A warm spice rub of cocoa and chili powder contrasts nicely with a fresh mango and cilantro relish for a pork roast with bold flavor.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Lean pork tenderloin makes a great choice for a light and healthy meal. But its leanness also means it has a mild flavor and is quick to dry out; we aimed to solve both these problems without adding a lot of fat. Searing the pork on the stovetop and then finishing it in the oven was a good start—this allowed the tenderloin to develop a flavorful crust without drying out. A warm spice rub of cocoa powder, chili powder, and salt boosted the flavor of the pork. And for moisture and textural contrast, we added a bright mango relish flavored with cilantro, lime juice, and shallot, plus jalapeño for a little kick. We prefer fresh mango here, but you can substitute 1 cup frozen mango. If your mango is unripe, add sugar as needed in step 4. If the pork is enhanced (injected with a salt solution), do not brine. If brining the pork, omit the salt in step 1. Note that the cocoa and chili powders will make the exterior of the pork look almost blackened. for the nutritional information for this recipe. See the sidebar that follows the recipe.
2 teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1(12-ounce) pork tenderloin, trimmed and brined if desired
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
½ mango, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon minced jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine chili powder, cocoa, and ¼ teaspoon salt in bowl. Pat tenderloin dry with paper towels and rub evenly with spice mixture.