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Spiced cacao rubbed pork fillet – recipe

Wowzers. This was delicious.


A few months ago I took a trip out to the home of DV Chocolate just outside Paarl to do a chocolate tasting that blew my mind. If you have not done it make sure it is on your Cape Winelands to-do list. They are a “bean-to-bar” micro batch chocolate maker who imports beans from various points on the globe to produce some fantastic dark chocolate (For a little more on the health benefits of dark chocolate READ HERE). A tasting of the different chocolates makes you realise just how many flavour profiles the dark stuff produces. Apart from walking away with my fair share of Ugandan chocolate I also purchased some roasted Venezuelan cacao beans to play with at home.

To start off with I would break them up and add the cacao nibs to yoghurt or pop them together with strawberries and mint leaves to make a refreshing dessert. Cacao nibs are obviously a little bitter but packed with flavour and antioxidants. Anyway, I had not used them for a while so I dreamt up an exciting dish to try for dinner and I think it was a hit. In fact it found its way onto the Easter Lunch table as another helping of chocolate!

You can get cacao nibs at any health shop or alternatively substitute this for cocoa powder. If you have some beans de-shelling them  is a bit of a mission but the smell that will permeate your house is worth it!

Serves 3-4

1 large pork fillet
10-12 cacao bean, shelled and crushed OR 3 Tbsp cacao nibs
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp all spice berries
1/2 tsp white peppercorns
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp canola oil

It might take a bit of tweaking but these were the rough volumes of spices and flavours I used.

In a dry pan over a medium heat gently roast the coriander, peppercorns and all spice. Once cooled put these together with all the other dry spices in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind until fine. In a bowl mix the spices together with the sugar, lemon juice and oil. Give it a taste and make sure there is a decent balance of bitterness, acid, sweet and spicy. Adjust if necessary.

Remove any silver skin or sinew from your pork fillet and rub the meat in the spice mixture, leaving it to marinade while you prepare whatever side dish you want to have accompany it. I chose a broccoli bacon and cashew salad with a yoghurt dressing and added a little blue cheese for some more deliciousness.

Preheat your oven to 180°C. I had cooked some bacon for the salad so I used the fat left over in the pan to sear the pork fillet for about 8-10 minutes over a medium heat and then popped it into the oven for 15 minutes until the core temperature reached 64°C, or medium. Remove it from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes, then slice it nice and thick and serve with your side.

Yes man..


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