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Fennel-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin With Squash, Apple and Kale

Fennel-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin With Squash, Apple and Kale 4.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Gina Nistico for The Washington Post

Nourish Nov 24, 2021

This stunning skillet meal is packed with autumnal flavor and color, with orange squash, deep green kale and slices of red apple simmered until tender with medallions of pork in a light mustard-spiked sauce. Seasoning the pork with a coarsely ground mixture of fennel seed and peppercorns gives the lean meat an aromatic sausage-like essence that infuses the whole dish.

Active time: 35 mins; Total time: 45 mins

Storage Notes: Leftover pork and vegetables can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 3/4 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, divided
  • 1 large pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 pounds), sliced into 1/2-inch thick medallions
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups (about 1 pound) diced butternut squash (3/4-inch dice)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion (about 4 ounces), thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red apple (8 ounces), such as Honeycrisp, unpeeled, sliced into 1/4-inch thick wedges
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups (9 ounces) lightly packed, coarsely chopped kale


Place the fennel seeds and black peppercorns into a small sealable plastic bag, then use a mallet or rolling pin to hammer the seeds until they are coarsely ground. (Alternatively, you can pulse them briefly in a spice or coffee grinder, or use a mortar and pestle.) Add 1/4 teaspoon of the salt to the fennel-pepper mixture then sprinkle it onto both sides of the pork, pressing it in slightly with your fingers so it adheres.

In a large, high-sided skillet with a lid over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the pork and sear until browned, about 1 minute per side, then transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil to the skillet. Add the squash and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the water, cover and cook until the squash is nearly tender, about 4 minutes. Remove the lid, add the onion and cook, stirring, uncovered, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the apple slices and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.

Add the broth and vinegar, then stir in the mustard. (Don’t worry if it doesn’t immediately blend into the sauce; it will by the time the dish is done.) Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Cook until the apple has softened slightly and the liquid has reduced a bit, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the kale and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender but retains its shape and color, about 1 minute. Return the pork to the pan with any accumulated juices, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork is warmed through and just blush in the center, 1 to 2 minutes more; remove from the heat.

Divide the pork and vegetables among four plates, drizzle with the pan sauce and serve.

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Recipe Source

From cookbook author and registered nutritionist Ellie Krieger.

Tested by Olga Massov.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (1 1/2 cups of sliced pork and vegetables): 403

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 18g 28%

Saturated Fat: 3g 15%

Cholesterol: 92mg 31%

Sodium: 482mg 20%

Total Carbohydrates: 29g 10%

Dietary Fiber: 6g 24%

Sugar: 10g

Protein: 35g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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