Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pork Tenderloin with Apple Chutney

There are a vast number of things that I had never attempted to make before, that I have attempted in the past few months.  For instance, I made my first ketchup for this blog (even though it was cranberry ketchup it still counts), and my first cheesecake not long before I started blogging.  This recipe is my very first attempt at chutney!  I had a few Granny Smith apples laying around the apartment that were just begging to be used, and Alex has placed a moratorium on baking (one I broke this past weekend to bake a chocolate Guinness cake and some banana bread), plus he has a crazy prejudice against all desserts containing apples.  Somehow he finds them to be too sweet, but doesn't seem to think that pecan pie is too sweet.  Strange.  Anyway, I started casting about for ideas and then stumbled upon a grilled cheddar cheese sandwich on sourdough bread with apple chutney.  Apple chutney, huh?  And then I thought about serving the apple chutney with a pork tenderloin brined in fresh apple cider, salt, water, and spices.  Since the chutney I made has star anise, allspice, cinnamon and ginger, that gave me some ideas to work with for the brine.  Did I mention that I have never brined a pork tenderloin before? 

The pork tenderloin was delicious.  Very savory, with just a hit of sweetness.  With the brine the flavor actually penetrated to the center of the meat, leaving it all juicy and full of wonderful flavor.  And the savoriness of the meat went wonderfully with the slightly sweet, but also savory chutney and the brussels sprouts.  It was such a wonderful hearty winter meal.

Recipes after the jump!

Apple Cider Brined Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

3 cups hot water
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 dried star anise
1 cinnamon stick
10 dried cloves
2 slices dried galangal (or 1/2-inch section fresh ginger, cut into thick slices)
1 tbsp evoo
6 oz. brussels sprouts, halved and trimmed
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
1/2 tbsp butter

Combine brine ingredients in a bowl.  Stir until salt melts.  Pour into a large ziplock bag.  Add trimmed pork tenderloins once brine has cooled.  Brine in refrigerator for 6-8 hours, flipping once.  Remove pork tenderloins from brine.  Rinse, pat tenderloin dry, and discard brine.  Season tenderloin with freshly cracked black pepper (no salt is necessary because of the brine).

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Heat a cast iron skillet (or other heavy, oven-proof saute pan) drizzled with 1 tbsp evoo over medium-high heat.  Add pork to skillet, brown pork on all sides, about 6 minutes.  Add brussels sprouts, garlic, lemon juice to skillet.  Sprinkle sprouts with salt and pepper.  Place skillet in the oven, and bake for 10-15 minutes or until an instant read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin reads 155 degrees.  Transfer meat to a cutting board.  Add butter, chopped walnuts, and stir brussels sprouts.  Turn off oven.  Return pan to oven.  Tent tenderloin with tin foil.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before slicing.  

Serve brussels sprouts and pork tenderloin immediately.

Apple Chutney Recipe

3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped in 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider (I used fresh Honeycrisp apple cider from the Greenmarket)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely minced
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 cinnamon stick (I used Vietnaese cinnamon, but 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon would work too)
3 star anise (optional)
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir well.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 50 minutes.  Uncover and simmer over low heat for a few minutes more to cook off excess liquid.  Apples should still retain some of their shape, but be very soft to the touch - we're not trying to make apple sauce here.  Allow mixture to cool to room temp.  

Cover and refrigerate in glass jars for up to 2 weeks.

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