How many ways can one pig make me happy? If I'm not chewing my through through its belly with my morning bacon then I'm eating one of its legs in a fresh ham roast. I can't even begin to describe how much I appreciate this tasty animal giving up its shoulder so I can have some of this staggeringly good pernil, and don't even get me started about throwing its feet into my pea soup. I've had ears, tails, ribs, various parts ground into sausage. Don't even get me started on the culinary miracle that is pancetta. I wonder if they have any clue as to how unfortunate for them that they are so desired by us? Poor bastards.
And then you have the tenderloin, one of the best cuts of inexpensive meat you can play with in your kitchen. Tender, succulent, moist and the type of vehicle that will take so many different ingredients for a ride and come out the better for it. The other night I pulled out an old Bon Appetit recipe I had made a long time when I saw some shrink wrapped tenderloins on sale at my local market for just $4.99 a pound (Trader Joe's is another great source, and these days almost every grocery store should carry them). Pork tenderloin is really pretty insanely cheap considering how good it is and how many different things you can do with it. My favorite is a simple roast, and this delicious version totally over-delivers for the effort expended. Pork, apples, onions...a classic combination enhanced with dijon mustard and fennel seeds. Simple yes, but surprisingly rich. The apples and onions gathering intenstiy and sweetness as th sauté and roast, soaking up the wonderful pork juices. One of those dishes that will have your friends thinking you worked way harder than you did! I used one 14 ounce tenderloin for the two of us, alongside some thyme roasted fingerlings, and we had plenty of leftovers.
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Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Apples and Onions
1 large pork tenderloin (about 14 ounces) 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 large onion, sliced
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup dry white wine or apple cider
1-Preheat oven to 450°F. Season pork with salt and pepper.
sautéeing the apples and onions
2-Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and sear until all sides are brown, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes. Transfer pork to plate. Cool slightly. Spread mustard over top and sides of pork; press fennel seeds into mustard. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add onion slices and apples; sauté over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Spread evenly in skillet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place pork atop apple-onion mixture.
a piece of my delicious cloven hoofed friend on its way into the oven
3-Transfer skillet to oven and roast until apple-onion mixture is soft and brown and meat thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 150°F, about 15 minutes. Transfer pork to platter and tent with foil. Let stand 5 minutes.
4-Meanwhile, pour white wine over apple-onion mixture in skillet. Stir mixture over high heat until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Cut pork on diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Spoon apple-onion mixture onto plates. Top with pork and serve.