September 13, 2020
Spice-Crusted Pork Tenderloin and Black Bean Cakes
With Avocado Mousse and a Tomatillo Sauce
Team Challenge, Season 4
37 down…62 to go!
For most of my life, pork hasn’t been my top choice for protein (with the exception of bacon, of course) because I felt like so many pork dishes were dry and unexciting. A couple of weeks ago, I made three pork recipes in a row. It was then when I came to the conclusion that pork really wasn’t too bad after all.
Well hats off to the MasterChef Junior cookbook for another amazing, delicious, flavorful, moist, and exciting pork dish! I was supposed to grill the pork before putting it in the oven, but I decided instead to pan sear it on high. I think the crust came out great, and the inside was so juicy, it was ridiculous.
The black bean cakes ended up being really good, especially covered in the avocado mousse. If you are vegetarian, add these to your list of great side dishes (It’s not vegan though, because an egg is used to bind the ingredients together). The avocado mousse was really flavorful, but perhaps I’m impartial since I’m a sucker for anything with avocado on it.
This was my first time ever cooking with tomatillos. Thank goodness for Google, otherwise I would’ve never known that what I was looking for were little green tomatoes in a husk-like casing. I also learned that they have a sticky exterior after husking them. I tell ya what, I could fill a book with all the facts I’m learning about ingredients from the recipes I’m making. I had also never heard of Masa Harina, a dried corn flour used to make tortillas. I love that the MasterChef Junior cookbook is teaching me about ingredients from all around the world!
Overall, I loved the dish. My only thought was… why have an avocado mousse and a tomatillo sauce (which also included avocados)? It felt a little redundant, honestly. Plus, I preferred the mousse over the sauce. If I had been team captain, I would have instructed my teammates to simplify and pick one sauce, puree, or mousse for a perfectly executed dish.
Just like the last recipe, I ended up using so many pots/pans and both the food processor and blender, twice! Thank goodness my fella is such a team player and helps me wash dishes in the middle of cooking so I don’t have to. No wonder this recipe was made during a team challenge, because it’s definitely a doozy to complete on your own.
What I did differently:
- I used light sour cream. It’s less fattening, and what we always have on hand.
- I opted for no salt added black beans. The amount of sodium found in canned food blows my mind. I’d rather add salt as needed.
- As stated above, I pan seared the pork tenderloin instead of grilling it/using a grill plate (I need one of those!). I also needed to cook it in the over for almost twice the time the recipe said to. I don’t know if it was my old(er) oven or the thickness of the tenderloin, but thankfully it came out perfectly in the end =)
- I don’t have a spice or coffee grinder (I guess I should put that on my list, too), so after toasting the cumin and coriander seeds, I put them in my food processor for awhile. Unfortunately, I still couldn’t get the spices to a fine, powder state. So I used a fine mesh sifter and separated the big pieces of coriander from the blend. I then added a pinch of ground coriander from my spice cabinet to make up the total amount called for in the recipe.
All my love,
Dani, a big tid
P.S. Are you a fan of avocados? I find people either hate them with a passion or love them more than anything in the world. Personally, I LOVE them, but I actually used to be kind of allergic to them. When I was young, my tongue would get really itchy when I ate avocados… but thankfully, I powered through it long enough that I built up a tolerance hahaha. Let me know where you stand in the comments!
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