Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Apples

Apple season is in full swing, and while I don't have an apple orchard close by to go pick my very own apples I fully intend to take advantage of them while they're in season.  Most people tend to reserve apples for dishes of the sweet nature, I tend to like to combine the tastes of sweet and savory.  So when I saw this recipe in the October issue of Food Network Magazine it immediately jumped out and grabbed my attention. 
A pork tenderloin rubbed with salt, pepper and pumpkin pie spice.  This combination of spices lends a variety of fall flavors to this dish without being overpowering.  The pork is given a quick sear on the stovetop to form a light crust and seal in all of those natural juices before going into the oven along with apple halves and onions to complete the cooking process.  After the pork has finished cooking, it's removed from the pan along with the apples and the pan is then returned to the stovetop to make simple pan gravy.

The pan gravy is the combination of apple cider, apple cider vinegar and water.  All of these come together along with the flavors and brown bits from the bottom of the pan to form a rich and flavorful gravy that is sweet and slightly tangy. 
Pork chops and apples.  These two things were made for one another.  Every time I think of these two ingredients I think of the quote "Pork chops and applesauce" (in my best Humphrey Bogart impression).  This recipe is a clever take on the infamous duo.  Juicy pork tenderloin coated in warm pumpkin pie spice, then topped with a light drizzle of the apple cider pan gravy.  This meal is kept simple with a side of quinoa that's been cooked in a mixture of water, apple cider and onions.

This meal was simple to assemble yet impressive when plated.  It comes together in no time making it perfect for those busy week nights.  It screams fall from the warm pumpkin pie spice to pan gravy flavored with apple cider.  All these flavors compliment each other wonderfully making the perfect fall meal that is so comforting, but doesn't leave you weighed down. 

Pumpkin Spice Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Apples

1 (1-1 1/4 pound) pork tenderloin
1/4 Tsp pumpkin pie spice
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Baking apples
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Small sweet onion, finely chopped
1 Cup quinoa
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/4 Cup apple cider, pluse more for quinoa
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar


Preheat oven to 400.

Sprinkle the pork tenderloin with pumpkin pie spice, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pour the olive oil in a large, oven safe skillet, and place over medium-high heat.  Place the pork in the pan and cook each side for 2 minutes a piece, including the ends.  This should form a nice crust on the outside of the meat.

Meanwhile, cut the apples in half and remove the seeds and cores.  Cut 1/2 a tablespoon of butter into quarters and place a piece in the center of each apple.  Sprinkle half of the onion over the apples then top with a pinch of salt.  Place the apples in teh skillet, around the pork, cut side up and transfer the skillet to the oven.  Roast for about 25 minutes, until a meat thermometer registers 145.

In a large saucepan combine 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup apple cider, the remaining onion, a pinch of salt and quinoa.  Stir to combine.  Cover, bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat and cook according to package instructions, about 10-12 minutes.  Add the parsley and stir to combine.

Once the pork is cooked through, transfer to a cutting board along with the apples and allow to rest.  Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the apple cider vinegar, apple cider, and 1/4 cup water.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally allowing to cook for 2 minutes.  Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and stir to combine. 

To serve-slice the pork.  Spoon the quinoa on the center of the plate, top with 2-3 slices of pork, and spoon the sauce over the meat and quinoa.  Place the apple on the side of the plate.  Serve and enjoy.

Recipe source: Adapted from Food Network Magaine, October 2013     

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