Cinnamon and Chili Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Apple Salsa

Cinnamon and Chili Pork with Apple Salsa

So the concept of apple salsa is a fairly new one to me. Not that I haven’t seen variations of it around; I have, but I haven’t really been that tempted to make it. It hasn’t really called to me, you know?

Until I saw it paired with a savory cinnamon and chili spiced pork tenderloin and then all of a sudden it needed to happen immediately.

I’ve declared it before, but I declare it again that I love cooking with pork tenderloin. (And let’s be serious, it’s really the eating of that I enjoy the most.)

It’s so tender especially when you use an instant-read thermometer, the use of which can totally change your life and the outcome of your meat.

And I really never tire of different variations of the ol’ PT.

Having said that, if this recipe was just for a cinnamon and chili spiced pork tenderloin, I probably would have passed because it’s similar in concept and flavor to others I’ve tried, but the apple salsa sold me.

Cinnamon and Chili Pork with Apple Salsa

And it should sell you, too. (In hindsight, the pork is so wildly delicious that I shouldn’t have let my pork-tenderloin-snobbery get in the way of making it.)

The combination of the smoky, flavorful pork tenderloin and the fresh, spunky, juicy salsa is phenomenal. Really phenomenal.

Although this is a pretty simple, 30-ish minute meal, the finished presentation and taste is perfectly worthy for company and will win you major rockstar points. I mean look at it?

It’s incredibly pretty, but beyond that, each bite of succulent pork with bits of juicy apples, crunchy red pepper, a hint of lime and a taste of sweetness…well, it’s just…beyond. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Cinnamon and Chili Pork with Apple Salsa

What To ServeHerb Roasted Potatoes or these Salt Crusted Potatoes
A steamed veggie or this Vegetable Saute with Simple Cream Sauce
A really, good artisan bread like this Herb Focaccia Bread

One Year Ago: Pasta al Forno {Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella}
Two Years Ago: Jo Jo Potato Wedges
Three Years Ago: Colorado Crème

Cinnamon Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Apple Salsa

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Ingredients:

For the Pork:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin

For the Apple Salsa:

  • 2 cups crunchy sweet apples (like Fuji), cored and diced (about 2 medium apples)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch baking dish with foil and coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together the 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, chili powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large shallow bowl or pie plate. Add the pork and turn each piece to coat with the cinnamon mixture.
  3. In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat another tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium heat until hot and rippling. Add the pork and brown on all sides, 2-3 minutes per side.
  4. Transfer the browned pork to the prepared baking pan (if your skillet is oven-safe, you can simply pop it into the oven and save having to clean up an extra pan). Bake for 16-18 minutes (more or less) until an instant read thermometer registers 145 degrees in the thickest part of the pork. Cover the pork with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with the apple salsa.
  5. For the apple salsa (this can be prepared while the pork is cooking), combine all the apple salsa ingredients, stirring well to coat the apples with the lime juice and other ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes:

For even more flavor, coat the pork with the oil/chili rub, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before cooking. The leftover apple salsa is divine on tortilla chips or just eaten by the spoonful.

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Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe Kira W. sent me (thanks, Kira – you have sent me so many good ones!) by way of Multiply Delicious (I think)…I added salt and increased the pork and rub amounts.