Thursday, October 29, 2009
Ian’s sweet and smoky Pork loin with baked apples & garlic mashed potatoes
Apples, apples, apples, so many apples. Christie and I have apples everywhere, and as much as I can eat apple crisp every day (really, I can, Christies apple crisp is just that good), I thought of trying out some of the apples within a main course, as opposed to a desert, just to try to mix things up.
As usual, i get to the point where I am beginning to think about recipes, and I just throw caution to the wind and fly by taste, making things up as I go along. The first image that came to my mind when I tried to conjure up images of apples in main courses was that of the cartoon image of a whole roasted pig on a giant platter with an apple stuffed in its mouth, uncovered as a master piece where the guests collectively gasp and applaud. Hmmm...first problem is getting a whole pig, and its a strange impulse buy no? Also the apple seems more symbolic that anything. Idea number 1 out of the window.
Idea 2. Pork chops with apple sauce. Okay, now this is totally doable, this is more like it, though all the walking around the neighbourhood that I have been doing lately, seeing all the brightly colour leaves on the ground, the fresh rain and the smell of fireplaces being lit for the first time was inspiring me to be a little more seasonal, a little more adventurous. Enter the Dutch oven.
I purchased a perfectly good Kitchenaid cast iron Dutch oven a few months ago at a local Canadian Tire store on sale from 100$, for 25$. Who can refuse that? My only regret is to not have picked up 2-3 more of them now. It is a quality addition to my kitchen. So, Dutch oven in hand, I had decided to add these elements of autumn to my dish. I wanted a nice, smooth smoky flavour to the pork, but I also wanted to make it nice and tender so that I could pull it apart with a fork and serve it piled up loosely. By cooking the apples along with the marinated pork within the Dutch Oven, I was able to preserve the flavours of each, and get plenty of apple juice to keep the pork nice and tender.
When I served this dish, I knew I had done well when all I could hear from the dining table was muffled mmmmm’s and pleased eating sounds. You can be sure this dish is going to be one that I will continue to make for years to come
Makes approx 4 servings (using 2 small 1lb pork tenderloins, fat cut off)
Preheat oven @ 325. Prepare the Pork marinate by combining all marinate ingredients into a bowl, mix well. Pour half of the marinate onto the Pork tenderloins and brush on until coated. Refrigerate and allow the pork to marinate for approx 6-8 hours in a closed container for optimal results, though not necessary. Place marinated pork in the Dutch oven, and pour in remaining marinate as desired.
Wash the apples thoroughly, remove stems and core for each apple. Cut apples into approx ½ inch wedges, and place in a mixing bowl. Once all apples are cut and ready, add the brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice as well as cinnamon and nutmeg, and toss by hand until thoroughly coated. Place apples on top of pork tenderloin in Dutch Oven and cover with lid. Place in oven for approx 2hrs, or the pork reaches the approx temp of 160degrees.
Wash, cut and peel the potatoes. Cut into 1/8 and place in a bowl of cold water for approx 10 minutes. Drain the water and gently boil the potatoes, draining once ready (when a fork can easily push through the center of a piece, they are ready). Add the butter to the pot so that the potatoes do not burn to the bottom, and add the potatoes & chopped garlic and salt. Slowly add skim (or your preferred milk, even sour crème), until desired consistency is achieved
Once pork is ready, spoon apples carefully into a serving dish, and remove pork from the dutch oven. Place the Dutch oven on a burner on medium high heat, and pour a few glugs of inexpensive whiskey ( I used a locally made whiskey) into the juices left from the pork and apples. Slowly add 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch to help thicken, all the while whisking in order to prevent lumping. Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat and strain to remove any lumps.
Pull pork apart with a fork (should be nice and tender from the closed Dutch oven cooking). Serve a spoonful of the apple mixture from a serving dish onto the shredded pork, and drizzle the apple whiskey gravy on top (including the garlic mashed potatoes). Enjoy
Pork Loin Marinate
• 1 cup of your favourite BBQ sauce
• 1 teaspoon of worchestershire sauce
• 1 teaspoon of Louisiana style hot sauce
• 5-6 drops of liquid hickory smoke
• ½ teaspoon of celery seed
• ½ teaspoon of cumin
• Salt & Pepper to taste
• 6 large sweet apples
• 1 cup of Brown Sugar
• Juice of 1 squeezed lemon
• 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
• 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Garlic Mashed potatoes
• 2.5 lbs Potatoes
• ¼ stick unsalted butter
• ½ cup low fat milk
• 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
• Salt to taste
Apple Whiskey gravy
• 3-4 glugs of inexpensive whiskey
• Pan juices (see above)