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Oaxacan-Style Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Mole Verde

Serves: Makes 4 servings


  • Pork marinade:
  • 3 whole guajillo or pasilla chiles
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1½ pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed as needed

  • Green mole:
  • ½ pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and halved
  • ½ large white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup raw green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon toasted and freshly ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup fresh epazote (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Warm tortillas, for serving


Tomatillos are a staple in Mexican cuisine, often used in green salsas and sauces like mole. The tomatillo fruit is surrounded by an inedible, paper-like husk that must be removed. The fruit is often slightly sticky and should be rinsed to remove any dirt or particles before using.

To prepare the marinade: In a heavy skillet over medium heat, toast chiles, turning frequently, until darkened and soft, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a cutting board, remove stems and seeds. Place chiles in a small saucepan with water and vinegar and place over medium heat to hydrate for 10 minutes. Transfer softened chiles and liquid to a blender. Add remaining marinade ingredients, except pork, and blend smooth. Once cooled, place the pork in a dish and pour marinade over, refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours, turning a couple of times throughout. Let tenderloin sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting.

Preheat oven to 425°F, with racks placed in the center and upper portion of the oven.

To prepare the mole: In a medium bowl, combine tomatillos, onion and one tablespoon oil; toss to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet and lightly season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until tomatillos and onions are browned and crispy on the edges.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add remaining tablespoon of oil. Toast pumpkin seeds in the hot oil, stirring constantly, until they have expanded and begin to pop, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and jalapeno to the pan and sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add cumin and oregano, roasted tomatillos and onion, sugar, ½ teaspoon of salt, chicken broth and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.

Remove saucepan from heat, add cilantro, parsley and epazote if using, and puree with an immersion blender, or transfer to a blender. (If using a blender, start on the lowest setting and remember to vent the lid to release the steam.) Once pureed smooth, reheat sauce over medium-low heat. Adjust consistency with additional broth as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lime juice.

To roast tenderloin: Line a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack over. Drizzle oil over the meat and spoon marinade over to evenly coat. Set tenderloin on the prepared roasting rack and transfer to the oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat registers 145°F. Transfer to a cutting board and rest for 10 minutes, tented loosely with foil.

To serve: Slice tenderloin at an angle into thin pieces. Spoon mole into the center of a large serving platter and arrange tenderloin over the top, garnish with cilantro and serve with warm tortillas. Note: pork pictured with grilled zucchini.

Recipe developed for Sur La Table’s Cooking Classes

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