I’m always a little sad to see summer go — mostly because I have to say goodbye to great tomatoes — but I do love the transition into autumn. As temperatures gradually drop, turning on the oven becomes more and more enticing, as do long-cooked dishes. This week’s recipe, perfect for the seasonal transition, comes from food entrepreneur Dana Sicko. Dana’s Carnitas with Pineapple-Jicama Salsa are made using the pressure cooker to maximize efficiency in cooking pork tenderloin. The spicy and contrasting flavors and textures still evoke bright summer food even as the days get shorter. If you can’t find jicama, Dana recommends using cucumber and radish together in its place. —Kristina
Why Dana loves this recipe: I haven’t met a single person who says “no” to tacos or carnitas or, really, any Mexican food! I love this recipe because it is a great hit of flavorful and succulent (yet lean) pork tenderloin and the pineapple-jicama salsa is a great punch of texture and bright flavors. Also by using the pressure cooker you are able to get a delicious texture of meat in less than half the time. I absolutely love my pressure cooker. This is a great recipe moving into the fall when the evenings start to get a little cooler and you have exhausted the grill.
Food Photography by Kristina Gill | Portrait by Julie Andersen
Carnitas with Pineapple-Jicama Salsa
– 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
– 1 yellow onion, diced
– salt and pepper
– 2 ½ lbs. pork tenderloin, cut into 3 pieces
– 1 tablespoon chili powder
– 1 tablespoon ground cumin
– 1 teaspoon ground coriander
– 1 teaspoon dried oregano
– ¼ teaspoon cayenne, optional
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 3 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed
– ½ cup hot sauce (I prefer Cholula)
– 3 cups low sodium chicken stock, enough to almost cover tenderloin
– 2 tablespoons orange juice
– 1 tablespoon lime juice
Heat the 1 tablespoon of oil in your pressure cooker over medium high heat. Once the oil is heated, sautee the diced onion until translucent and until most liquid has evaporated. Remove the diced onions to a plate and reserve. Salt and pepper the tenderloin on all sides. Heat the tenderloin in the pressure cooker, searing on each side for about 2 minutes.
Once the meat has been seared on each side, place all remaining ingredients (including the sautéed onions) into the pressure cooker. Follow your pressure cooker manufacturer’s directions for bringing up to temperature, and sealing your specific pressure cooker model. Once pressure has been reached, cook for 1 hour. Take your pressure cooker off the heat and allow to cool and then release. Follow your manufacturer’s directions for carefully opening your specific cooker. Remove pork to large plate, or bowl and shred using two forks.
Return uncovered pot to heat and simmer gently until liquid is reduced to a slightly thick sauce, about 15 minutes. With heat still on, stir in the pork, allowing it to shred and become fully coated in the sauce. Check for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Once the pork is heated through and well coated, it is ready to be enjoyed in a tortilla with pineapple-jicama salsa!
The key to a really good salsa is keeping everything as uniform in size as possible. Look at it as a way to really practice your chopping skills!
– 1 cup of jicama (or a mix of cucumber and radish)
– 1 cup of pineapple
– ¼ red onion, minced
– 1 orange, juiced and zested
– 1 jalapeño, seeded, stemmed and minced, less if you prefer less spicy
– ¼ bunch cilantro, chopped
– salt and pepper
Chop jicama and pineapple into ¼ inch cubes. Mix all ingredients and let sit for at least an hour in the refrigerator (perfect for while the meat cooks) so the flavors can develop.
About Dana: At 27, Dana Sicko is the CEO of two growing food businesses and she’s also a cookbook author. Her first business, the personal chef and boutique catering service Nutreatious, was founded in 2011. Dana’s other company Gundalow Juice, now available at Whole Foods, was founded in 2014 with its first official sale out of the back of her Fiat. Dana is a smiling, bubbly presence at almost every Baltimore start-up and health & wellness event. Many of Dana’s recipes are available in Perfectly Plated: The Nutreatious Cookbook, which was co-written by Dana and her team of chefs. Find Dana on Twitter and Instagram.