Warm It Up: Salt-Roasted Pork, Beets and Sunchokes
Man, spring is sooooo close I can feel it. I think all of us (on the East Coast, anyway) are ready to be done with this particular winter, but before we bid adieu to constant snowfall, we’ve got time for the only thing I really love about the coldest time of year: winter-warming recipes!
As I set out to make this particular warming winter meal, I had triple endless inspiration from previous meals. The first was a recent experimentation with salt-roasted beets. This method of cooking whole beets over a thick bed of sea salt doesn’t make them particularly salty, but the NaCL does act to seal in all the beet’s good flavor and juiciness — it’s a simple and straight-forward method, but they’re the best beets I ever had. My second inspiration came from back seven years ago (!?!) when 80proof cooked up that delicious-looking salt-crusted red snapper. Similarly, cooking the fish in a salt crust doesn’t make it super-salty; it just works to seal in all the flavor and juiciness.
I had a beautiful slab of Smithfield rosemary & olive oil marinated pork tenderloin on hand, and I wondered whether I could do the same thing — roasting it in salt in order to keep in all that juicy pork flavor. I also came across a lovely batch of sunchokes at the coop this week, and since good fresh vegetables have been few and far between these past few months, I jumped on them.
That all might sound complicated, but it really wasn’t. All-in this dinner took 30 minutes to prepare, and all three elements came out deliciously juicy, tender, and flavorful…perfect for a snowy day (hopefully one of the last ones!)
Salt-Roasted Pork, Beets and Sunchokes
1 Smithfield Rosemary & Olive Oil Marinated Pork Tenderloin
3 fresh beets
1 pound of fresh sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes)
4 cups of coarse sea salt
Preheat the oven to 425.
In a sautee pan, sear the tenderloin for just 20 seconds or so on each side. (Even though I’m roasting here, I like to sear first to get a little crisp color on that pork. Because the tenderloin is already marinated in olive oil, you don’t even need to add anything to the pan, and it’s already seasoned, too.)
Pour two cups of the salt into a shallow baking dish. Place the whole beets (washed, but unpeeled) over the bed of salt. Place your seared tenderloin in the dish as well.
Mix the remaining two cups of salt with a few tablespoons of water, until you reach a cement-like consistency. Then take this gloopy concoction and rub it over the top of the tenderloin, covering as much of it as you can.
Slice the sunchokes into 1/4-inch slices. Toss in a large bowl with olive oil. I added a few shakes of fresh thyme as well. Add the sunchokes to your dish.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the pork reaches 145 degrees.
Remove the beets from the pan; peel and slice them. The salt around the pork should have formed a nice thick crust, so you can just crack that and peel it off. Then slice up your pork as well.
I love cooking with salt like this, and the tenderloin was the perfect vehicle, because it was already perfectly seasoned, and it came out supremely tender and juicy. With the beets and the ‘chokes it’s also a complete comforting (and carb-free) winter meal.
This sponsored post is part of Endless Simmer’s 2015 series as a Blogger Ambassador for Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork.