The Missing Ingredient

A Food Blog

Spanish-Style Brine & Rub for Pork Tenderloin with Maduros and Spicy Slaw January 13, 2009


After brining our Thanksgiving turkey, I was hooked on the method.  This book includes several brining recipes for pork and I really wanted to give one a try.  This was fantastic!  If you love pork and intense flavor this recipe is for you!  Think Bobby Flay.   I just love Spanish flavors and this recipe really hits the mark.  I had 2 plantains ripe on the counter and was excited to make Maduros (or fried plantains).  There is a small Peruvian place in the Upper East Side of Manhattan (Pio Pio) that has the best maduros and chicken you will ever eat.  Mine didn’t come out quite as good (but we still ate every last bite so you know this is good!) and I think it was because my oil wasn’t hot enough.  I made a spicy slaw to serve with the pork as well. 

Source:  Bruce Aidells’s Complete Book of Pork; I recently got this book as a gift and it really is a go to book for pork.  My changes are in green.

Spanish Style Brine

3 1/2 cups cold water

1/4 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup sherry vinegar (red wine vinegar)

1 cup ice cubes

4 bone-in rib pork chops (about 3 pounds total) 1.5 pound pork tenderloin

1.  Pour the water into a large bowl or plastic storage tub.  Stir in the salt and continue stirring until the salt dissolves.  Stir in the sugar and vinegar and continue stirring until they dissolve.  Add the ice cubes and stir to chill the mixture down.  It should be 45 F or colder on an instant-read thermometer.  Add the pork, cover, and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.  Remove the pork and discard the brine.  Pat dry with paper towels, and either proceed with the recipe or cover with plastic wrap.  The pork can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before being cooked.

Spanish Style Rub

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoon of chopped fresh sage

1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoons sherry vinegar (red wine vinegar)

1.  Combine all above ingredients.  Coat the brined pork generously on both sides with the rub.  Set the chops aside while you prepare a grill.  

2.  I used a gas grill and cooked the pork uncovered high heat 3 minutes per side (6 minutes total) and then covered for an additional 10 minutes.  Pork reached an internal temperature of 145 F and juices were no longer pink.  

3.  Slice pork and serve with spicy coleslaw, avocados, bell pepper, and maduros (below).



Maduros (Fried plantains)

2 ripe plantains (yellow with some black spotting)

Canola oil

1.  Slice plantains on the bias.   

2.  Heat oil in a small saucepan until very hot.  Oil should reach to top of plantains.  Oil must be very hot or it will soak into the plantains while cooking.  Cook plantains 4 minutes per side or until golden brown.  Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towel to drain.



Spicy Slaw

4-5 cups precut slaw mix

1/2 cup low-fat mayo

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon white sugar

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce 

1 teaspoon Frank’s hot sauce

salt & pepper

1.  Combine first 6 ingredients.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  Serve immediately if you prefer a crunchy slaw or chill in refrigerator for a few hours.


Stir-fry Chicken with Jalapeno and Allspice Marinade January 4, 2009

Filed under: Chicken,Spice rubs and Marinades — xigumdrops @ 5:02 pm
Tags: ,


I used the ingredients found in the Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Chicken book but changed the prep and cooking instructions.  The marinade was quick to make and I pretty much always have these ingredients on-hand so it was convenient too.  The chicken was not spicy at all as the heat from the pepper is lost in the high heat cooking.  Changes to the original ingredients are in green; prep instructions are different from original recipe.

Inspiration:  Grilled Chicken Skewers with habanero chile and allspice from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Chicken cookbook

1/2 habanero chile (1 Jalapeno pepper)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 small red onion, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons cider vinegar (Rice Wine Vinegar)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup canola oil (1/3 cup olive oil)

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves cut into pieces

1 large red bell pepper cut into 1-inch squares (green bell pepper)


1.  Combine all ingredients into a large nonreactive bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 6 hours.  Time was not on my side so I marinated for 1 hour.

2.  Heat large skillet to wok on high heat and add all ingredients.  Cook over high heat for approximately 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.  You may need to push onion and bell pepper to the side to prevent burning.  Serve hot with white rice.



Chimichurri Sauce September 15, 2008

The original recipe as written basically tasted like chopped up parsley in oil.  I tried adding the onion but that didn’t do anything special either and was still lost in the weird texture.  I decided to pop the mixture in a blender and it turned out great.  My changes are in green.

Source:  Food & Wine Magazine

2 cups chopped parsley

2/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil (1/3 plus 1 Tbs.)

6 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

2 Tbs. minced garlic (5 cloves; which was less than the 2 Tbs)

2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1/4 cup minced red onion

Salt and freshly ground pepper


1.  In a bowl, mix the parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and crushed red pepper (and onion) ; season with salt and pepper.

2.  Combine in blender and mix until a paste forms.

3.  Serve with thinly sliced grilled skirt steak and sweet potato fries.


Garlic-Chile Wet Paste Marinade August 22, 2008

I only had 30 minutes to marinade and forgot to wipe off the paste.  I used a grill pan indoors.  Pretty good overall.  Changes in green.

Source:  Cook’s Illustrated

6 Tbs. corn or vegetable oil (4 Tbs)

6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (2 Tbs)

2 medium scallions, minced (3 Tbs)

1 medium chipolte chile in adobo sauce, minced (1 Tbs)

1 medium jalapeno chile, minced (1 Tbs)

2 Lb. flank steak, patted dry with paper towels

2 tsp. kosher salt


1.  Puree first 5 ingredients in blender until smooth, scraping down blender as needed.

2.  Place steak on rimmed baking sheet or in large baking dish.  Using a dinner fork, prick stead about 20 times on each side.  Rub both sides of steak evenly with 2 tsp. salt and then with paste.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

3.  Using paper towels, wipe paste off steak; season both sides with pepper.  Grill steak until well browned.


Cajun Spice Rub July 28, 2008

I love steaks with rubs.  This one works well with chicken or flank steak.  You can either make the entire recipe and have tons of leftovers to store or cut the recipe down to suit your needs.  The recipe makes 1 cup or about enough to cover 16 chicken breasts.

1/2 cup sweet paprika

2 Tbs. kosher salt

2 Tbs. garlic powder

1 Tbs. dried thyme

2 tsp. ground celery seed

2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Store rub in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 months.


1.  Bring steaks to cool room temperature for even cooking.

2.  Rub steaks in mixture covering all sides.

3.  Grill to medium doneness or to your liking.