Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Chutney
Rhubarb. It’s one of the most maligned and misunderstood vegetables in the garden. A showy, broad-leafed, and colorful addition to a home garden, it remains, nevertheless, a vegetable that draws scrunched-up faces from adults and children alike. And, likely, memories of an oh-so-gooey strawberry-rhubarb pie, loaded with sugar and cornstarch and topped with a soggy crust. Edible in the right setting, but all-in-all, pretty bland.
I want to celebrate rhubarb’s tart taste, not disguise it. And as the days grow warmer, the kitchen grows hotter. So we grill. Grilling and summer go together like…uh…meat and fruit.
Meat and fruit? Yin and Yang. I love to find sweet and tangy sauces and glazes to brush onto grilled roasts, so I recently experimented with a recipe for rhubarb chutney, used as a cooking glaze for grilled pork. Chutney, if you aren’t familiar with it, is a blend of fruits, spices, and an acidic preservative–usually vinegar or citrus juice. Because rhubarb is at its seasonal peak right now, a tangy glaze for a grilled roast feels exactly right. And, you can get it at almost any farm market or roadside stand.
Try this grilled pork tenderloin with rhubarb chutney. Make the chutney a day ahead so the flavors have time to marry; it will take about 30 minutes, start to finish.
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger, minced (Or, keep a jar in your refrigerator to make life easier!)
2 cloves fresh minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (or try chipotle chile pepper)
4 cups 1/2-inch cubes fresh rhubarb (about 1-1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup (generous) chopped red onion
1/3 cup dried cranberries, dried tart cherries, or chopped dried apricots (about 2 ounces)
The day before serving, combine the first 9 ingredients (sugar thru red pepper) in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Bring to simmer over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the rhubarb, onion and dried fruit; increase heat to medium-high and cook and stir until the rhubarb is tender and the mixture begins to thicken, 7 to 10 minutes. Cool completely. Cover and chill overnight, then bring it to room temperature before using, and separate into two containers, one for basting and one for the dinner table.
2 pork tenderloins (about 1-1/2 pounds total), trimmed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)
1 gallon water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
10 whole peppercorns
First thing in the morning on the day you want to serve the dish, make the brine in a container large enough to hold the meat, and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Place the pork in the brine, cover and refrigerate until cooking time.
In the afternoon, preheat the grill. While the grill heats, remove the pork from the brine, and pat dry. Discard the brine. Rub the tenderloins with cumin, salt and pepper. Heat the oil in large heavy skillet over high heat, then add the pork and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the grill, and brush the pork with some of the chutney. Close the grill lid and roast, turn the meat once and brush with more chutney, about 15-20 minutes, until a thermometer reads 155-degrees internal temperature. Remove the tenderloins from the grill and wrap in heavy foil for 10-15 minutes. Slice into medallions, serve over roasted-garlic couscous, garnish with cilantro sprigs, and serve the remaining chutney as a condiment.
Since I’m married to a woman who steadfastly refuses to eat mammals, we substitute turkey tenderloin for the pork and grill it until the internal temperature reads 175 degrees, about 20-30 minutes, then wrap it loosely in foil for 10-15 minutes. The rhubarb chutney also works well as an accompaniment to chicken, duck or lamb. Try it the next day on a sandwich made with the leftovers for an added treat.