Cuban-Style Mojo-Marinated Pork Tenderloin

June 28, 2016

In Cuban cooking, mojo refers to a sauce made with olive oil, garlic, and typically sour orange juice (also called bitter orange juice). Roasting pork in this simple blend of ingredients results in an unctuous dish that packs an amazing punch of flavor. While this ubiquitous Cuban dish is typically made with a fattier pork shoulder (also known as pernil), Chef Ronaldo Linares uses a lower in fat tenderloin, making this dish a healthier option for everyone.

This recipe is one of nearly 100 in Chef Linares’ new cookbook Chef Ronaldo's Sabores de Cuba: Diabetes-Friendly Traditional and Nueva Cubano Cuisine. Each recipe, featured in both English and Spanish, will tantalize the taste buds of everyone at the table, plus they meet the strict nutritional guidelines of the American Diabetes Association. 

Mojo-Marinated Pork Tenderloin (Pernil)
From Chef Ronaldo's Sabores de Cuba, page 48

"This recipe takes the classic pork shoulder dish (pernil) and makes it healthier while still giving you the amazing Cubano flavor that we love. I have substituted pork tenderloin for pork shoulder in this version of the recipe. I can hear my father’s voice screaming at me, “Oye, chico, what are you doing changing the dish?” I’m not changing the essence of the dish, I’m just modifying it so people can enjoy it in a healthier way." ~Chef Sabores

PREP TIME: 25 minutes
20 minutes
SERVING SIZE: 1 (4-ounce) piece pork

2 navel oranges, peeled and cut in half
2 lemons, peeled
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons distilled vinegar
2 stems fresh thyme, leaves removed from stem
1 (20-ounce) pork tenderloin
Nonstick cooking spray

Step 1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

Step 2. Grab your blender to make the mojo marinade. Add oranges, lemons, salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, vinegar, and fresh thyme leaves into the blender. Pulsate the mixture 4 times, then purée for 1 minute. Set aside 4 ounces mojo and add the rest to a resealable plastic bag.

Step 3. Remove the silver skin from the pork tenderloin. Add pork tenderloin to the resealable plastic bag with the mojo. Marinate pork for at least 20 minutes in the fridge.

Step 4. Remove the pork tenderloin from the bag (discarding the marinade in the bag) and pat dry with a paper towel. Preheat an ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat, spray with nonstick cooking spray, and wait 10 seconds for oil to come up to temperature. Brown both sides of pork tenderloin in the pan, then place pan in the oven for 15–20 minutes. Internal temperature of cooked pork should read 145°F.

Step 5. Remove pork from oven and let it rest for a few minutes so juices redistribute. Drizzle some of the reserved mojo marinade on the pork, and serve.

Exchanges/Food Choices:
1/2 fruit, 3 lean protein
Calories 160
Calories From Fat 25
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 75mg
Sodium 450mg
Potassium 590mg
Total Carbohydrate 10g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 5g
Protein 25g
Phosphorus 300mg

Copyright © 2016 by Ronaldo Linares. From Chef Ronaldo's Sabores de Cuba
Photography: Kelly Campbell Photography. Reprinted with permission from The American Diabetes Association.