The Cooking Chronicles: Seared Pork Tenderloin with Cocoa-Spice Rub and Mushroom Risotto

Similar to our Mother’s Day dinner in May, I corralled my sisters into assisting with our Father’s Day dinner this past weekend by assigning them each a dish. Amanda helped out by making a salad, and Felicia cheated a little by providing a store-bought cake (albeit my Dad’s favourite – Black Forest).

For the main course I decided to make a Michael Chiarello recipe for a seared pork tenderloin with cocoa-spice rub. It seemed easy enough, as the majority of the work was simply creating the rub itself. Mack, my tireless sous chef, trimmed the tenderloin while I measured out the spice ingredients, and once the meat was in the oven, we were able to focus all of our attention on preparing the side.

I’d been a little afraid of attempting a risotto recipe, but Trish Magwood’s straightforward instructions in Dish Entertains calmed me somewhat. We didn’t make it to the market on Saturday, so ended up with mushroom instead of asparagus flavouring. The true secret (if there is one) really is to add the simmering stock in half-cup increments, allowing the rice to slowly absorb the liquid. The entire process us about 25 minutes (Mack, the official risotto stirrer, thinks it may have been longer), and resulted in plump and tender grains and a creaminess that could not be achieved in any other way. Of course, the finish with a generous amount of butter and parmesan couldn’t hurt either.

Mushroom Risotto

The fragrant rub turned out really well, and the pork was juicy and flavourful. My cold was frustrating my ability to taste the rub, but I was told it was quite good. The leftovers worked great as an addition to a pita sandwich!

Seared Pork Tenderloin with Cocoa-Spice Rub

It was a nice sit down meal with family – something we don’t take the time to do often enough.

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