Pork Tenderloin with Apple Onion Chutney

>> Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My husband isn’t one to enjoy lean protein, if he had a choice he would order the fatty prime rib or a rack of ribs. He believes that fat = flavour, which I don’t deny but I also believe that flavour can come from multiple sources like spices and sauces. So I decided that I would try to convert him. Ok, convert might be a bit strong but I’d at least have him admit that lean meats weren’t as bland and flavourless as he thought.

There really isn’t anything leaner than tenderloin and especially pork tenderloin and it’s a great choice when looking at injecting it with additional flavour. It doesn’t take long to cook either which really helps if you’re in a bind for time. I enjoy tenderloin because it’s very flavourful and when cooked well retains the succulent pork flavour without the fat.

Nutritional Tidbit: Pork tenderloin is one of the leanest cuts of pork, containing a good amount of protein (~15g for a 3oz serving) and very little saturated fat (1g per serving). So when cooking pork tenderloin, you don’t want it to be completely cooked through or else it will be very dry. The tenderloin should be just slightly pink in the middle to maintain the flavour and juiciness of the meat. Combining the lean pork with healthy apple cider vinegar and is a great way to boost vitamins and antioxidants.

Since it’s so low in fat content, tenderloin does require a nice sauce or chutney to up the flavour of the dish and there is where you can really play around with the spices. I figured apple and pork is a very natural combo. By adding in a bit of sour from the cider vinegar and spice from the chili powder, it will really bring out the natural sweetness of the pork.

Another important factor in cooking tenderloin is not to cook it for too long. Once tenderloin is over cooked it will be stringy and dry, not very appetizing or palatable. Just cook it until it’s still slightly pink in the center but not raw. This usually takes 15-20 mins dependent on cooking temperature. And as always, never cut in to the meat right away when removed from heat. You need to let it rest, so all the amazing juices remain sealed tight within the meat. By leaving it alone for 5-10 mins, this ensures that the meat will remain juicy and succulent when you cut in to it.

After taking his first bite, my husband really enjoyed the flavours of the dish and agreed that the tenderloin was tasty and not at all dry like what he had imagined it to be. He also really liked the apple onion compote, with the tanginess contrasting the chili flavours of the spice. He might not be a convert from his usual choices all the time, but he's more open to trying them! I hope you too enjoy this recipe and decide that not only fatty cuts of meat taste best!

2 Pork tenderloins
1 tbsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper

2 Medium onions, cut in to slices
1 Apple, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup Apple cider
2 tbsp Maple syrup
1 tsp Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Combine the chili powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Rub over both pork tenderloins. If you enjoy a bit more spice then add a bit more chili powder in to the mixture.

Wrap with seran wrap and let it marinade. The longer the marinating time, the more depth of flavour the tenderloin will have. If you don’t have much time, you can also start cooking it right away.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet and set aside.

In a skillet, heat a bit of canola oil on medium to high heat. Sear the pork tenderloin on all sides until slightly brown all over.

Transfer the pork tenderloin to the baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 mins.

Meanwhile, add the onions in to the skillet and cook until semi translucent, about 10 mins.

Add in the apples and cook for another 5 mins.

Turn down the heat and pour in the apple cider if you notice the span starting to stick and any point or the onions and apples getting to dark.

Add the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup. Let it cook until the mixture becomes a bit thick. Roughly 5-10 mins. Turn off heat.

Remove the tenderloin, let it rest for 5-10 mins before cutting in to medallions. Add a bit of the onion and apple chutney to each dish and serve.

Makes 4 servings.


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