A Bitten Word Recipe
Remember when we made pickled watermelon rind last summer? It was a really fun experience, and we loved the idea of using the rind in a future recipe.
But the jars of pickled rind sat on our shelf for the next several months. We didn't forget about them, we just never came across a recipe we really wanted to try.
Then, the March issue of Martha Stewart Living arrived, with a great feature on preserving the tastes of the summer produce season. It's full of delicious ways to "put up" fruits and vegetables to use in dishes later on. A Tangerine and Lemon Marmalade, for example, becomes the base for Ricotta-Filled Crepes.
But it was Martha's recipe for Glazed Spareribs with Watermelon Rind Chutney (which isn't online for some reason) that really inspired us to pull one of our jars of pickled watermelon off the shelf and get creative.
We liked Martha's idea, but we weren't in the mood for spareribs. And we decided to do our own version of a Watermelon-Rind Chutney.
And we were absolutely thrilled with the results!
We knew the chutney would be sweet, so we wanted a simple, spicy take on pork loin that would provide a nice balance. So we turned to one of our favorite go-to recipes, Chili-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin (also from Martha!), for inspiration. We kept things very simple -- just rubbed the meat with olive oil, salt, pepper and chili powder.
Oh, and if you have time, brining the pork tenderloin will make the meat much more tender and juicy. Just dissolve a healthy amount of salt in a pot of water, and submerge the pork for a half hour. Honestly, even if you've only got 10 minutes, brining makes a noticeable difference.
The chutney is easy to prepare if you've already got home-canned pickled watermelon rind. If you don't -- and if you don't want to take the time to do it yourself -- you can order some from Amazon.com. Putting the chutney together is simply a matter of mincing and mixing all the ingredients. It's key, though, to let the chutney sit in the fridge for at least a half hour before you use it so that the flavors meld together.
Like the classic combination of pork chops and applesauce, the sweetness of the chutney is a fantastic match for the seared, roasted pork tenderloin. But all the flavors here are turned up -- the chili-rubbed tenderloin has a delicious smoky heat, and the chutney's mix of ginger, garlic, vinegar, and Sriracha give it an awesome, complex flavor that really enhances the extreme sweetness of the watermelon itself.
We may have waited a while to do something with our pickled watermelon rind, but we can't think of a better use for it than this!
The Bitten Word's Spicy Pork Loin with Watermelon-Rind Chutney
1 cup Pickled Watermelon Rind, diced into very small pieces
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp Sriracha chili sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1-lb pork tenderloin
1 tbsp chili powder
2 scallions, white and pale green parts only, cut into small slices (optional)
*If you have time, brine the pork loin by placing it in heavily salted water for a half hour prior to cooking.
For the chutney: Combine pickled watermelon rind, vinegar, ginger, garlic, Sriracha and lemon juice in small bowl. Mix. Cover and store in refrigerator at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days.
For the pork loin: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in an oven-safe skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Use a paper towel to pat the tenderloin dry. Then, rub entire surface of the pork evenly with olive oil. Season with chili powder, salt and pepper.
Sear tenderloin in hot skillet, flipping so that every side is seared golden brown (about 3-4 minutes per side). Place skillet in pre-heated oven, and cook pork until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees, about 15-20 minutes. Remove pork from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Slice pork and cover with chutney. Sprinkle with scallions and serve.