Oh, The Places We’ll Go. But First, Some Jerk Pork! (Recipe Post)

by Emily on June 28, 2010 · 16 comments

in Recipes

You know what, guys? We DID it! Tomorrow, June 29, 2010, Mouth Of The Border celebrates its first birthday. [caption id="attachment_300" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Yay! MOTB is 1 year old. Let's Drink Champagne!"]Yay! MOTB is 1 year old. Let's Drink Champagne![/caption] I moved to NYC almost four years ago, wondering how I was going to wrap my brain around this huge city. When I decided to explore New York City ethnic neighborhood by ethnic neighborhood, sharing what I learned about how each culture cooks and eats together, I knew that I had to share these stories beyond my friends and family. I'm so happy it's turned into something bigger. I'm so excited to start spending more time with you here soon. More neighborhoods, more stories and more crazy new foods to try! Instead of birthday cake, though, why don't we party it up in true MOTB style with a spicy original dish that pays homage to the neighborhood we spent so much time in during year #1: Crown Heights, Brooklyn. I came up with the recipe for Crown Heights Coconut Quinoa over the weekend for a fun project. I was invited to participate in a very cool event called Video Builds The Cooking Star, where a handful of my fellow food writers/bloggers and I will work with a pro videographer to shoot a spiffy video of us presenting our original recipes. I'll share the video about this recipe here and it will also be submitted for the Sears Chef Challenge (Twitter hashtag #ChefChallenge). [caption id="attachment_301" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Quinoa! Cooked in sweet onion-infused coconut milk."]Quinoa! Cooked in sweet onion-infused coconut milk.[/caption] Now, quinoa itself is not a traditional West Indian staple. Most dishes feature rice as the starch, or root vegetables. But I use quinoa in place of rice or pasta for most dishes because it's one of those amazing super foods. It's a complete protein with tons of goodies for your body and it's gluten-free to boot. Take that! Pow pow pow. Even though quinoa isn't something you'll find in abundance in Crown Heights, what is traditionally West Indian is a good, spicy jerk sauce. So to give my quinoa some street cred, I'm cooking it up in some onion-infused coconut milk and pairing it with a delicious, succulent pork tenderloin marinated in jerk sauce and topped with colorful curry mango salsa. I used a lot of shortcuts here for the sake of the busy home cook. Most of these ingredients are super easy to find in any grocery store. If you can't find bottled jerk sauce or a dry rub, a recipe for the marinade is at the end of the main recipe here. [caption id="attachment_306" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Straight Up and Down Delicious"]Straight Up and Down Delicious[/caption]

Crown Heights Coconut Quinoa with Jerk Pork and Curry Mango Salsa

Ingredients (Serves 6-8) For Pork 2 pork tenderloins (2 lbs) 3-4 tbsp. jerk seasoning (bottled is fine, if not avail. see end of this post for a jerk sauce recipe) 1 bunch scallions, diced 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, minced

For Quinoa 1.5 cups (12 oz.) quinoa, uncooked 1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk 2 cups chicken broth 1 Vidalia onion Salt and pepper, to taste

For Mango Salsa 2 ripe mangoes 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped 2 tbsp. lime juice 1-2 tbsp. cilantro 1 tsp. curry powder (optional) 1 small habanero pepper, seeds removed and diced or 1 tsp. habanero pepper/Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce (optional)

[caption id="attachment_303" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Jerk pork and some of the fixins'"]Jerk pork and some of the fixins'[/caption]

1. Add the can of coconut milk to a medium saucepan. Slice half of the Vidalia onion into wide rings. Add onion to coconut milk and cover. Do not turn on heat. Let set for 30 min - 1 hour. This will infuse a sweet onion flavor to the coconut milk, which will give the quinoa a creamy texture and sweetness to set off the spice of the jerk sauce.  Uniformly dice the other half of the onion and reserve for step 4.

2. Slice the pork tenderloins crosswise into medallions, about 3/4 in. thick. In a large bowl, cover the pork with the jerk sauce and use your hands to make sure each piece is thoroughly covered with sauce. Cover and chill, 1 hour - overnight.

