Spicy jerk pork pairs well with coconut rice

Jerk pork with coconut rice and beans. Linda Gassenheimer/TNS

Hot Jamaican jerk spices coat tender pork tenderloin slices for this easy dinner. Coconut-flavored rice and beans complete the meal.

Jerking is an old Jamaican method for preserving and cooking meat. It is thought to have been invented by the Arawak indigenous peoples of South America and the Caribbean. Today, the men who prepare the meat are called “jerk men.” They use a long process involving marinating the meat and then slowly cooking it over a pimento (all spice) wood fire. For this quick meal, I use jerk seasoning from the spice section of the market to create the jerk flavors.

Rice and beans cooked in coconut milk is the perfect side dish to temper the spices of the jerk seasonings.

JERK PORK

3/4 pound pork tenderloin

1 tablespoon jerk seasoning

2 teaspoons canola oil

Remove visible fat from the tenderloin. Cut into 1-inch slices and pat down with a meat bat or bottom of a heavy skillet to 1/2-inch thick pieces. Rub jerk seasoning into the meat.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the pork and saute 2 minutes. Turn and saute 1 minute. Remove to two dinner plates. Serve with coconut rice and beans.

Yield 2 servings

COCONUT RICE AND BEANS

1/2 cup long-grain white rice

1 cup lite canned coconut milk

1/4 cup water

1 cup drained canned pinto beans

2 scallions, sliced (about 1/3 cup)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place rice, coconut milk and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer 10 minutes. Add the beans and continue to simmer 5 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. If there is still some liquid, remove the lid and boil rapidly for a minute or two until it is absorbed. Remove from heat, sprinkle scallions on top and add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 2 servings.

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