the meat for 24 hours. I just let the mixture hang out in the roasting pan in a plastic bag in the back of my fridge. The husband had fun poking and playing with it. Boys! The actual cooking and making the brine isn't time consuming, it's just the marinating process. But I promise it is well worth it! The meat was unbelievably tender and moist. It was slightly salty and spicy from the chipotle peppers.

Here's the thing. I bought a 3-pound loin from the store thinking it was one loin. Wrong! I got it out of the package and it was actually two thinner loins. Sneaky so-and-so's. So, I reduced the cooking time down to 45 minutes total (15 minutes at the higher heat and 30 at the lower). Regardless of the switcheroo, it was still excellent.

Oh! I almost forgot. My grocery store didn't carry 2-gallon ziploc bags, so I just used one of those oven bags that you stick a turkey in. So what if it doesn't zipper top. It did the job.

This was awesome. I will definitely be making it again. From the request of my husband, he wants me to make it with red beans and rice next time for an extra Cuban flair. Boys!

Pork and rub before baking:

Chile-Brined Roasted Pork Loin
from: Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2009

1 cup water
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons grated lime rind
1 tablespoon Mexican dried oregano
6 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 can (7 oz) chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
2 cups ice cubes
1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin, trimmed
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Mexican dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
cooking spray

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Pour into a large bowl; cool to room temperature. Add 6 cups water, salt, and sugar, stirring until dissolved. Stir in chiles. Pour salt mixture into a 2-gallon zip-top plastic bag. Add ice and pork; seal. Marinate in refrigerator 24 hours, turning occasionally.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

3. Remove pork from bag; discard brine. Pat pork dry with paper towels. Combine juice and next 3 ingredients. Place pork in a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Brush juice mixture over pork. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees (do not remove pork from oven); bake an additional 45 minutes or until thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers at 155 degrees. Place pork on a platter. Cover with foil; let stand 15 minutes. Cut into thin slices.