My Facebook Whole 30 group is rocking this January challenge. But when you get to eat amazing food like this Pork with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Salsa and Sweet Potatoes, it hardly seems like a challenge at all!
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The Roasted Red Bell Pepper Salsa:
While the pork and sweet potatoes are lightly seasoned, the majority of the flavor in this meal is provided by the roasted red bell pepper salsa. This salsa is a combination of so many good things: Roasted red bell pepper, tomato, avocado, red onion, serrano chili, cilantro and lime juice!
So much fresh goodness in one bowl and look at that color! Place some salsa on each bite of pork for a burst of flavor.
How To Roast a Red Bell Pepper
Of course, you can buy roasted red bell peppers in a jar, but unfortunately you have to use all of them within a few days or they go bad. So to avoid waste I take the extra few minutes to roast my own. Just place a red bell pepper on a burner, directly over flame. As skin becomes black and charred, slowly rotate pepper using tongs. When all sides are charred, place in a bowl and cover with a saucer. Allow pepper to steam in it’s own heat for 10 minutes. Then peel off the charred skin, under running water if necessary, then dice. To learn how to work with a serrano chili, click here!
I am going to give you two options for the pork. I had my butcher cut me two 1″ thick pork “blade” steaks. Blade steaks come from the shoulder cut (also called the pork butt). Pork shoulder is really well marbled so it has a lot of flavor. But you can also use a pork tenderloin, the tenderloin is the leanest cut of pork but is still very tender. Both cuts work very well with this recipe.
I season the pork with sea salt, pepper, cumin and garlic, sear in a pan, then transfer to the oven to finish right alongside the potatoes. Of course I pour the drippings over the meat before serving…
The Sweet Potatoes:
No peeling necessary! Just cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then slice into 1/4″ half moons, toss in olive oil, sea salt and pepper, then roast. The sweet potatoes really round out this Whole 30 meal.
Bring it All Together:
Check out the variety of color in this meal. Color denotes nutrients, so we are getting a lot of good stuff here. Protein, vitamin A, lots of antioxidants, healthy fats and the cleansing properties of cilantro and inflammation fighting properties chili peppers!
The Recipe: Pork with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Salsa and Sweet Potatoes
Tips and what you will need: a good knife and a large cast iron skillet are a must. To learn how to work with a serrano chili, click here! This meal is paleo, whole 30, dairy free, gluten free, grain free.
Pork with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Salsa and Sweet Potatoes
A complete whole 30/paleo meal. If you follow the directions below, you can make this whole meal in about 40 minutes.
- 2 small sweet potatoes
- Sea salt
- extra virgin olive oil (for veggies and pans)
Red Bell Pepper Salsa:
- 1 large roasted red pepper, diced (see instructions posted above)
- 1 large ripe avocado, diced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- ¼ of a red onion, finely diced
- Serrano chili, finely minced, use ½ teaspoon for mild, ¾ teaspoon for medium, 1 teaspoon or more for hot
- 2 teaspoons cilantro, chopped
- juice of half a lime
- sea salt, to taste
- 2- 1" thick pork blade steaks (cut from the shoulder) or 3/4-1 lb pork tenderloin
- sea salt
- dried cumin
- garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place one rack in the upper third of oven and a second rack in the lower third. Place parchment paper on a rimmed cookie sheet and set aside
To roast red pepper:
- Wash and dry red pepper.
- Turn cook top burner on med heat and place red pepper right on the burner
- Allow pepper to sit on burner until skin turns black, use tongs to rotate the pepper
- Keep cooking the pepper till all sides are blackened, turning as each side is charred
- Remove pepper, place in bowl and cover with lid or plastic wrap
- Let sit for ten minutes while you prepare your other ingredients
- Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut 1/4 " half moons
- Place potatoes on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper
- Drizzle with olive oil and toss (use just enough oil that all the potatoes are glistening)
- Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, to taste
- Spread potatoes out in a single layer
- Place in oven for 30 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time
Make The Salsa:
- Dice tomato, avocado and onion.
- Mince Serrano chili, be sure to wash your hands well after and avoid rubbing your eyes for several hours (see instructions linked above for how to handle hot chili peppers).
- Chop cilantro. Place all prepared ingredients except chili in a bowl, stir and set aside.
- Remove red pepper from bowl and peel the blackened skin off pepper. This can be a little messy. Once blackened skin is removed, dice pepper and add to bowl with other vegetables, stir. Add Serrano chili. Sprinkle with sea salt and squeeze with lime, stir.
- Sprinkle pork with seasonings. Place an oven safe pan (I like cast iron for this) on med/high heat. Add enough olive oil to pan that the bottom is lightly coated
- When oil is hot add pork, searing until brown on all sides (usually 3-4 minutes a side) If you are using tenderloin instead of blade steaks you'll turn 1/4 turns so all sides are browned.
- Once browned place pan on the lower rack of the oven (below potatoes).
- If you used 1" steaks, cook for about 12 minutes, if you used a tenderloin, cook for 15-16 more minutes or until tenderloin has a SLIGHTLY pink center. Potatoes should be done right around the time the pork is done.
- Remove from oven, allow pork to rest for five minutes
- Slice pork, drizzle with drippings from pan, serve with potatoes and salsa.
Courses Complete meal
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