Pork tenderloin is coated with a smoky cocoa spice rub, roasted to perfection and finished off with a quick and easy red wine pan sauce. This Cocoa Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin takes this lean cut to an utterly delicious place!
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Hello and Happy New Year!
I’m so happy to be sharing my first new recipe for 2018 with you all today. It is the second recipe I’ve created in partnership with SCHARFFEN BERGER Chocolate and it is a winner of a dish. If you missed my Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars, be sure to check them out. They were so yummy I made them for both Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.
One might assume we’d be talking about chocolate cake, cookies, or something baking-related but I wanted to do something a little unexpected this time and show you how wonderful cocoa powder can be in a savory recipe.
If you’ve never tried cocoa powder in a spice rub I hope I can convince you to try it! It is a delicious component in spice rubs for both pork and beef.
For this recipe I went with my favorite cut of pork – pork tenderloin. It is super lean but if prepared properly it is a wonderfully tender cut. Lean but tender, such a fabulous combination! It’s very easy to ensure a tender result with this cut and I’m going to show you just how to do it.
The rub consists of SCHARFFEN BERGER 100% Unsweetened Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder, brown sugar, oregano, smoked paprika, granulated garlic (or garlic powder), salt and pepper.
The cocoa powder complements and enhances the earthy quality of the oregano. A touch of sweetness from the brown sugar and smokiness from the smoked paprika round out the flavors perfectly.
As part of the Rainforest Alliance, SCHARFFEN BERGER works to conserve biodiversity and promote the rights and well-being of cocoa farm workers, their families and communities. They regularly visits the farms where their cacao is grown and encourage farmers to use sustainable farming techniques. They then carefully select and blend the finest beans to create their cocoa powder, similar in many ways to a winemaker creating the perfect vintage of wine. It has been a pleasure to promote a company that creates a high quality chocolate product in such a socially responsible way.
Pork tenderloins typically come two to a package. Pat them dry with paper towels, drizzle them with a little olive oil, and use your hands to pat the spice rub into the surface of the pork.
Then it’s just a quick sear in olive oil before the skillet is transferred to the oven to finish the cooking process. Any oven-proof skillet will do but I always use my trusty cast iron skillet for tasks like this. Check out that beautiful crust!
It’s important to be vigilant when roasting pork tenderloin. Set your timer for the lower end of the cooking time range and check the pork in the thickest portion with an instant read thermometer. The meat will not be as tender if you cook it too long so you want to pull it out of the oven as soon as the thermometer reads 150 degrees F. At this temperature the pork will be a perfect medium with just a hint of pink in the center. Just what we want.
I roasted some baby red and gold potatoes to go with the pork and it seemed absolutely appropriate to whisk up a quick Cabernet pan sauce to pour over the top. Any full-bodied red wine will work well here. See the recipe card below for the simple instructions for both the potatoes and the flavorful sauce.
Toss a simple salad and you have yourself a company-worthy meal that is so simple to prepare. I think this recipe would be just perfect for Valentine’s Day next month.
For lots of delicious recipes, giveaways, and more, be sure to follow Valerie’s Kitchen
Cocoa Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Cabernet Sauce
For the Cocoa Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon SCHARFFEN BERGER 100% Unsweetened Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 (2 to 2 1/2 pound) package pork tenderloin (2 tenderloins)
For the Cabernet Sauce
- 1/2 cup Cabernet Sauvignon (or other full-bodied red wine)
- 1-1/2 or 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon softened butter plus 2 teaspoons cold butter
- 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the Roasted Baby Potatoes
- 1 1/2 pounds baby potatoes (red, gold, or a mixture of both)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine cocoa powder, brown sugar and remaining rub seasonings in a small bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over both sides of the tenderloins (reserve remaining olive oil for later). Sprinkle cocoa spice rub over tenderloins and use your hands to coat both sides evenly.
Place potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Place on lower rack of preheated oven. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender and golden brown. Use a spatula to stir once or twice during cooking time.
Meanwhile, place a large oven-proof skillet (cast iron works well) over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Add remaining two tablespoons olive oil to the skillet and when hot, add seasoned pork. Sear for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until nicely browned.
Transfer skillet to preheated oven on rack above potatoes and roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until pork has reached an internal temperature of 150 degrees F when measured with an instant read thermometer in thickest portion of the tenderloin. Remove skillet from oven, transfer tenderloins to a cutting board and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the drippings from the skillet and place skillet over MEDIUM heat. Add red wine, whisking to loosen any browned bits from bottom of skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to MEDIUM-LOW and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes at a low boil to slightly reduce the wine. Meanwhile, combine 1 tablespoon softened butter with flour in a small bowl. Add beef broth and tomato paste to the sauce and whisk until completely incorporated. Whisk butter/flour mixture into the sauce and continue whisking until sauce is just slightly thickened. Add 2 teaspoons of cold butter and stir until butter melts and sauce is glossy.
Slice tenderloins and transfer to a serving platter. Scatter roasted potatoes around pork and garnish with chopped fresh parsley. Drizzle a little of the pan sauce over the pork and serve with additional sauce on the side.
I prefer the texture of granulated garlic over garlic powder when used in spice rubs but you can substitute garlic powder, if necessary.
The pan sauce is not intended to be a thick gravy. It will have a thin, pourable consistency.
If needed, increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F once you remove the pork tenderloin from the oven and allow potatoes to roast for an additional several minutes to give them a deeper golden brown roasted exterior.