Monday, October 26, 2009

Pork Loin with Apples

Fall again, which seems to translate to pork and apples for me more often than not. Definitely apples anyway, and pork and apples are a classic combo. Someone requested a nummy pork dinner after a perfect fall day of pumpkin patching and carving and I happily obliged - though not until 10pm or so. I tried to soothe the masses with a tasty apple drink in the meantime:
Apple Jack o'Lantern
1 1/2 shots of brandy (I used some VSOP I had)
a few dashes of Angostura bitters
apple cider
- can be served warm or cold. I'd love to add a little something else next time - - fizz perhaps? I put fizz in all my cocktails.

Roast Pork Loin with Apples
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (2-pound) boneless center cut pork loin, trimmed and tied (I totally forgot this step, whoops)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, thickly sliced
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 stalks celery, thickly, sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
(I used a few dashes of dried and it turned out fine)
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter - I used I can't believe it's not butter
2 apples, cored and cut into 8 slices - I used Braeburns
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large ovenproof skillet heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Season the pork loin all over generously with salt and pepper. Sear the meat until golden brown on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a plate and set it aside.

Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, herb sprigs, and 2 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet. Stir until the vegetables are browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sliced apples, then push the mixture to the sides and set the pork loin in the middle of the skillet along with any collected juices on the plate. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the loin until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 140 to 150 degrees F, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Pork cooked this way will be slightly pink. If desired, cook the pork to 160 degrees F, but be aware that this lean cut will not be as moist at the higher temperature.

Transfer the pork a cutting board and cover it loosely with foil while you make the sauce (I let my pork sit for about 20 minutes as I cooked the sides; I just covered the whole pan with foil and left it sitting on top of the oven to stay warm). Arrange the apples and vegetables on a serving platter and set aside. Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Return the skillet to a high heat and add the vinegar scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen up any browned bits. Reduce by half then add the cider and reduce by about half again. Pull the skillet from the heat and whisk in the mustard, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cold butter. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.

Remove the strings (if you remembered to trim and tie your pork, which I did not) from the roast and slice into 1/2-inch thick pieces and arrange over the apple mixture. Drizzle some sauce over meat and serve the rest on the side.

I served this with twice baked sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. For the sprouts, I skipped the cheese and tossed in some dried cherries before serving.

1 comment:

Rogue Designs said...

You know I have Halloween on the brain when I keep wanting to rename this dish: "Baby - the OTHER other white meat" and serve it again on Saturday.