Seared Pork Tenderloin with Cocoa Spice Rub

A dear friend was coming for dinner. We trade. I feed her. She colors my hair. I wanted to pick something new to make and wanted to, perhaps, try something out of a cookbook I had not used before. I need to be careful with this friend. SHe is allergic to tomatoes. You would be amazed how many recipes have tomato based products in them! I grabbed Food Network Favorites and searched through, looking, looking, not finding. I turned the page in the Michael Chiarello section, and there it was – Seared Pork Tenderloin with Cocoa Spice Rub.

Lets’ start like this – OMG – OMFG – OOOOOHHHHH-EMMMMMM-YUMMMMMMMYYYYYYY. I wasn’t sure what to expect.  As I piled the spices onto a plate I was a little hesitant. They were all so dark. Each so heady by themselves. Together they could be a BIG mess. But, I am delighted and satiated to say that together they were DA BOMB! THis recipe is totally amazing. Delicious. Quick. No fuss. And – did I say I liked it yet? – so amazingly good I am going to make this for company (and just us’ns) ALL THE TIME!

  • 1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 4 tablespoons sea salt, preferably gray
  • 2 (2-pound) boneless pork tenderloins
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium sautee pan over medium heat, toast white peppercorns and coriander seeds until they begin to pop. Don’t let them go for too long or they scorch and you have to start over. Remove from heat, let cool completely, and grind to fine powder in a spice mill or coffee grinder. If you don’t let the seeds cool completely they have a tendency to be very wet when you grind them. Mix the ground pepper and coriander with the remaining spices, cocoa and salt.

Trim the pork tenderloins of fat and silver skin. Rub tenderloins with a generous amount of the cocoa spice rub.

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Sear each tenderloin on all sides until a rich brown color, about 2 minutes on each side. You want them to have a nice crust on them.

NOTE: The fragrance coming out of the pan is intoxicating!

Remove tenderloins from heat and finish in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until cooked through.

NOTE: I know this a DUH moment – but I just put the sautee pan right into the oven. Reading it (FIVE TIMES) I kept thinking I needed to transfer the tenderloin to a baking dish.

Let the tenderloins rest out of the oven for at least 10 minutes before carving.

NOTE: The cooking time was absolutely spot on. The pork was tender and moist. The aroma was incredible. The taste even more so. There was a certain earthiness to the pork from the spices. You couldn’t quite tell there was cocoa, you just knew there was something different.

Extra cocoa spice rub will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 months. I used about half for the 2 tenderloins.

NOTE: Sorry about the photos. There doesn’t seem to be ap olite way to photograph pork tenderloin!