I’m not big on pork but it’s really hard to not like bacon. For an affordable luxury dinner the pork tenderloin is my favorite.
Any lean meat could easily dry out if not prepared correctly. Whether it is pork tenderloin or beef (quite a bit more expensive…maybe after my Christmas bonus), the first step in enduring it stays tender is to season with salt and pepper and sear the meat on all sides using a tablespoon of so of olive oil. This creates some wonderful brown coating on the bottom as the juices evaporate. Keep your heat high enough to sear the meat but don’t let the browning juices reduce to black.
As soon as the evaporated juices are the color of cola splash in about a half a cup of a sweet wine. I used red zinfandel then the juice of a whole orange. If you like garlic, sprinkle on a bit of powdered garlic at this time. The liquid melts off the brownness stuck to the pan and makes a beautifully colored sauce. Next add some thinly sliced apples. The market had my favorite on sale; the Honey Crisp. They were big so I peeled, cored and sliced two of them very thinly and tossed them in the big stainless pan right along side the tenderloin. Put a lid on everything and let it all steam together for about 15 minutes on medium heat.
When the apples are tender and floppy, remove the meat to a plate (to be sure, check with an instant read thermometer for a temperature of 135°-140°F for a medium to medium well doneness) and let it rest. The cardinal rule of cooking expensive meat (and what meat isn’t expensive these days?) is to let it rest at least 10 minutes for smaller cuts. For a cut as thick as this 15 to 20 minutes would be appropriate. Slicing it too soon will make all the juices spill out. After resting, the juices appear to soak back in and make each slice as tender as can be.
Now that the meat has had its beauty rest, it slices like butter. Serve up each plate with a bunch of apple slices and a few medallions of tenderloin. Don’t forget to spoon on some of that unctuous sauce from the pan!
If I had my Christmas wish this would be a beef tenderloin, I would roast in in my biggest pan in the oven, deglaze it with a dry red wine and toss in slices of zucchini, mushrooms and onions to flavor the sauce. In the meantime, this poor man’s version turned out to be a delectable feast for a Tuesday night.