If you need a “fancy” dinner for a special occasion, or just something for a Saturday night with the significant other, look no further! Sous vide curried pork with spaghetti squash and vegetables is sure to impress. If all of this seems foreign, that’s ok too. I’ll explain it as we go – the post will have some affiliate links to the products I use as well as some truly in-depth information about sous vide cooking
How did I come up with this dish?
I normally do all of the grocery shopping–I actually like it, as long as the store isn’t crowded–but the wife was with me on Saturday during a quick trip, and I asked what she wanted for dinner. She will usually give me a genre (“Mexican!” or “Italian!” etc.) or an ingredient, and she said, “something with spaghetti squash.” We were passing the meat section, and pork tenderloins were on sale, so I grabbed a package. She knew it would be going in the sous vide, because she loves how juicy, tender, and flavorful it becomes. I added some curry paste to the cart about 2 minutes before. so I decided on the sous vide pork curry with spaghetti squash.
What’s the sous vide thing?
Sous vide, pronounced SOO-VEED, is French for “under vacuum.” In our world, it generally refers to cooking something sealed in a temperature-controlled water. This is NOT boiling or poaching, or any other method of cooking, as the food is protected from the water. The temperature is accurately regulated and provides an even level of cooking throughout the protein, as the temperature of the water is the final temperature of the meat. Basically, you can’t overcook it. This method also retains juice and flavors lost during nomal cooking processes. It also allows things like chicken to be cooked at a much lower temperature, but over a longer time, providing pasteurization and safe consumption.
The water is heated and circulated using a tool called an immersion circulator. It has a heating element and a small impeller. I have a plastic tub with a lid and an opening in one end to hold the water, but you can also use a large stock pot. I also use a small vacuum sealer and foodsaver bags, but you can also use large zip-top bags and an immersion method to remove air from the bags.
I use 140F degrees for all pork I cook sous vide. The tenderloins in this recipe are perfectly and safely pink from “coast to coast.”
Preparing the Pork
Pork tenderloin is typically sold with two in a package. You want to remove them and rinse, pat them dry, then remove the silver skin by carefully slicing it just beneath the surface. The seasoning rub is made up of warm, earthy spices traditionally used in Middle East cooking. Liberally dust all sides of the pork, then carefully insert it into the foodsaver bags, one per bag to avoid crowding. Be sure to wipe off the top of the bags inside and out to prevent something from interfering with the seal, then seal according to the instructions of your vacuum.
Sealing food like this is also a great way to force flavor into the meat. I often use fresh rosemary twigs or other fresh herbs, but the rub suffices for this recipe.
Once the “bath water” comes to the correct temperature, drop in the bagged pork and relax for a bit! It is impossible to overcook meat using this method, because the temperature of the meat cannot exceed the temperature of the water, unlike if you cook on a grill or in an oven. I use a time of two hours for pieces of meat this size to allow for the meat to get to temperature and spent sufficient time at that temp to cook it.
Having the curried pork in the sous vide also gives you time to prepare other ingredients without having to rush or keep checking on the meat. This is a good time to get the spaghetti squash in the oven and prep the rest of your veggies if you haven’t already done so.
You’ll defenitely want to let the squash cool before attempting to scoop it out with a fork to get the noodle look. I usually wait about 20-30 minutes and still sometimes use tongs to help hold them. The squash will be heated back through while cooking the rest of the veggies.
I like using a little curry paste to jump start this dish. I saute it in a little coconut oil before the oil gets too hot…the paste will pop! Then start with the firmer veggies first since they will take the longest to cook. This doesn’t take a lot of time, so you’ll be able to get your cast iron skillet heating and pull your pork out of the sous vide while it simmers.
Why reverse sear?
When you take the pork out of the sous vide and vacuum bags, the meat will look a little funny. It’s perfectly eatable at this point, but the reverse sear adds come color and texture. This is where you shouldn’t leave the meat and only sear it for about 30 seconds per side. You wouldn’t want to overcook the beautiful curried pork at this point!
Sous Vide Curried Pork and Spaghetti Squash
- Sous vide container
- Foodsaver bags (I used four 8"x11" bags)
Spaghetti Squash (for roasting)
- 1 med Spaghetti squash
- 1 tsp Olive oil extra virgin
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1 pinch Black pepper ground
Pork/Rub (for sous vide)
- 1 Pork tenderloin natural, boneless, unseasoned – package contains 2 pieces
- 2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Curry powder
- ½ tsp Mustard ground
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- ½ tsp Allspice
- ½ tsp Garlic powder
- ½ tsp Cardamom
- ½ tsp Coriander
- ¼ tsp Black pepper ground
Vegetables (for curry sautee)
- ¼ cup Red onion sliced into thin strips
- 1 tsp Ginger, fresh minced
- ½ cup Carrots peeled and chopped
- ½ cup Sugar snap peas cleaned and chopped
- 1 tbsp Coconut oil
- 2 tsp Green curry paste
- 1 cup Coconut milk light
- Cilantro to garnish chopped
- Preheat an oven to 400°
Pork and rub, sous vide prep
- Prepare your sous vide cooking equipment and heat the water to 140°. While the water is heating, prepare the rub and pork.
- Remove the two tenderloins from the package; rinse and pat dry. Trim any extra fat or silver skin from the pork. Cut each tenderloin in half so that you have four pieces.
- In a bowl, combine all of the spices for the rub, mix well. Reserve 1 TBSP for later.
- Liberally coat all sides of the pork with the rub. Carefully place each piece of pork in its own Foodsaver bag and wipe off the inside and outside of the tops of the bags afterward. Vacuum seal the bags and place them into the 140° bath for ~2 hours.
- Carefully cut off both ends of the spaghetti squash so that you have a flat surface on either side. Stand the squash on end and cut it in half lengthwise. I also cut a small sliver off of the back of each piece so the squash can sit flesh side up without rolling over. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon.
- Place the squash in a glass baking dish, flesh up, and drizzle with oil. Use a brush or your fingers to coat the exposed area of the squash and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Remove and let cool for 20-30 minutes, or until you can hold the sides of the squash with your fingers. Using a fork, scrape the stringy flesh of the squash until it is all removed from each half and resembles a pile of noodles. Set aside.
- If you haven't prepped the veggies for the next step, go ahead an do so; otherwise, when you have about 10 minutes left of your pork cooking time, heat a deep skillet or pot over medium high heat.
- Add the coconut oil, and once it melts and covers the bottom, add the curry paste and stir. Add the ginger, onion, and carrots, 1 tsp salt, and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, then mix in the snap peas. Reduce the heat to med-low and pour in the coconut milk. Add the spaghetti squash and the reserved spice rub, gently mix, and simmer for ~10 minutes.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until it is HOT. While heating, remove the pork from its bath, remove from the bags, and pat dry with a paper towel. Without overcrowding the skillet, sear the pork (careful, it will sizzle!) for abour 30 seconds per side, turning with tongs. Add a tiny bit of oil if necessary. Move the pork to a cutting board once seared.
- Time to plate! Put the curried squash mixture onto a dish. Slice the pork against the grain in ¼-½" pieces and arrange across the top of the squash. If desired, garnish with a little chopped cilantro.