Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lomo De Cerdo Al Horno...with Roasted Salsa Sauce!

Our wonderful friend is in town and staying with us this week, so I made a few awesome meals to make her feel welcome and loved.  This meal is based off the Puerto Rican Pernil Al Horno, but I didn't have a bone-in pork shoulder to roast, nor did I have 6 hours plus a day in advance to prepare something that tasty.  I had a pork tenderloin and a whole lot of heirloom tomatoes, Padron peppers, and summer squashes from our weekend trip to the farm.  This worked out better than fine, the meal was fantastic and we all really enjoyed it.

The Meat
- 1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin
- salt, pepper to taste
- A few slices of Port Salut semi soft cheese
- 2 green onions, diced

The Veggies
- 2 summer squashes, cut into large chunks
- 1 large zucchini squash, cut into large chunks
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed
- dill, salt, pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1/2 cup water

The Sauce
- 3 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into really large chunks
- 1 slicing tomato, cut into really large chunks
- 1/2 red onion, cut into pieces
- 10-12 Padron peppers, stems and seeds removed
- 1 jalapeno pepper, stems and seeds removed
- 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- chipotle habanero sauce to taste
- chili pepper flakes, chipotle pepper powder, black pepper, paprika, dill, cilantro, salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Using a strong blender or food processor, blend together the sauce ingredients until everything is mostly smooth with a few chunks of tomato still intact.  Play with the taste of the sauce - if you like it spicier, add more spice, or keep the jalapeno seeds in your mix.  If you want it milder, omit the jalapeno pepper, chipotle powder, chili flakes and chipotle habanero sauce.  

Salt and pepper your meat, put it in a deep enough baking dish to contain both the meat and your sauce, and slowly pour the spicy tomato mixture over the whole tenderloin.  Stick it in the oven and cook it for an hour to one hour and fifteen minutes.  Make sure the internal temperature is at 145 degrees to ensure your food is properly cooked through.

Put the large chunks of squash and cubed sweet potatoes in a glass baking dish and sprinkle with dill, salt and pepper.  Brush the olive oil on and pour the water into the bottom of the dish.  Cook for 35-45 minutes on the same rack as the pork. 

When the tenderloin is all done, the sauce should have thickened and darkened a bit.  Slice up the tenderloin and spoon the sauce back over the top of the meat.  Layer some of the delicious semi-soft cheese on top and let it melt for a few minutes before you serve it.  Sprinkle on the green onions and present your food!  I put some fresh green grapes and some full fat Greek yogurt on the table as garnish - the sweet grapes paired great with the smoky, spicy flavors, and the Greek yogurt soothed our slightly burning tongues from all the delicious spiciness.  You could also use sour cream if you wanted, it's all about your preferences and palates.  

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