Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin in Corn Husks

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This dish by Chef Barbara Pool Fenzl requires just 20 minutes in the oven and can cook while you entertain your guests.

Yield: 6 servings

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Ingredients

  • For the Southwest Spice Rub:
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed
  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seed
  • 2 tablespoons chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Other Ingredients:
  • 1½ pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 6 equal pieces
  • 9 dried corn husks, soaked in warm water until soft, about 1 hour, cleaned, and patted dry

Directions

  1. Do Ahead: The spice mix can be made months ahead, and the pork packages themselves can be assembled a day ahead if covered with a damp towel (so the corn husks don’t dry out) and refrigerated. The dried cherry salsa can be made a day ahead without the cilantro; add the cilantro just before serving. rub can be made a day ahead, covered, and refrigerated. The salsa can be made up to 4 hours ahead, covered and, refrigerated.
  2. For the Spice Rub: Place the cumin seed in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat and toast until lightly browned and aromatic. Transfer into a mini food processor, coffee grinder, or spice grinder and purée. Toast the coriander in the same skillet and add to the cumin in the grinder. Purée again. Add the remaining ingredients and purée until well blended. Turn out onto a plate.
  3. Preheat an oven to 375°.
  4. Roll each piece of pork in the spice mix and place in the center of a corn husk.
  5. Tear 3 corn husks into strips. Wrap the corn husk around the pork and tie each end with a corn husk strip. Repeat with the remaining pieces of pork and corn husks.
  6. Place the pork packages on a baking sheet and bake until a meat thermometer registers 145°, 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. To serve, place one package on each plate and remove the corn husk strip from one end. Fold the corn husk back to expose the meat. Serve with dried cherry salsa.

Tips/Techniques

Make more of the rub than you need for this recipe, and keep the extra stored airtight in the pantry. It’s also a great gift, especially for someone who doesn’t live in the Southwest, but craves the flavors. Corn husks are a terrific wrapper for tamales, but also for many other fillings. They keep the filling moist, impart a wonderful corn flavor, and make a lovely presentation.
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