Friday, October 30, 2015

Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Apples and Pecans

Are we now at the end of October? I know I'm always complaining about it but time really must start listening to me and slow down. It's going too fast! I just finished discussing and planning Christmas gifts with one of my younger sisters. Christmas gifts!!?! We had our first snowfall a week ago. What is happening here?

This is how Emma does breakfast.
Yesterday morning, Emma was having a lazy start and lounging on the couch watching a little PBS. I went over to cuddle with her for a bit. I asked her about how she was feeling and what she wanted to do that day and she answered sweetly but then casually mentioned: "And Mommy...there is a wolf outside."

I tickled her and said, "A wolf? Silly girl! There's no wolf outside."
She brushed the hair out of her face and, without taking her eyes off the television, replied: "There is, there is! A wolf outside."
"Where's the wolf, Emma?" I asked, thinking she was still playing around.
"Right there is the wolf," she said casually, pointing at the large sliding glass door leading to the deck.

I turned, humoring her, and was immediately taken aback to see a very large Siberian Husky wagging its tail and staring back at us through the window. When the dog made eye contact with me, it stood up on its hind legs and began clawing at the door and howling.

I should never distrust Emma. By golly, there was a wolf outside. The owner of the wolf was found within the hour. I just love how completely chill she was about letting me know about the dog.

Proud big brother with one fat and happy baby!

Intensely happy to be drawing with chalk while eating Junior Mints in her pink skirt!

On the recipe front, we're still drowning in apples and squash. If your pantry looks anything like ours, you'll love this recipe for Pork Chops with Cinnamon Apples. It is a simple and quick recipe that utilizes lots of those sweet local apples to make a sauce that you will be eating by the spoonful. Actually, the topping is so sweet, it could almost be a pie filling. Sweet sauces and toppings go so well with pork because of the natural sweetness already present in the meat. Feel free to play with the amount of sugar. I found it a bit much, but the sugar addicts in the household (basically everyone else) begged me to leave it alone. We serve the pork thinly sliced over a bed of arugula tossed in a tiny bit of olive oil, salt, and flavored vinegar and then scatter the apple mixture over the top. This recipe also works great with pears or even peaches when peaches are in season...which is definitely not now. You can also just sear individual pork chops or a larger pork loin instead of the tenderloin. This is a highly adaptable recipe!

Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Apples and Pecans
Originally from a magazine I read at a Doctor's Office - but don't remember which one!

Note: We almost always double the sauce because there never seems to be enough of it!

For the Pork:
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 to 1 1/4 pounds)
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

For the Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 medium tart apples, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the pork and sear on all sides until golden brown. Transfer the pork to a 13x9 pan lined with foil and immdiately place into the oven. Let the pork cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest portion registers 145 degrees - this varies widely in time depending on how the tenderloin is cut, but 10-15 minutes is a good ballpark time range.

Meanwhile, return the cast iron pan with the pork drippings to the stovetop over medium heat. Add the butter and swirl the pan until it is completely melted. Add in the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and cook and stir until the apples are tender. Be careful not to burn! Add in the pecans towards the end and continue to toss to coat. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm until the pork is ready.

Let the pork rest for about 5-10 minutes before slicing to seal in the juices and allow the internal temperature to continue rising. Do not be alarmed if the sliced pork has a pink hue - it's supposed to! If it doesn't, you've overcooked it and it will be tough. Serve thin slices of the pork with plenty of apples over the top.

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