Impress With Espresso

 Coffee is synonymous with breakfast. Every morning we wake up, our eyes still bleary and clinging to the last remnants of our slumber, and we shuffle to the coffee machine to prepare the first recipe for the day: a simple cup of coffee. More than 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed daily in the world.

This recipe below is a bit of an homage to South America, which is only fitting since Brazil is the world’s leading exporter of coffee beans. That country handles almost one-third of the world’s production, followed by Vietnam, Indonesia and Colombia.

For this recipe, we are definitely going outside the realm of desserts. Most people would associate a coffee recipe with tiramisu or crème brûlée or even a coffee cake. I want to share a technique with you that will actually utilize a savory application — a brined and espresso-rubbed pork tenderloin. This rub will also work very well on steaks, chicken and even tofu for vegetarians. You must allow ample time for the brine and the spice to take, so plan ahead. You may make extra rub, seal it tightly in a glass jar and store it for up to two months in your cabinet.

The slightly acidic nature of the espresso will marry nicely with the sweetness of the chili pepper and brown sugar in this spice rub. Once the meat has been seared, the outside of your roast will look very dark, almost burned. That is normal and what you want to see.

Feel free to experiment with other coffee rubs. I have seen coffee rubs for sale online and in stores, many of them using various flavor combinations such as ginger-espresso and barbecue-coffee.

 

PORK TENDERLOIN

Brine
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup kosher salt
½ gallon water

Bring ingredients to a boil to dissipate the sugar and salt. Cool completely before using.

Rub
2 tablespoons espresso ground coffee
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon paprika

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Keeps for up to 2 months.

Tenderloin
3 pounds pork tenderloin
Olive oil
Remove excess fat and sinew from the tenderloin. Soak the tenderloin in the cooled brine for 4 hours. After brining, remove the tenderloin and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the meat with 2 tablespoons olive oil and then roll it in the spice rub; make sure you get an even coating on the loin. Let the loin rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking, which allows the flavors of the rub to penetrate the pork.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a cast-iron pan on high heat, add 2 more tablespoons olive oil and heat until it reaches near the smoke point. It is very important for the pan and the oil to be very hot before adding the pork. Carefully add the loin to the hot oil and sear on all sides until you get an even dark coating all around. Place the cast-iron pan with the loin into the preheated oven and bake until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the loin from the pan, placing the loin on a cutting board to rest. Wait 10 minutes before slicing to let the juices recirculate.

Serve with mashed sweet potatoes and caramelized Brussels sprouts.

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