Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chili Pork Loin in a Tequila-Lime-Tomatillo-Poblano Sauce

Whenever we cook pork it is usually in the form of pork chops, so when I saw boneless pork loins on sale this weekend, I decided to pick one up. When we were in Las Vegas I had a great pork loin dish at Emeril's restaurant, Table No. 10, so I took a look at his recipes on the Food Network web site.

After browsing a few recipes, I decided on
this one for Chili Pork Loin. I made a few changes, and feel that my title better describes the dish, although it's a bit long!

The sauce is what made this was sweet at first taste followed by some tartness and finally some heat. Perfect all around -

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (I used Mexican oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (2 to 2 1/2-pound) pork loin
  • 1/4 cup corn oil (I used light olive oil)
  • 1 cup chopped white onions
  • 2 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and roughly chopped (I didn't roast them, but simply seeded and chopped them - I don't think it made much difference)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 3 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
  • 10 ounces tomatillos, peeled and roughly chopped (this was 6 small tomatillos)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (this was 2 limes)
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  • In a bowl, mix together the sugar, chilies, salt, oregano, thyme, and pepper. Rub evenly onto the pork, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and let meat come to room temperature.

  • Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork and sear until the meat is browned on all sides. Remove the meat from the pan.
  • Add the onions, peppers, and garlic, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, tomatillos, and bay leaf, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the lime juice, tequila, and cilantro, stir well, and bring to a boil.
  • Return the meat to the pan. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the meat is tender, 45 minutes, stirring and basting occasionally.

  • Remove from the heat. Transfer the pork to a platter and tent to keep warm.
  • Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender and puree on high speed. Return to the cooking pan and cook until thickened. Adjust seasoning, to taste. (I didn't want a completely pureed sauce so instead of using a blender, I transferred the contents of the pan to a small pot and pulsed my handheld immersion blender in it a few times)
  • Spoon the sauce onto a platter. Carve the meat and arrange on top of the sauce. Drizzle with the cilantro oil and serve immediately. (I used more sauce on top instead of the cilantro oil)

I wouldn't change a thing about this recipe, my changes, and how it was prepared. I loved the complexity of the flavors from using sweet, tart, and spicy ingredients. The pork was deliciously tender, and only needed to be served over some rice to complete the meal. And although it takes 3.5 hours from start (the rub and sitting in the fridge) to finish, it's not a labor intensive dish, once all the chopping is done.

I can't wait to make this one again, and if we do decide to serve Mexican inspired dishes for Christmas (why not do something different, right?), this pork just might be the focus.

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  1. I have an advantage over other commenter. Where they get to see pictures, I actually get to taste some of these creations. For this one, I would put it in the top 3. It was outstanding, tasty, wanting more and the loin was on sale. Its a job without pay but I will continue to do it. Thanks M. E. , love Dad

  2. This looks so good! I am not very experienced when it comes to cooking pork, so it's always nice to see ideas! I am definitely going to try this!

  3. Shoot - I just gave a way a huge bag of tomatillos cause I couldn't think of anything to make with them (other than salsa verde). This would have worked perfectly. The flavor combo sounds great!

  4. Mary Ellen, so glad you came on over to join in the fiesta on Carole's Chatter. Ole!