Pork and apples make a fine autumnal pairing — unless that meat is off-limits for you. But before you take a pass on this week's dish, know that it comes with a non-porky swap.
Here, a minimal amount of prep and one-skillet ease join forces to create a savory and hearty meal. A mummy wrap of bacon keeps this tenderloin moist in a high-heat oven, and the rendered fat and pan juices help flavor the cabbage and apple wedges underneath. The meat's tender enough to slice right in the pan, as long as there's a bit of vegetable or fruit cushion underneath.
If pork is not for you, turkey breast fillets and turkey bacon are worthy substitutes that achieve just about the same finished dish. The fillets can be laid in such a way as to even mimic the look of a tenderloin. Try it one way or the other, and you will understand why the pairing has become a classic.
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You can make this with turkey breast fillets and turkey bacon instead of pork; see the VARIATION, below.
Adapted from "Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes," by Alison Roman (Clarkson Potter, 2017).
4 cloves garlic
½ medium head red cabbage
2 medium Gala or Honeycrisp apples
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons caraway seed
Freshly ground black pepper
One 1¼ - to 1½ -pound pork tenderloin (may substitute turkey breast fillets; see the VARIATION, below)
5 strips bacon, preferably thin or center-cut (may substitute turkey bacon; see the VARIATION, below)
1½ tablespoons champagne vinegar or red wine vinegar
Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat to 450 degrees.
Smash the garlic cloves and discard the skins. Cut the ½ head of cabbage into 8 equal wedges. Core the apples, if desired, then cut each one into quarters. Toss the garlic, cabbage wedges and apples all into a large cast-iron skillet, then drizzle with the oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle the caraway seed over them, then season generously with salt and pepper.
Season the pork lightly with salt and pepper, then wrap the strips of bacon around it to cover as much meat as possible, tucking or wrapping the bacon ends underneath. Place it atop the ingredients in the skillet. Roast (upper rack) for about 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meat registers 145 to 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Transfer the meat to a cutting board to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Sprinkle the vinegar over the cabbage and apples (still in the skillet) and toss to coat, mashing and distributing the roasted garlic cloves.
Serve the meat warm, with the garlic, cabbage and apples.
VARIATION: Buy 1¼ pounds (3 pieces) of skinless turkey breast fillets. Lay them in an overlapping line so the thicker part of each fillet just sits atop the thinner part of the next fillet. Wrap in 4 strips of turkey bacon (you won't need 5, as directed above), tucking the ends under the fillets. Carefully transfer to the pan and roast (upper rack) for 25 minutes (170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), or a bit longer if you want the turkey bacon to crisp up further.
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