Braising (or stewing) meats and vegetables is a great way to tenderize tough cuts and get a lot of flavor out of them. Unfortunately, it's a method that takes time. And I don't like having a meal cooking for hours while the weather is still warm; it just doesn't feel right.
So when the days are still temperate or I need a fast meal, I make quick braises that call for tender cuts of meat. The method is the same, but the ingredients require only 30 to 40 minutes of braising. The tricks are to use a flavorful braising liquid and to choose ingredients that don't need a lot of cooking, then cut them to make sure they cook fast.
Here, I reduce apple cider and chicken broth spiked with allspice to create a good liquid. Lean pork tenderloin is cubed and cooked with apples and potatoes. It's a one-pot meal packed with great flavor.
I cook this in a large, shallow braising pan, but any skillet or wok large enough to hold the ingredients would work. If you don't have a large enough pan, transfer the mixture to an ovenproof pot or Dutch oven to finish cooking.
If the dish seems watery after its time in the oven, return it to the stove top and reduce the braising liquid until slightly thickened. That will take only a few minutes, and it's not necessary to remove the other ingredients.
Servings: 5 - 6
- About 2 tablespoons mild olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 medium (4 ounces) onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice, preferably a sweet onion
- 1 large (8 ounces) Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch dice
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice, or more to taste
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold or all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 bunches chives, chopped (1/4 cup)
Heat a teaspoon or two of the oil in a large, shallow braising pan, wok or skillet. Working in batches, add the cubes of pork and cook for 5 or 6 minutes per batch, until they lose their raw look and are lightly browned; add oil as needed. Transfer the browned pieces to a shallow bowl. When all of the pork is browned, lightly toss the cubes with the flour.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Add a little more oil and the onion to the same pan, wok or skillet; cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion softens. Add the apple pieces and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring, until the apple pieces soften. Add the allspice, apple cider and chicken broth; increase the heat to high, bringing the liquids to a boil. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, boiling, until the liquid reduces by half, then reduce the heat to low, add the potatoes, the pork and any accumulated juices, the salt and brown sugar. Stir to combine, then cover and transfer to the oven. Let cook until the potatoes are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Uncover and let sit for 5 minutes, then add the chives and serve.
From columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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