Ryan Thomas is a university graduate who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
I think I am a rather dreadful cook when it comes to Mexican cuisine. Perhaps it is since I only have tried a few different recipes, but I lack enthusiasm for cooking Mexican food at home—probably since it is so readily available where I live, in Northern California.
There was a time when the rather small town which I grew up in had no fewer than three Mexican restaurants along its main street, and that's before you get into all of the other ones in surrounding cities and towns! Mexican food is everywhere, and my brother has a real obsession for it. So why put much effort into making it when one can always get a probably better Mexican plate at a restaurant rather than at home?
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There is one exception, which is that I have grown to adore mole poblano. Maybe it is the most familiar in style and structure to me, and it strikes me as more resembling my favored French-style cuisine than Mexican cuisine, but mole poblano with pork is such a delightful recipe that it is hard to resist experimenting with it in the kitchen.
Mole poblano features a wonderful, deep, aromatic flavor that comes from a mixture of rich chocolate, fried tomato, savory onions, a medley of spices, and a sweet, flavorful, and complex sauce. In this recipe it is paired with pork tenderloin, rendered aromatic by being pan seared, and then cooked for hours upon hours in a slow cooker to produce a wonderfully tender and intensely flavorful recipe.
I based much of the mole part of this recipe on Adam Ragusea's mole poblano recipe.
- 2 pounds pork tenderloin (mine is typically split into 2)
- 1 onion, minced
- olive oil, to sautee
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 3 canned chipotle peppers
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon flour
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons fruit preserves
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a skillet or cast iron pan over medium heat, heat the oil until it is shimmering. Place in the pork tenderloin, with the silverskin cut off, and swish it back and forth constantly in the pan so that the exterior is seared but doesn't become ragged. After a short while, add in the crushed garlic and chopped onion, as well as the butter and rosemary.
- Continue to sautee as the onions start to acquire a golden color and baste the pork in the butter, for around 5 minutes. After this, remove the pork from the saucepan and place it into a slow cooker, draining any excess liquids. Remove and discard the rosemary.
- Add the chipotle peppers and sautee for 1-2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and cocoa powder and sautee briefly. Then add the remaining spices, followed by the flour and tomato paste. Deglaze with the vegetable stock and reduce the sauce for a few minutes before adding the fruit preserves. Pour it into the slow cooker to cover the pork, scraping off everything that can be removed from the skillet.
- Turn the slow cooker on low and allow it to work for 4 to 6 hours (preferably 6 hours). Season with salt, pepper, and any other preferred seasonings when done. Serve over rice or another grain that the sauce can soak into.