Spiced Pork with Apricot and Saffron Rice
Pork Tenderloin - A Lean and Economical Cut
A few week back I bought a pack of 3 pork tenderloins at my butchers in Suffolk. It was on special offer and the price was too good to ignore, even though at the time I didn't know what I would do with them. In the end I used two of the of them to make my Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Roll which I served as a weekend family roast. The other I used to make this Spiced Pork with Apricot and Saffron Rice. A perfect midweek meal for Mr. B and myself.
Even when pork tenderloins are not on special offer it always amazes me what an economical, tender cut this is. Because it is very lean it is ideal if you are watching your fat or calorie intake. One word of warning though. Because it has very little fat it can be a little dry, especially if overcooked. That's why I add a little water to the pan rather than just pan frying it. After browning the meat in the pan it just gently poaches in the liquid. Covering with the lid keeps the steam in so the pan doesn't boil dry and the meat retains its moisture.
I often cook pork as I have such a good supply of quality outdoor reared pork from my local butchers in Suffolk, but this dish will work well with other meats.
You could use lamb neck fillet or chicken breasts instead. You can also vary the rice, try add a different nut such as, chopped pecans. My boys don't like fruit in savoury dishes, so then they are around I add a few peas towards the end of the cooking time instead of the apricot.
Spiced Pork with Apricots and Saffron Rice
for the spiced pork
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 pork tenderloin (fillet), about 250-350g (8-12oz)
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
for the rice
- 25 g flaked almonds
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1 onion , chopped
- large pinch saffron
- 3-4 cardamon pods , crushed
- 225 g basmati rice
- 500 ml water
- 50 g dried apricots , chopped
- Natural yogurt and chopped parsley to serve
- Brown the almonds for the rice by dry frying until golden. Set aside.
- Place the spices in a bowl and mix well. Tip onto a plate and roll the pork in the spice mixture to coat all over. Cut the pork into two pieces.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan. Fry the pork over a medium high heat until browned on all sides. Add 4 tbsp ( ¼ cup) water or stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and cook the pork for about 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the pan, discarding any remaining liquid and keep warm.
- Meanwhile cook the rice. Heat the the oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion for 2 to 3 minutes until beginning to soften. Stir in the rice and add the saffron and cardamon. Add the water and a generous pinch of salt and bring to the boil.
- Stir well, cover and cook for 10 minutes over a very low heat. Allow the rice to stand for 2 minutes. Add the chopped apricots and most of the almonds and fluff up the rice with a fork mixing in the fruit and nuts as you do so.
- To serve. Divide the rice between two serving plates. Cut the pork into thick slices and arrange on top of the rice.
- Serve with natural yogurt, a sprinkling of chopped parsley and the remaining nuts