Jerk pork pairs with sweet rice

Linda Gassenheimer
Tribune News Service (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.

Helpful hints:

Boneless pork chops can be used instead of pork tenderloin. Cook them about 5 to 8 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches  145 degrees.

Any type of canned beans, such as red kidney beans or black beans, can be used.


— Start rice.

— Prepare pork ingredients.

— Finish rice.

— Saute pork.

Shopping List:

To buy: 3/4 pound pork tenderloin, 1 bottle jerk seasoning, 1 small package white rice, 1 can lite coconut milk, 1 can pinto beans and 1 bunch scallions

Staples: canola oil, salt and black peppercorns.

Coconut rice and beans cool the heat from spicy jerk pork.

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. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 226 calories (33% from fat), 8.2 g fat (1.5 g saturated, 4.2 g monounsaturated), 108 mg cholesterol, 35.6 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, no fiber, 230 mg sodium.

Coconut Rice and Beans

  • 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 cup light/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.

Per serving: 348 calories (20% from fat), 7.8 g fat (6.3 g saturated, 0.2 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 10.6 g protein, 59.3 g carbohydrates, 6.5 g fiber, 132 mg sodium.

— Recipes by Linda Gassenheimer, the author of more than 30 cookbooks. Email her at