Bobby Flay's New Mexican Spiced Pork Tenderloin with two sauces

I was lucky enough to have dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago. I actually ate there twice in the week I was in Vegas and I had the same thing both nights. It was that good!

What did I have? New Mexican Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon-Ancho Sauce and Smoked Red Pepper Sauce. It was amazing, just the right amount of heat and smoke. So, of course I had to make it. As soon as I got home I ordered the Mesa Grill cookbook. It came. I made this dish!

One look at the ingredients and I knew I would have to visit my friends at El Burrito Mercado in West St. Paul. I stock ancho chili powder in my pantry but had never heard of chile de arbol or pasilla chili powder before. I needed to pick up some ancho chiles for the sauce too. I've used those before, just didn't have any in the house.

I knew El Burrito Mercado would have the dried ancho chiles and I was lucky enough to find chile de arbol there as well. What they didn't have was pasilla chili powder.  They did have dried pasilla chiles however. I decided to buy the chiles and grind them myself. 



It worked just fine. I cut the stems off, chopped them in pieces and put them in my spice grinder. Voila, pasilla chili powder.



Now that I had all the ingredients it was time to start making the sauces.

I started with the Smoked Red Pepper Sauce. The recipe calls for roasting the red peppers in the oven. I normally do this over the flame on my stove but I was doing a bunch of other things at the same time so I thought the oven would be easier. It definitely took longer than on the stove, and even after almost double the time the cookbook suggested, the peppers still weren't very charred. But the skin was peeling off so I considered them done and moved on to the next step!



To make peeling the peepers easy, place them in a covered bowl, or like I do, just put them in a plastic bag for about 15 minutes. After steaming the skin will come right off.




I needed some roasted garlic too so while the peppers were roasting I threw a little garlic in the oven as well. I love the smell of roasted garlic!



The final ingredient that needed a little prep was the chipotle pepper puree. This was easy, empty a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce into a food processor and process away!




To make the sauce, the peppers, garlic, some chopped purple onion, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey and a tablespoon of the chipotle pepper puree are all put in a blender. While the blender is going, canola oil is poured in and the mixture is blended until it emulsifies. The result is this absolutely beautiful orange sauce. You can smell the roasted peppers and the sauce has a smokey, sweet flavor and just a kick of heat. And the batch makes A LOT, I'll be finding uses for this sauce....




Sauce one done. Next Bourbon-Ancho Sauce!

I'm not a fan of bourbon at all. I don't even like the smell of it. But I really liked this sauce at the restaurant. And I wanted to make the whole recipe! So here's the mise en place, olive oil, bourbon, apple juice concentrate, chicken stock, onion, ancho chiles, peppercorns and brown sugar.



This sauce was easy to make, but it takes a long time. You have to re-hydrate the ancho chiles and there is a lot of reducing which is probably why the sauce has such amazing flavor.

Step one is to re-hydrate and puree the ancho chiles so start early! The chiles have to soak in hot water for 30 minutes. Once they are re-hydrated, the stems are removed and the chiles, along with a little of the water used to re-hydrate them are put in a food processor and pureed. The recipe said to seed the chile but I left the seeds in. The sauce is strained so I left the seed in for a little more flavor.

The recipe also calls for 8 peppercorns. Yes, not "a few", but exactly 8. So that's what I used.



The sauce starts with some sauteed red onion to which two cups of bourbon is added. This is reduced until there are just a couple of tablespoons of liquid left.




To the reduced mixture of onions and bourbon, the ancho chile puree, chicken stock, apple juice concentrate, exactly eight peppercorns, and the little brown sugar are added.

This mixture is then reduced by half. This took longer than the 10-15 minutes the recipe suggested. I'm glad I started the sauce early. The mixture is then strained and put back on the heat to reduce a little more, to "sauce" consistency. The color changes from a bright red to a delicious brown.  This sauce, in total took almost 2 hours to make start to finish. I highly recommend making it the day before you need it!

This is one of the most delicious sauces I have ever tasted. It doesn't taste like bourbon at all. It's savory but a little sweet from the apple juice concentrate and onions. It's rich and creamy and earthy an deep and I could have just eaten it with a spoon!  Now I couldn't wait for the pork!



Sauce two done. Now on to the star of the dish, the pork! After all that chopping and pureeing and reducing, the pork was pretty darn simple.

A pork tenderloin is seasoned with salt and then coated with Bobby Flay's New Mexican Spice rub.  The rub is a combination of ancho chili powder, brown sugar, the pasilla powder I made from dried chiles, the chile de arbol, cinnamon and allspice.



After searing the pork on all sides it is finished in a 400 degree oven.


I tried to plate it as nicely as they did in the restaurant, sliced in medallions, coated with the bourbon sauce and a little of the roasted red pepper sauce then a garnish of chives. I served it with some roasted butternut squash.


I told my husband to taste the brown sauce first. He was speechless. He just looked at me with that "OH.MY.GOD that is good!" look on his face. I don't think we said more than a few words during dinner we were enjoying it that much!  Yes, I over cooked the pork a little, but it was still really good.  The brown sugar in the rub caramelized beautifully giving a nice crunch on the outside of the pork. The bourbon sauce brought down the heat a touch with its heavenly dark, rich, flavors and then there was a little pop with the roasted red pepper sauce.  

This was as good as at the restaurant. Sometimes the recipes aren't quite up to the restaurant but these were.  Of course at home we have to clean all the dishes. And it took me a LONG time to make this when you factor in all the time to make the sauces but it was well worth it!

This one is going on our "good enough for company" list!





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