I don't think I need to tell everyone that apples are what's in season pretty much everywhere right now. This is the time of year for apple picking, apple festivals, and an abundance of apple treats. When I thought about what I should make for Italian recipes that use apples, my mind of course immediately went to Apple Torte and Apple Pie and all manner of sweets. And don't worry, we'll get to those. But first, I wanted to make something a little less predictable - a dinner course that features apples.
Mixing meat and fruit is a tactic used often in traditional Italian cooking, and pork in particular makes a great venue for trying these recipes. Just take a look at the dish I wrote about last year featuring pork and a blueberry sauce.
This time, I pan seared the pork first to create a delicious crust, and then finished it off in the oven. Oh yeah, and then scalded my hand after I took it out of the oven because I forgot that it had just come out of the oven and grabbed the handle. Guys, I'm pretty sure I don't have fingerprints anymore. Learn from my idiocy, please.
Anyway, this recipe uses two sauces. One to go over the apples that is almost syrup like made from wine and honey (hmmm...I wonder if Mead could be used instead since it IS a honey wine? Someone try this and report back!) and one that is just a normal gravy. The combination of the sweet and salty is perfect, and balances itself out really well. Ryan and I may or may not have finished the entire pork loin ourselves...
Pork with Apples
Adapted from About.com: Italian Food
1 1lb pork tenderloin
1/2 tablespoon rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1 bouillon cube
2 tablespoons butter
1-2 tablespoons flour
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut any excess fat from the pork loin. Season with salt, pepper, and the rosemary.
- Coat a skillet (preferably one that can be used in the oven) with the olive oil and place over medium heat. When hot, place the pork in the oil and cook about 3 minutes on each side until a golden brown crust forms. Remove from the heat.
- Place the skillet in the oven (or, if your skillet isn't oven-safe, place the pork loin on a baking sheet - reserve the skillet though; you will need it for the gravy!) and bake for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, put the apples, wine, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium sized pot. Cook over medium high heat until the apples are tender. Remove the apples and place on a serving plate. Continue to cook the wine mixture for a couple more minutes to allow it to thicken slightly into a syrup. Spoon some of the syrup over the apples.
- Remove the pork from the oven. Let it rest 5 minutes on a cutting board and then slice.
- While the pork rests, put the bouillon cube, along with 1 cup water, into the skillet that you seared the pork in. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for several minutes. Add the butter and whisk to combine. Finally, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk into the gravy to bring to the desired thickness.
- Arrange the sliced pork over the apples. Top with some of the gravy.
Ryan's rating of Pork with Apples - 5.
1 - Awful. If you make this again I'll shove a fork in my eye.
2 - Meh. It's not my favorite, but I won't threaten self-harm if it shows up again.
3 - Good. I wouldn't feel forced to order a pizza behind your back.
4 - Great! I will fight you for the leftovers.
5 - Love it! Make it again tomorrow. Or immediately and I will bathe in it.