Whats for Dinner

It’s nearing the end of the week. Life is busy. The fridge is getting to the point where I’m forced to improvise.

I look in the fridge and nothing jumps out at me. I open the freezer and spot a frozen container of pork tenderloin left over from Christmas tamales, and then my eureka moment! Tacos!

With New Years Resolutions fresh in mind, and a bridesmaid dress to fit in to. Mexican is great but often heavy. Here is what I intend as a healthier version of some of my favorite guilty pleasures.

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Yes! The pork tenderloin that I lovingly roasted with garlic and chiles, was coming back from the (near) past like a gift I had given to myself, from a time when I wouldn’t know I needed it. Leftovers are amazing.

Earlier this week I saw Bakesale Betty’s awe inspiring Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich, featured on ABC’s The Chew. It had this amazing jalapeno coleslaw on it. It would be perfect on pulled pork tacos, and I knew I had what I needed to make it.

And that lone avocado sitting on my window sill would be the earthy foil for the tangy coleslaw. Dinner is saved, and I don’t have to resort calling for Pizza…

For the Coleslaw:

  • 1 small Red Onion (sliced very thin)
  • 1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Pickled Jalapeno Chiles (cut in half lengthwise; sliced crosswise)
  • 1/2 Green Cabbage (core and outer leaves removed; sliced very thin)
  • a handful of Cilantro chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

Directions: In a small bowl, cover sliced onions with red wine vinegar, allowing to macerate for 5 minutes. Drain off vinegar, discard and add onions to a medium mixing bowl along with cabbage, cilantro, jalapenos, salt and enough vinaigrette to moisten. Combine all ingredients and adjust seasoning.

To accompany the tacos, I decided to try Tyler Florence’s Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon, and black beans that I sauteed in garlic and salsa.

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon

Ingredients

  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling potatoes after cooked
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lay the sweet potatoes out in a single layer on a roasting tray. Drizzle the oil, honey, cinnamon, salt and pepper over the potatoes. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes in oven or until tender.

Roasted Pulled Pork Tenderloin

I was making this pork for our Christmas tamales. Since I make my tamales with lard, I decided that I would do our hearts a small favor by stuffing the tamales with a leaner pork tenderloin in place of  a fatty pork butt or shoulder. It ended up working perfectly. This is a loose recipe an you can tailor it to your tastes.

  • 2 Tenderloins of Pork – silver skin removed, and cubed into large chunks
  • 4 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2  Ancho Chiles, 2 Pasilla Chiles, and 2 Chiles de Arbol (all dried)
  • 1 cup of Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  • splash of olive oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put cubed pork into baking dish of your choice. Put chiles in a small pot of water and put on high heat. Allow chiles to reconstitute. When they are soft, rinse them and remove seeds and stems. Put in food processor with garlic cloves, cinnamon, and chicken broth. Puree mixture and with a fine strainer, strain over pork. salt and pepper the pork to your liking. Cover with tin foil and bake about 1.5-2 hours. Check periodically and add water or broth as it cooks, to insure it doesn’t dry out. Remove from oven. Allow to cool. Fork apart. At this point I usually like to add my home made enchilada sauce to the pork to moisten it, and it’s ready for use.

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