I don't have an ounce of Spanish blood in me. And yet, I grew up on perfectly authentic Spanish cuisine. From Paella to Spanish Bean Soup to homemade Cuban sandwiches pressed with a cast iron pan, my family didn't play around with the stuff we deemed comfort food. You see, I come from a divided family, for lack of better terms. When my great-grandfather passed away a long, long time ago, my great-grandmother married a Spaniard who went by the name, Fuentes. They went on to have a few children of their own and in turn, created a family that'd forever be a loving mixture of both Hayman's and Fuentes'.
My mom, God bless her soul, grew up on food from the best of both worlds. With a heavy Southern influence from her mom's side, she received her fair share of pot roasts, stews, fried chicken, okra, and grits. But she and her sisters also loved any chance they had to devour their grandmother and step-grandfather's Spanish dinners. And you can bet your butt those scrumptious recipes were handed down, and still reside scribbled on torn and stained papers in my home today.
Well, I think I just may have teased you. Because I'm not giving you one of those long-time Spanish family recipes. Instead, I've taken some of my favorite Spanish ingredients - ingredients we used in countless concoctions, and have created an innovative dish of my own. With Spanish chorizo (not to be confused with the crumbly Mexican variety), Manchego cheese, red peppers (or pimentos in Spanish), and a heavy rub of cumin, I put together the best pork tenderloin I've had to date.
Super simple, but somewhat impressive to the eye and the palate, this incredibly flavorful stuffed pork tenderloin is an excellent meal for company. And since I'm in a really good mood, I'm giving you my family's recipe for the best damn saffron rice you've ever had (ok, it's a wee bit better when cooked with bone-in chicken or seafood).
Cumin Rubbed Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Chorizo, Manchego, and Roasted Reds
1 (1-1.5 pound) pork tenderloin
1 Chorizo sausage from a package of 2 (I use Goya brand), cut in 1/4 inch slices
1/4 lb. Spanish Manchego cheese, cut in 1/4 inch thick slices
1/2 jar roasted red peppers
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons EVOO
2 teaspoons salt
1) Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Remove any excess fat from the tenderloin and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut the tenderloin down the middle, length-wise, being careful not to cut all the way through. Flatten it out completely. Season with salt, cumin, paprika, and pepper on all sides and then with your hands, rub 1-2 tablespoons EVOO onto the seasoned meat.
2) On one side of the tenderloin, layer the roasted red peppers, Manchego cheese, and chorizo. Feel free to add more or less of the filling than my recipe calls for. Just remember you'll need to "close up" the pork tenderloin.
3) Like a sub sandwich, fold the other half of the tenderloin on top of the fillings and with butchers twine, tie it up completely, making sure that all ingredients are tucked away inside.
4) Cook pork tenderloin for 25 minutes per pound. It's perfectly safe to eat pork slightly underdone and it's much more juicy that way too. I tend to take it out after it has been cooked 20 minutes per pound.
5) Let cool on pan for about 5-7 minutes and then with kitchen scissors, remove the butcher's twine. Then, slice and enjoy!
1 cup long grain white rice
2 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 big garlic clove, minced
1 big pinch of saffron
2 teaspoons turmeric for natural yellow coloring
salt and pepper
1. Over medium high heat, sauté the onions and peppers in the olive oil for about 5 minutes or until softened. Then, add minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir.
2. Add rice and mix in with the veggies. Add the saffron, tumeric, and broth. Stir and bring to a boil.
3. Once rice begins boiling, turn heat down to low and cover with lid.
4. Let cook for about 20 minutes. Our family likes our yellow rice "sticky" (hence all the olive oil) so we stir it in the last few minutes of cooking and then replace the lid for another 5 minutes.