Coffee has become my new favorite ingredient when roasting meat.
It's an effortless way to add gobs of flavor to whatever I am making. All I do is add whole coffee beans to whatever spice blend I am using as a wet or dry rub, then grind it to a powder and apply to the meat. The coffee provides deep, rich flavors with just a hint of acid. It's a combination that works wonders for roasted meat.
I've tried the spice-coffee combination called for below on both beef and pork tenderloins; both were fantastic. You also could use it on chicken breasts or thighs for a "blackened" chicken.
The seasonings can be applied to the meat right before roasting. But if you have a little extra time, the flavor is even better if you rub the spices on the meat, then refrigerate it for several hours before roasting. And if you'd rather use these flavors in a wet rub, don't hesitate to add a little olive or canola oil to the blend.
If you're looking for a simple and speedy dinner, make the roasted pork tenderloin in this recipe and serve it as is with a side salad or some roasted vegetables. Or for something party-worthy (perhaps an Oscars viewing party), slice it, slap it on rounds of baguette, then top with a dollop of cherry jam. For the latter variation, the pork can be served warm or room temperature.
CHERRY-TOPPED COFFEE-ROASTED PORK TENDERLOIN
An electric spice grinder (or coffee grinder) is the easiest way to make the spice rub for this recipe. If you don't have one, substitute an equal amount of ground coffee for the beans, then use a mortar and pestle or food processor to grind everything together.
Start to finish: 35 minutes
Makes 36 appetizers
1 tablespoon coffee beans
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 pounds pork tenderloins
1 baguette, thinly sliced into 36 rounds
10-ounce jar cherry jam
Heat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
In a spice grinder, combine the coffee beans, garlic powder, fennel seeds, paprika, peppercorns and salt. Grind until the beans and seeds are finely ground. Rub the spice-coffee blend evenly and liberally over the pork tenderloins. Set the tenderloins on the prepared baking sheet, then roast for 20 minutes, or until they reach 145 F at the center. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, brush the baguette slices with olive oil, then arrange on a baking sheet and toast for 2 minutes, or until just barely browned.
When the pork is ready, cut it into thin slices. To serve, place one slice of pork on each piece of baguette, then top with a small dollop of cherry jam.
Nutrition information per serving: 120 calories; 15 calories from fat (13 percent of total calories); 2 g fat (0 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 4 g protein; 260 mg sodium.
J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch