Cast Iron

Red Beet Char Siu Pork

September 18, 2016
2 Ratings
Photo by Rodrigo Iglesias
  • Prep time 24 hours
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4 (or 2 for dinner with leftovers)
Author Notes

I admit that I crafted this recipe to later make a breakfast omelette in the style of a little strip mall courtyard breakfast spot called Cinnamon's in Kailua, Hawaii. My husband and I refueled at this adorable spot after a morning hike up the Lanikai pillbox trail which ascends steeply in the hills overlooking the windward beaches of Oahu. We ordered a sweet dish, Guava Chiffon Pancakes, and a savory dish, called the Chinese Omelette, and split them between us. The omelette was packed with shockingly red Char Siu pork and a medley of bean sprouts, scallion, cabbage and carrots and absolutely hit the spot. I was puzzled about how to get the red color without artificial dyes, when I found a few red beets in my crisper drawer and went from there. I served this for dinner over roasted broccoli (cooked in the same oven and same sheet tray as the pork, in fact). To use the leftovers, I make a frittata by sauteeing bean sprouts, grated carrots, sliced scallions and hearty napa cabbage in an oven safe pan in a bit of light oil with a touch of soy sauce and sesame oil. When softened, pour over 6 eggs beaten with a splash of milk, salt and pepper and cook until the bottom just starts to set, then scatter in cubes of leftover pork and put under the broiler until set. Enjoy for dinner then breakfast! —Emily | Cinnamon&Citrus

What You'll Need
  • 3 roasted red beets
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated on a microplane
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel (I actually buy seeds and grind them fresh with a mortar and pestle)
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • squirts of Sriracha, to your taste
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil or other neutral oil, divided
  • 1 pork tenderloin, silver skin removed, about 1 lb
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced for garnish (optional)
  1. To roast the beets, remove the stems and greens (if present), peel with a vegetable peeler and cut into a 1/2 inch dice. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, a touch of salt and pepper, and roast in a 400F degree oven for 45 minutes.
  2. Puree the roasted beets in a blender or food processor. Add the soy sauce through Sriracha and 2 tablespoons of neutral oil and blend until smooth (this will not be liquid, more like a bright fuchsia paste.)
  3. Empty the paste into a large zip top bag. Pat the pork tenderloin dry, lightly coat with salt and pepper, and add to the bag, massaging the paste into the meat. Seal and refrigerate to marinate overnight (or at least 4 hours - and up to 24, the longer the better in my book.) Bring to room temperature before cooking.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400F and prepare a foil-lined baking sheet. Heat a large cast iron or other heavy bottomed sautee pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons of neutral oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork to the pan to brown, 2 minutes per side (8 minutes total). Remove the pork, place on the sheet tray and cook in the oven about 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 140F. Once out of the oven, let the meat rest for 10 minutes loosely tented with foil; the internal temperature should read 150F after the rest. Slice into rounds and enjoy!

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