Memorable Meats

For a special occasion or a feeling-fancy weeknight, these proteins as beautiful as they are delicious will steal the show.

Mojo Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Mango & Papaya Salsa

From Chef Alvin Cotto

2 pork tenderloins, about 5-6 pounds total
1 24-oz. bottle Goya Mojo Criollo marinade (found in the Hispanic section of most grocery stores)
1 ripe papaya, diced, discarding skin and seeds
2 ripe mangos, diced, discarding skin and pits
1-2 roasted red peppers (either from a jar or homemade), diced
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
1 small red onion, diced
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of salt and pepper

  1. Remove silverskin from tenderloins; place pork in a nonreactive dish and pour the mojo over the meat. Marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, combine papaya, mangos, roasted red peppers, cilantro, red onion, cumin, salt, pepper, and lime juice to make the salsa.
  3. Grill the pork tenderloin over indirect, medium-high heat until cooked thoroughly (internal temperature of 145 degrees). Allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Slice the pork, arrange on a platter, and garnish with the salsa.

Butterflied Turkey Tenders & Peach Salad with Curried Pecan Vinaigrette

From Chef Vivian Howard

Turkey Brine
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup lime juice
1 cup orange juice
2-inch piece ginger, chopped
1/2 cup fresh sage, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
1.5 pounds turkey tenders

Peach salad and vinaigrette
1/2 cup pecans
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 peaches, diced
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt

  1. Bring 4 cups water, salt, and sugar to a boil over high heat in a medium stock pot until salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from heat. Add remaining brine ingredients to water mixture. Refrigerate, uncovered, until cold.
  2. Lay the turkey tenders on a cutting board, flat side down. With the edge of your knife parallel to the cutting board, begin cutting down the length of the side of each tender. Carefully slice the tenders in half, almost to the other edge. Add tenders to brine, cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, spread pecans evenly over the surface. Keep the pecans moving for 3 to 4 minutes by shaking the pan to prevent burning. Pecans should become fragrant. Remove from heat. Allow to cool, then roughly chop, and set aside in a medium bowl.
  4. In the same saucepan over medium heat, saute yellow onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add curry and salt. Once onions are translucent and beginning to brown, remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl with pecans. Add peaches, lime juice and mint. Toss to combine, and set aside.
  5. Remove turkey tenders from brine, and rinse with cold water. With 1 tablespoon of salt, season each side of turkey.
  6. In a heavy-bottomed large skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Heat pan for approximately one minute. Carefully place each tender smooth side down in pan, and sear for 4 to 6 minutes per side. Allow turkey to rest for 3 minutes.
  7. Serve a generous spoonful of peach salad with each turkey tender.

Chimichurri Steak Skewers

2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ cup fresh cilantro
¼ cup fresh oregano
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 shallot, halved
1 cup olive oil
1 small jalapeño pepper, quartered, seeds removed
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1.5 pounds top sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon each, salt and pepper
16-20 mini wooden skewers

  1. For the chimichurri sauce, combine the first 12 ingredients (parsley through black pepper) in a powerful blender or food processor, and puree until smooth.
  2. Place the wooden skewers in water to soak. In a large bowl, combine the steak cubes with salt, pepper and 1 cup of the chimichurri sauce. Reserve the remaining sauce in a separate bowl. Cover the bowl of steak cubes and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Skewer three steak cubes onto each of the small skewers. Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side, until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
  4. Serve the grilled skewers with the reserved chimichurri sauce as a dip.

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Spinach

From Elizabeth Wooten, Wake Forest

1 2-pound pork tenderloin
8 ounces goat cheese
16 ounces fresh spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
10 bacon slices

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Butterfly the pork by cutting the tenderloin almost in half lengthwise, leaving one side still connected. Open the meat like a book, and place between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a mallet, flatten the meat to about ½-inch thickness. Place in a foil-lined 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
  3. Slice the goat cheese and arrange on one side of the meat. Place the spinach on top of the goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring the two sides of the pork together, and wrap the bacon around the tenderloin in a criscross pattern.
  5. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

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