The pork marinates in a tangy rub, gets a fast sear for extra flavor and then roasts in the oven with apples, mushrooms and onion. Serve with roasted sweet potatoes.
Servings: 4 - 6
- For the rub
- 2 tablespoons green peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons Creole-style mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
- For the pork
- 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
- Sea salt or kosher salt
- 2 strips thick-cut-apple-smoked bacon, cut into matchstick-size pieces
- 1 medium sweet onion, sliced thick
- 2 medium apples, cored and cut into 8 wedges
- 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thick
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup applejack butter
For the rub: Use a mortar and pestle to crush the peppercorns, then mix them with the mustard, garlic and rosemary to make a thick paste.
For the pork: Using a thin-bladed knife, trim the silvery sinew from the thick end of the tenderloin and cut the meat into two equal pieces. Coat the tenderloin pieces with the mustard mixture and place in a resealable food storage bag. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Season the tenderloin with a few pinches of salt.
In an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon for 2 to 3 minutes, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is just beginning to brown. Tip the pan slightly and use a slotted spoon to scrape the cooked bacon to the top of the pan, allowing the fat to drain away from the bacon. Transfer the bacon to a small bowl and set aside.
Return the skillet to the heat and add the pieces of seasoned tenderloin, making sure the bacon fat is hot enough to make them sizzle. Sear for about 3 minutes, until the meat has browned and releases easily from the hot pan. Use a pair of kitchen tongs to turn the meat and sear for about 3 minutes on all sides.
When each piece has evenly browned, scatter the onion slices around the pork and toss with the drippings so the onion begins to caramelize evenly. Add the apples, mushrooms and reserved bacon. Add the vinegar, scraping as you do to loosen any bits from the bottom of the pan, then add the applejack and cook for about 30 seconds. Season the mushrooms and apples with a pinch of salt and transfer the skillet to the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the center of the meat is barely pink and a meat thermometer registers 150 degrees.
Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes. Cut the meat into thick slices and serve hot with the apples, onions and mushrooms, drizzled with any accumulated pan juices.
Adapted from a recipe by Russell Cronkhite, former chef at Blair House and author of "A Return to Sunday Dinner" (Multnomah, 2003).
Tested by Sue Kovach Shuman.
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