New Years Eve plate: Roasted pork tenderloin with apples three ways
Jan. 3, 2013 9:47 am
Updated: Jan. 4, 2013 3:22 pm
Each year my wife and I get together with a group of friends and cook for each other on New Years Eve. A great way to spend time together and ring in the new year. I mean, what better way than eating your way to midnight, right? We usually start around
6pm and somehow seem to make it to after 11 and still eating. This year we were wolfing down a last bit of salad right up to 11:45, with just about enough time left to pour some prosecco. Small plates and "slow food" is the key, good wine doesn't hurt either!
My contribution for this year's feast was an "Apples 3 Ways" dish leading in with a roasted pork tenderloin over caramelized onions and apples plated along with a green apple slice shallot vinaigrette and sweet pea couscous with diced apple. Our local farm
box is highlighting Granny Smith Apples right now so I figured, hey why not base a dish on apples. The grower leaves the Granny's on the tree longer to ripen more fully since they are going straight into a farm box rather than a distribution center.
I start with two pork tenderloins that I've trimmed the tough silverskin membrane from and excess fat (if any). I cut each tenderloin in two (now have 4 pieces) and let them soak for a few hours in an apple brine. For the brine, I take a 10oz bottle of Martinelli's
Apple Juice, add another cup of water with 1/3 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 10 or so black peppercorns, 1/4 teaspoon of mustard seeds and a large bay leaf. Mix everything well and pour into a 1 gallon Ziplock bag with the 4 pieces of pork. Squeeze
most of the air out and squeeze the liquid and pork a few times to distribute. Let that sit in the fridge for a few hours then remove the bag to a bowl on the counter about an hour before cooking. Give the bag another squeeze or two.
The other ingredients:
Two large white onions
3 (Granny Smith) apples peeled and cored, cut into 8-12 slices each
Good olive oil
Chicken Stock (unsalted or low-salt)
Cognac or good brandy
Remove the pork tenderloins from the brine, rinse in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Season all over with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Chop the white onions in half and then into rings. In a large saucepan, large enough to hold all four tenderloin pieces when ready, add a few TBSPs of the oil, about 4 and 2 TBSPs butter bring to medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent then
turn the heat down. Sprinkle a TSP of sugar on top and cook until the onions start caramelizing to a deep golden color. No need to caramelize all the way since they will finish in the oven later. About 40 minutes should do it. Remove the onions to a bowl leaving
as much of the oil as you can in the pan. Turn your oven on to 275. Add the apples to the pan and cook until they start to brown and become soft. Remove the apples.
Turn up the heat and place the 4 pieces of pork in the pan and sear on all sides including the ends. Just brown the pork and try not to cook it. Remove the pork from the pan making sure that it has been well coated with the oil/butter sauce. Now add the onions
back to the pan, place the apple slices on top of the onions and then the pork tenderloins on top of the apples. Place into the oven at 275 and let that slow cook until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 150 degrees, no more than 155. Note that the
meat will be pinkish which is fine, really. It will also be very, very tender.
Take the pan out of the oven back to the stovetop. Remove the pork to a dish and cover with aluminum foil. Turn the heat up to medium high, add another pat of butter and a good shot of cognac, enough to come to the top of the onions and reduce to almost a syrup.
You can also use brandy instead of cognac especially if you have one with a caramel-like taste, which would work really well. Now add chicken stock to the pan to cover the onions and reduce the liquid to a sauce like consistency.
Slice the tenderloins and plate as follows: a layer of caramelized onions, a few slices of pork, top with slices of the apples. For my NYE dish, I paired this with thin slices of green apples mixed with a shallot balsamic vinaigrette and also a sweet pea couscous
with small dice of apples. Lots of apples. The wine pairing was a 2010 El Nido Clio from Jumilla, Spain.