New Mexican Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Tamale and Pecan Butter

Total Time:
2 hr 25 min
Prep:
2 hr 10 min
Cook:
15 min

Yield:
4 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
  • Salt
  • New Mexican Spice Rub, recipe follows
  • Bourbon-Ancho Sauce, recipe follows
  • Sweet Potato Tamale with Pecan Butter, recipe follows
  • New Mexican Rub:
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pasilla chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons chile de arbol
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • Bourbon-Ancho Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 3 ancho chiles, soaked, seeded, stems removed and pureed
  • 6 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1 cup apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • Sweet Potato Tamales:
  • 20 dried corn husks
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, preferable fresh
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 head roasted garlic, cloves removed
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large or 2 medium sweet potato, roasted at 375 degrees for about 1 hour or until soft, then peeled and flesh mashed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Pecan Butter, recipe follows
  • Pecan Butter:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat olive oil in a medium saute pan, over high heat. Season pork with salt on both sides. Dredge pork in the spice rub and tap off any excess. Sear the pork on both sides until golden brown. Cook in the oven to medium doneness, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Let pork rest for 5 minutes before slicing into 12 slices. Plate 3 slices per plate. Drizzle with the Bourbon-Ancho Sauce. Place a Sweet Potato Tamale, topped with Pecan Butter next to the slices of pork.

New Mexican Rub:

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Bourbon-Ancho Sauce:

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the bourbon and cook until completely reduced. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until reduced by half. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, return mixture to the pan, and cook to sauce consistency, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of bourbon and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt.

Sweet Potato Tamales:

About 2 hours before you plan to form the tamales, clean the husks under running water. Soak them in warm water for 2 hours, or until softened.

Puree the corn, onion, roasted garlic, and stock in a food processor. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and cut in the butter and shortening. Using your fingers, mix in the cornmeal, honey, and salt and pepper until there are no visible lumps of fat. Fold in the sweet potato puree, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and maple syrup. The mixture will be a lot looser than you think it should be, but when the tamales are steamed it will dry out.

Remove the cornhusks from the water and set aside the best 20 husks. Drain and pat dry. Tear the remaining husks into 1-inch wide strips to be used for tying. Lay 2 husks flat on a work surface, with the tapered ends facing out and the broad bases overlapping by about 3 inches. Place about 1/3 cup of masa mixture in the center. Bring the long sides up over the masa, slightly overlapping, and pat down to close. (If the masa drips out a little at the seam, that is no problem.) Tie each end of the bundle with a strip of cornhusk, pushing the filling toward the middle as you tie. Trim the ends to about 1/2-inch beyond the tie.

Arrange the tamales in a single layer on a steaming rack, cover tightly with foil, and steam over boiling water for 45 minutes. To Serve: slice a slit on top of each tamale and push both ends of the tamale toward the middle to expose the masa. Top each with 1 tablespoon of Pecan Butter.

Pecan Butter:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Scrape into a ramekin and refrigerate until solid, about 2 hours.


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