Caribbean-inspired Pork Tenderloin, Chayote Squash, Pineapple and Grilled Coconut

I could have also named this post: How are born the recipes

·       The deal: A pork tenderloin
·       The promise: I have imposed myself the challenge to never cooked twice the same recipe of this versatile cut of pork.
·       The challenge: I may have already cooked it a hundred times (I should hardly exaggerate) in a hundred different recipes (ditto).

Thus, for the “101th” recipe, I looked for some inspirations on the Web and I found a very exciting recipe made by a chef whom I like a lot, Olivier Bellin. He runs a Michelin two-star restaurant in the North of Brittany… another reason to like him, and he is recognized as a master in cooking the seafood provided by the ocean that faces his restaurant. But Brittany is also known for its pig farming, its pork specialties and its vegetable (cauliflowers, artichokes…) growing favored by the maritime climate. His recipe, on top of the pork tenderloin, features celeriac, pineapple, apple and pear. But what makes it outstanding is that his way of cooking the loin: poached in milk, before being rapidly seared in butter.

I loved it! Problem: I didn’t have all the ingredients. No apple. No celeriac. No pear… but I have something looking like a non-ripe pear… a chayote squash. This was the starting point of my revisited version of the chef Bellin’s recipe. The chayote, also named christophine in French, is very common in the French Caribbean. I remember having had it under various forms, gratin, grilled… during my windsurfing trips there. I also had pineapple, fresh coconut and dry shredded coconut to make coconut milk. This is how Bellin’s recipe took a Carribbean twist: Caribbean-inspired Pork Tenderloin, poached in coconut then seared in coconut oil, served with Chayote Squash, Pineapple and Grilled Coconut Segment, meat-coconut milk-pineapple juice-nuoc mam juice. This milk poaching technique contributes to make the meat remarkably moist and melting in mouth, on top loading it with the coconut aromas. No doubt that the original recipe will probably be my 102th pork loin recipe. Here is below number 101…

Levels of difficulty
60 minutes

45 minutes

2 servings


§  1 pork tenderloin, prepared and trimmed to eliminate the fat, the nerves, and the ends (keep those trims)
§  About 1/3 of a pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut in thick wedges. Recuperate the juice
§  1 chayote squash, peeled, seeded (in fact, there is only one big seed, like a stone, in the center), and cut in 4 quarters
§  The pulp of 1 fresh coconut, peeled  (otherwise use dry coconut flakes, and shredded coconut to make coconut milk), and recuperate the water
§  1 shot of rum
§  1 tsp. of nuoc mam (or 1 anchovy) (optional)
§  Quatre-épices or allspice
§  ¼ red onion, whole
§  ¼ red onion, sliced
§  1 (rather) big carrot, peeled and cut in segments
§  1 bay leaf
§  1 garlic clove
§  Coconut oil
§  Butter
§  1 tbsp. of high temperature resistant oil
§  Cilantro
§  With a part of the fresh coconut (or with the shredded coconut), make about 1 liter of coconut, and put it to boil, adding salt and 2 pinches of allspice
§  Put the carrot segment, the whole red onion, the bay leaf, the crushed garlic clove, 1 tbsp. of coconut oil and 2 pinches of allspice in a small saucepan, and start to heat on medium-low
§  Take the pork tenderloin that you would have taken out from the fridge and salted ½ hour in advance, and cut it in two parts (to fit the small saucepan and avoid using too much coconut milk), and place it above the carrots in the saucepan
§  Pour all the coconut milk on the loin so that to cover it and simmer for around 12 minutes for the thinner piece of loin and around 15 minutes for the thicker one
§  After those 12/15 minutes remove the loin from the pan and let it rest on a grid
§  While the loin is simmering, sear the loin trims in coconut oil on medium-high, add the rum, evaporate the alcohol, add the pineapple juice, the coconut water, a ladle of coco nut milk, the nuoc mam (or the anchovy), 2 pinches of allspice and let reduce till obtain a thick enough sauce. Salt at the end only if necessary (because of the nuoc mam and the reduction)
§  While the loin is simmering and the sauce reducing, cook the chayote in salted/spiced boiling water for around 10 minutes or till the chayote is cooked but still firm. Plunge them in iced water to fix their tender green color, cut them in big chunks with fancy shapes, and reserve them
§  Put coconut oil in a pan, on medium-low, and start searing the sliced red onion, then the pineapple wedges, stirring them up regularly so that they color on each side. Then, add the chayote chunks to heat them up, and reserve warm the whole
§  Take the pan used for the pineapple, add the HT oil et put on high. Then sear the loin pieces, turning them regularly and pressing on them to color them on each side. Let them rest 5 minutes
§  Make a dozen of chips in the fresh coconut and grill it for around 5 minutes in the oven
§  Cut the loin slantwise, to obtain 6 pieces of around the same size, and dispose them on the plates, with the pineapple wedges, the chayote chunks, the coconut chips, spread the sauce (previously strained) and spread some chopped cilantro and allspice