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Food and Dining Stage
Sweet and Sour Pork Tenderloin
1 pork tenderloin (about 2 pounds)
1 large onion, halved through the equator
1 large red, orange, or green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and halved
3 round slices fresh pineapple, about 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup unsalted cashews
4 servings of rice
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives, for garnish (optional)
2 Tablespoons chopped green onions, for garnish (optional)
1/2 cup D.C. Mumbo Sauce
Trim off any excess fat and silverskin from the pork. Salt the meat an hour or two before cooking. Coat the meat, onion, bell pepper, and pineapple with a thin layer of oil so they won’t stick. Start 4 servings of rice in the kitchen, cooked according to instructions on the package. Put the cashews in a dry frying pan without oil and, over medium heat, toast them until they start to get brown spots. Set up a grill with two zones and get the indirect zone to about 325F. Start grilling the onions, pineapple, and bell peppers over the hot part of the grill with the lid closed. Keep a close watch so nothing burns. Turn the food during grilling and take them off when they are limp and grill marked. Lightly oil the pork so it won’t stick and put it on the indirect side and cook with the lid closed. While the pork is cooking, chop the grilled veggies and pineapple into bite-size chunks. Put them in a pot or metal bowl on the indirect part of the grill to stay warm. Warm the sauce on the side. Remove the meat when it hits 135 to 140F and slice it twice lengthwise into quarters. Bundle the quarters and slice across them every 1/2 inch to make 1/2-inch chunks. Add the meat to the pot with the chopped veggies and pineapple and stir everything together. Plate the meat and friends and drizzle the warm sauce over everything. Garnish with chives, green onions, and toasted cashews right before serving so the nuts don’t get soggy.
Notes: I strongly recommend that you resist the temptation to use another cut of pork. You can, however, substitute chicken or shrimp. If you are making this with chicken, the internal temperature must be 160F. If you use shrimp, pull them off the grill as soon as they turn orange/pink and the centers are opaque.
If you want a little heat, add a poblano chile to the cooked veggies or garnish with a finely chopped jalapeño or two.
D.C. Mumbo Sauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup distilled white vinegar (see note)
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup (4 ounces) tomato paste
4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, or more if you wish
Mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan and whisk to break up the clumps
of tomato paste and ginger. Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes to marry the flavors and thicken it a bit. Do not let the sauce boil. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your preferences. Like it hotter? Be my guest.
When it is time to serve, you can drizzle it on the food or serve it in a bowl for dipping. Or both. Mumbo sauce can be refrigerated for months.
Note: You may be tempted to use apple cider vinegar or something with more flavor, but resist. Plain old distilled vinegar is the right call.