Pork with fruit: perfect for fall

October 28, 2007|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Tribune Media Services

On a whim one day, we invited one of my husband's new colleagues for dinner the following evening. I decided to serve roasted pork tenderloins with prunes and apples.

The tender slices of pork topped with ebony-hued prunes and crimson apple slices in the sweet, yet tart, cider sauce made a distinctive fall main course. For sides you could garnish the pork with pairings of haricots verts and buttered carrots, or roasted butternut squash and wild rice. Add a green salad as I did and serve a good purchased sorbet.

Betty Rosbottom writes for Tribune Media Services.

FALL PORK TENDERLOINS WITH PRUNES AND APPLES

Serves 4 to 5

2 cups apple cider

20 (about 1 cup) pitted prunes

1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed (see Note)

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more if needed

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

2 pork tenderloins, 1 pound each, trimmed of excess fat

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 small Gala apples, cored and stemmed, but not peeled

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use

2/3 cup dry white wine

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

fresh thyme sprigs for garnish

Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the cider in a medium saucepan set over medium high heat just until hot. Remove from heat and add the prunes. Set aside for about 10 minutes while you prepare the pork.

In a small bowl, mix together the fennel seeds, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Rub evenly all over the pork. Heat oil in a large, flameproof roasting pan until hot, then brown tenderloins on all sides, turning often, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. With a slotted spoon, transfer prunes from the warm cider to pan with the tenderloins. Reserve the cider for the sauce.

Roast pork until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each tenderloin registers 150 degrees, about 20 minutes.

While meat is roasting, slice apples into 1/2 -inch thick wedges. Place 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. When hot, add apple slices and cook, turning several times, until just browned but still firm, 4 to 5 minutes. (Don't overcook or apples will become mushy.) Remove to a plate and set aside.

When pork is done, remove to a platter along with the prunes; cover loosely with foil. Place roasting pan over high heat; add reserved cider and wine to it. Stir constantly with a whisk, scraping the brown bits on the bottom of the pan into the liquid, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the mustard and remaining butter. Continue to cook until sauce has reduced and is just slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt if needed. Add prunes and apples to the sauce to heat slightly. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cut pork on the diagonal into 1/2 -inch-thick slices. Arrange several slices on each of 4 to 5 dinner plates and spoon sauce and fruit over them. Garnish each serving with some thyme sprigs if desired.

Note: Crush fennel seeds in an electric spice grinder, or place in a mortar and crush finely with a pestle, or put in a plastic bag and pound with a meat pounder or rolling pin. The seeds should be finely crushed.

Per serving: 521 calories, 37 grams protein, 24 grams fat, 9 grams saturated fat, 41 grams carbohydrate, 4grams fiber, 125 milligrams cholesterol, 190 milligrams sodium

Recipe analysis provided by registered dietitian Jodie Shield.

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