This recipe was inspired by one I found in a Whole Foods magazine recently. I was excited to play with it last week not only because of its lovely green and red holiday appearance (the greens look a bit like a Christmas tree, don't you think?), but because kale and pork are always welcome guests at our table. I love recipes that offer a simple sauce to accompany pork because let's face it, plain pork tenderloin is a yawn. As for the kale, it is so versatile and SO GOOD for you, it is something I'm trying to incorporate into our diet more and more. So much so that I'm thinking about a kale based new year's resolution.
This is a dish that is pretty quick to the table, and as you slog your way through the last bits of your holiday entertaining mayhem, it will be a welcome, quick and easy weeknight meal. Boris and I served smashed sweet potatoes with the kale and pork, and had it all done and on the table in about 40 minutes. Sweet potato fries from your freezer would be equally good here and make prep even easier.
Cheers – Steve
for the pork and sauce:
- 2 pork tenderloins, trimmed of all fat and silverskin
- 1 teaspoon pimenton
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- Kosher salt to taste (at least 1 teaspoon)
- 1 pomegranate
- 1 cup pomegranate juice (such as POM)
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons sherry or red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons butter
for the kale:
- 1 bunch kale (or chard), de-stemmed, washed, dried and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (grate on a fine microplane grater)
- zest of 1 lemon, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Heat the oven to 400℉.
- Score the pomegranate along it's equator with a small, sharp knife. Submerge it in a large bowl of cold water and gently pry it apart along the incision with your fingers. Keeping the fruit submerged, gently work the arils (seeds) free from the pith. You will find that the arils sink and the pith floats. Remove all the skin and pith leaving only the arils at the bottom of the bowl, strain to drain away all the water and reserve the arils for plating.
- Mix all the spices, salt and pepper in a small bowl, then rub the mix over the tenderloins. Heat a large skillet over a medium flame, and when the pan is hot, pour in just enough olive oil to cover the bottom with a fine slick. Add the pork to the pan and brown the meat on all sides, this will take about 5 minutes. Move the pan to the oven and continue cooking the meat until a thermometer registers 140℉, about 10 minutes more. Remove the meat to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest about 10 minutes.
- Add the pomegranate juice to the pork pan and place it over a high flame. Boil until the juice is reduced by half, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk together the cornstarch and vinegar until dissolved, then whisk the mix into the reducing juice until the mixture thickens, about 1-2 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and swirl in the butter, taste for seasoning, reserve.
- Meanwhile, add kale, garlic, ginger, lemon zest, and a splash of water to another skillet placed over medium-high heat. Stir and toss the greens until wilted, but still crunchy (2-3 minutes for chard, 5-6 minutes for kale). Add the soy and sesame seeds, toss to coat then remove from the heat.
- To serve, slice the tenderloins on a diagonal, garnish with the sauce, top with pomegranate arils and serve along-side the gingered kale.