Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spiced Pork Loin with Sauteed Apples

So I thought that this Paleo thing would be harder than it is.  The only times I even get tempted to eat bad stuff is when I either don't have food prepared for me to eat (having healthy snacks on hand makes life soooo much easier) or when I have a big old basket of yummy bread in front of me (easy enough to avoid).

This month's Cooking Light had a ton of yummy sounding recipes, but this one really stuck out as one I wanted to try, and it fit the Paleo criteria (which really isn't that stringent).  It's Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Sauteed Apples.  I got all geared up to make it and threw all the ingredients in my cart when, unfortunately, Whole Foods didn't have any pork tenderloin.... I just decided that I HAD to have the meal, so I got pork loin instead... close enough, right? 

Of course, I made a few changes to the recipe, but overall, it's pretty similar.  Here's my take!

Spiced & Roasted Pork Loin
with Sauteed Apples

* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1 pound pork loin
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 2 cups thinly sliced Gala apples
* 1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup apple cider

First, in a small bowl, I mixed the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, and pepper.  Then, I rubbed it on all sides of the pork loin.  The original recipe called for the pork tenderloin to be sliced and cooked in a pan. Since I was using a thicker cut of meat, I wanted to roast the pork, so I preheated the oven to 400. 

Next, I heated an oven proof pan up to high heat.  I added in a little bit of oil and plopped the seasoned pork loin on and listened to the sizzle.  When you roast a piece of meat, you want to brown it on all sides.  This sears it and locks in the flavor, so all the juices don't go running out of the cut.  You want them to stay inside and keep the meat tender and flavorful!  This process made my entire kitchen fill with smoke.  I had to disable the fire alarm just to make sure that it didn't go off!  It burned the pan a little, but oh well :)

After the pork was browned on all sides, I wanted to put the loin in the oven to cook.  When you roast something, you want to elevate it so that it's not sitting on the pan.  You want the air to be able to circulate all around the meat.  I didn't have any onions or mini roasting racks, so I found some carrots in the fridge and stuck the pork loin on top of them to roast.  See how crafty and clever I am?!

  While the pork was roasting, I got the rest of the ingredients ready to go.  I sliced up the apples.  The recipe said you should leave the peel on, but I don't particularly like the peel when the apple is soft and the peel isn't.  So leave it on or peel it off, whatever you prefer!  I also chopped up a shallot pretty finely.

I roasted the pork loin for about 30 minutes.  It was so small that it didn't really take long to cook.  I just cooked it until the thermometer inserted into the middle reached 135.  Then I pulled it out and placed the meat on a separate plate and covered it with aluminum foil to rest and let the juices redistribute. 

In the pan I roasted the pork in, I added the butter and let it melt.  I also added a little bit of white wine vinegar just to deglaze the pan and get all of those yummy flavors into the sauce.

Once the butter was melted, I added in the minced shallots and let them soften up a bit.  Then I added in the apples.  I wasn't really sure what to expect because I cook apples all the time, but I usually add in sugar.  I didn't really know how "savory" apples would taste.

I cooked the apples until they were softened, but not to the point that they were mushy.  Then I added in some of the cider.  I found organic apple cider which only contained apples.  There was no sugar or spices or any other junk in there, so it tasted really good!  I cooked the mixture until it had reduced a tiny little bit, then plated everything!

Please notice the use of my pretty fall plate for the season!  :)  So, here we have the pork loin with sauteed apples.  I served it with an artichoke that my mom sent over (more on artichokes to come!.  I also baked a sweet potato to split with the hubby.

Here's my delicious Paleo Dinner... who says that diets have to be painful?  Seriously, this dinner was delicious!  I ate until I was full and didn't have that gross... "Ugh, I ate too much" feeling you get when you eat a ton of crappy food! 

The pork was nice and tender and the spicy crust was really good too.  The sauteed apples and the sauce went REALLY well with the whole meal and it was great to dip the pieces of the pork in the sauce from the apples.  The artichoke was yummy and the sweet potato was great to have too.  It was the perfect fall dinner and it made the whole house smell like warm fall spices!

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