3. While the pork marinates, peel and slice the mango. Toss in a blender with the rest of the salsa ingredients or just chop and mix everything by hand. Store the salsa covered in the fridge until mealtime.

4. Remove the onion rings from the coconut milk and toss or reserve for another use. Add the 2 cups chicken broth and quinoa and bring it all to a gentle boil. Once boiling, add the diced onions and lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let cook for 15 min. Check after 10 min. The quinoa grains will look fluffy and translucent in the center when fully cooked.

5. Once quinoa is cooked, add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and keep covered on the stovetop until mealtime.

6. In a large saute pan, add 4 tbsp. canola oil, safflower oil or other oil suitable for high heat (do not use olive oil). Bring to high heat. Once the oil starts snapping in the pan, lower to medium heat. Use tongs to add pork medallions in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.

7. Cook the pork for about 3 min. on the first side, until you the meat cooked through almost to the center. When the meat stops sticking to the pan, carefully flip the pieces to the other side. Cook for about 1-2 min. additional, until the meat is white all the way through.  Depending on the size of your pan, you'll need to cook these in 3 or more batches. Add the chopped scallions and thyme to the last batch, along with 1/2 cup water to loosen up the bits of meat and jerk sauce that have stuck to the pan. This creates a little glaze for the meat.

8. Remove meat from pan and cover with foil. Let rest for 3-5 min.

9. Dinner's ready! Use a measuring cup to plate 1/2 cup of the quinoa in a mound, and top with the mango salsa. Fan out 3-4 pork medallions to the side of the quinoa. Garnish with a little additional salsa and a couple of sprigs of thyme if you're feeling fancy. Enjoy. ~~~ [caption id="attachment_302" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Crown Heights Coconut Quinoa with Jerk Pork Tenderloin and Curry Mango Salsa"]Crown Heights Quinoa with Jerk Pork Tenderloin and Curry Mango Salsa[/caption] Try it out this week and let me know what you think. Let me know if you modify the recipe; I love hearing how people take stuff and run with it. You can, of course, substitute rice for quinoa and chicken for pork. If you can't get fresh mangoes, a peach salsa would be delicious here too. Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading and sharing MOTB with all of your friends. I love that we have this place to hang out to and get to know all the wonderful cultures and foods that make my city so amazing.

