R. had taken over the meals for a few weeks to let me focus on a lecture I had to write.  In return, I’ve been trying to make some special meals for her this week.  Since I love to try new seared tenderloin recipes (and since she wasn’t there to see me sneaking chocolate into dinner), I went for this recipe.  It was really good, something I want to try again.  In the recipe below I’ve decided to cut the salt in half (it was a bit overpowering in ours, and beyond that probably unnecessary with all the other flavors involved).  The rice was a real revelation–just dropped some cloves, cardamom and cinnamon in the rice maker and it made a real difference.


  • 1/2 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole coriander
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons ‘drinking chocolate’ (unsweetened cocoa will also do–NO INSTANT HOT CHOCOLATE)
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt (could even do with less)
  • 1 (2-pound) boneless pork tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, toast coriander seeds until they begin to pop (don’t wait too much longer, or they’ll burn!). Remove from heat and grind to fine powder with mortar & pestle. Mix the white pepper and coriander with remaining spices, cocoa and salt.

Trim the pork tenderloins of fat and silver skin. Rub with a generous amount of the cocoa spice rub. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat until hot but not smoking (if you want, you can also saute an onion while its heating and transfer to a baking dish) Sear each tenderloin on all sides until a rich brown color, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove tenderloin from heat and finish in the oven in a baking dish for about 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.

For each serving of rice, drop in 4 whole cloves, 4 cardamom pods, and 4 short cinnamon sticks into a rice cooker.  Scoop out before serving with a steamed vegetable.