Michael Chiarello has written several outstanding cookbooks and has several successful cooking shows over the past decade. I love his newest cookbook “Fire” which discusses all of the various methods to cook something outdoors.
This dish was inspired from his spice blend called “Cocoa Spice Rub” which he talks about in “Fire”. Although I have made a few modifications to his original recipe because I love spices like cumin and garlic, his recipe is equally outstanding.
The baking spices in this spice blend along with the unsweetened cocoa powder make this dish so surprising. It’s almost impossible to describe. It goes especially well with Pork but Michael states in “Fire” that it works equally well with Chicken as well as sprinkled on Sweet Potatoes, both of which I have not tried. But, I think I am going to try it tomorrow on some Sweet Potatoes!
The Chocolate Risotto was a lot of fun to make. Instead of the usual stock as the cooking liquid this recipe uses “chocolate water” as its base, although I did add some pork stock to made the dish more flavorful. I also added leeks and dried cranberries to the risottoe to give the dish a little sweetness.
You may not have heard of Soubise (pronounced sue beez) sauce before. It basically is an Alfredo sauce with Gruyere cheese instead of Parmesan with the addition of leeks (normally yellow onions).
Cocoa & Spice Dusted Port Tenderloin Medallions over Chocolate Risotto with Dried Cranberries & Soubise Sauce
To make the pork:
2# (1/4# pork tenderloin per person), trimmed, silver skin removed
2 Tbsp olive oil for cooking
Flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Trim the pork, put the Cocoa & Spice Rub on the tenderloin and set aside. Heat a large skillet, that is ovenproof, with enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. Heat on medium heat then place pork tenderloins in skillet and sear on all sides. Place the skillet in the oven and roast the tenderloins to an internal temperature of 135 degrees F for medium doneness. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Cocoa & Spice Rub:
1 Tbsp ground white pepper
1 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
4 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp powdered garlic
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Mix all ingredients together and coat pork tenderloins on all sides. Set aside.
You can store this spice mixture in your freezer for 1 year or in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for 3-4 months.
Chocolate Risottos with Dried Cranberries
1 1/2 cup Lundberg Arborio Rice
3 c water with 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder to make “cocoa water”
2 tbsp pork base or chicken base, added to cocoa water
1 c dried cranberries
2 leeks, trimmed, cut in half, washed, and sliced thin
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
3 tbsp ghee or grass-fed butter, melted
Place butter in medium pot and heat until melted on medium heat. Add rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add leeks and cook until transparent. Add salt. Add cocoa water mixture and cranberries. Place lid on pot and cook Risotto for 20 minutes. Cocoa water should be evaporated, rice should be tender. Let rice rest for 10 minutes.Fluff rice with a fork. Set aside for assembly.
1/4 c unsalted, grass-fed butter
1 leek, trimmed, cut in half, washed, and slicked thin
2 cups cream
1/2 c Gruyere cheese, shredded
Melt butter in a medium skillet and add leeks. Cook leeks until softened. Add cream and let come to a slow boil. Reduce slightly and add cheese. Cook until cheese melts. Stir constantly so sauce gets creamy and cheese is incorporated into the cream.
To assemble the entire dish:
Place Soubise sauce in a pool on a small plate. Place one cup (packed) Chocolate Risotto with Dried Cranberries on top of the Soubise sauce. I pack the Risotto into a one-cup measuring cup and turn upside down, gently tapping on edge to release the Risotto onto the sauce so it keeps its form.
Slice the pork into 2-3 slices per person. Place on top of the Risotto mound. Add a sprig of flat-leaf parsley for garnish.
Chateau Branaire-Dueru, Saint-Julien, 2007