Thank you for to the 100 subscribers, the 161 fans, the 103 comments and all the love. Oh, the places we'll go!

~~~ If you enjoyed this post, please comment, subscribe, tell your friends on Facebook, or comment on Twitter using hashtag #MOTB. Also, if you like the site, join the discussion on the Facebook fan page. Thank you! UPDATE: Here is the video we shot that night of me talking about the recipe. ~~~ P.S. * Jerk Sauce recipe If you don't have access to bottled jerk sauce, make your own. It's super easy. Gourmet's version combines 3 scallions, 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, 2 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. ground allspice, 2 tbsp. lime juice, 1 tbsp. molasses (not blackstrap) and 1 tsp. habanero or Scotch Bonnet hot sauce (go easy on this last part or leave out altogether if you don't enjoy spicy foods). Mix it all up and rub all over the meat. You're welcome. ;-)

  • Kathleen

    Hi Emily, I finally posted the entire meal that you inspired me to make with your Jamaican Jerk Pork. It was more than fabulous and I just posted the entire menu as well at http://dejavucook.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/caribbean-dinner-menu/ . Looking forward to more of your tasty ideas. Thanks again.


    • http://www.mouthoftheborder.com emilyspearl

      awesome — thank you so much Kathleen — it looks fantastic

  • Kathleen

    Your recipe sounds delicious. I made it last night using pork chops, black beans, coconut rice and the mango salsa. Everything was more than wonderful with so many flavors all at once. Had not made a jerk recipe in many years and had forgotten the delight of all the sweet, hot and spicy going on all at once. Thanks for the great recipe. I will let you know when I do a post on my “jerk pork chops” inspired by YOU!

    • http://www.mouthoftheborder.com emilyspearl

      This is so exciting! Two people have now made a variation on this recipe and had success. That just makes my day!

      Everyone, check out Kathleen's pic of her version of the dish here: http://twitter.com/dejavucook/status/18374296664

  • Sassykeewee

    This is going to be long.

    I made the recipe tonight. Yes I know it was posted 2 days ago. Why was I so gung ho to try it BECAUSE I get bored with food options very quickly. First off although the recipe states you can marinate for the pork and infuse the coconut milk for an hour. Meh, just be prepared to prep on a Thursday and eat on Friday. I feel like the hour just wouldn't do the recipe justice.

    My variation is as follows: I chose to use chicken, forgot to buy cilantro and ran out of curry powder. And I added red pepper to the salsa (because I needed to use up the last half) After the coconut milk has infused over night. It smells wonderful. Since it was refrigerated I had to heat it up a bit then strain the out the onions. The mango salsa, even better. I wanted to dip my fingers in it. I chose to blend the salsa because I had one ripe mango and the other not so ripe.
    Once you have done all the slicing dicing preparing, infusing the actual cook time is less than a half an hour. I had too much liquid in my quinoa so it was more like grits or polenta as far as texture. Was that a bad thing? Not for me. I chose to use a combination of a Dry Carribean Seasoning Lawry's Jerk marinade and cayenne in the chicken marinade. I never have a need for molasses and allspice. I prepared my plate with quinoa. 2 pieces of chicken on top, a few spoonfuls of the salsa on the chicken and a side of steamed green beans.

    I ate all of it in 6 minutes. The salsa was not too spicy for me. Any heat was balanced with the sweet of the mango, chicken and the savory flavor and warmth of the quinoa. Could you fore go the habanero because of the spice, yes, but once again that adds to the dish. If you don't like it too spicy try half the habenero, or find a pepper with a lower heat rating.

    I will make this recipe again. And its filling. I ate and worked out. Still not hungry.


    PS:Sorry Girl I didn't mean to blog in your comments section.

    • http://www.mouthoftheborder.com emilyspearl


      Next time you make it, for the onions, chop half into big rings as for onion rings. That way you just take them out with forks or tongs and don't have to strain anything.

      For the quinoa, it's always two parts liquid to one part grain, so for 1.5 c quinoa, 3 cups of liquid should be enough. I'll revise the amount of chicken broth here to account for the coconut milk.

      I'm glad it worked out well your way with the chicken! Next time I think I'll make with grilled jerk salmon.

  • Sassykeewee

    Because you and Neen never steer me wrong I am infusing my coconut milk as I typeth. Tonight, Pizza. I subbed chicken for pork because that is what I have in the house at the moment. I am looking forward to the Yum. Tomorrow night.

    • http://www.mouthoftheborder.com emilyspearl

      Let me know how it turns out, please! This can work with jerk salmon, too!

  • http://twitter.com/selenawrites Selena Ricks

    MMMmmmmMMMM! I'm going to try this soon!

    • http://www.mouthoftheborder.com emilyspearl

      And I am happy to cook it for you anytime it's not 100 degrees out! xo

  • Nina

    Thank you! We'll try this because Donny loves a good jerk… sauce.

    • http://www.mouthoftheborder.com emilyspearl


  • http://baratunde.com baratunde

    jesus. that's inspiring. and i want it. how do i get it??? i live in brooklyn. I WANT THIS!! #MOTB

    • http://www.mouthoftheborder.com emilyspearl

      Well, I guess you'd have to come over so I can cook it for you. It's
      SO delishtastic! With an ice-cold ginger beer on the side, it's as if
      summer is on the menu. Be warned: I make it SPICY.

      Thanks for the comment love!

      • http://disqus.com/ Ro Gupta

        alright – don't want to get in the middle of the flirtfest, but seriously this does look insanely good and i want it too. you need to get this into a menu somewhere soon please. a food cart would do too.

        • http://www.mouthoftheborder.com emilyspearl

          Ro – thanks for the comment. Super cool of you to stop by.

          Re: Flirting – don't be jealous of the friendly banter with my neighbor. There's a lot of that around here. ;)

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