I admit that I am a friend of pork. Bacon, pork shoulder, pork tenderloin, chops... I'm not picky! This recipe was inspired by an episode of Top Chef or one of those shows. It was a couple years ago because this isn't the first time I've made this dish.
Not only is it easy to prepare, it's delicious and something you can impress your guests with.
Here's what you need:
1 - 4lb pork tenderloin
1-2 granny smith apples, cored and sliced (no need to peel!)
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
salt, pepper, and celery seed
1 bottle hard apple cider
Season your tenderloin with salt, pepper, and celery seed. Heat a little oil in a dutch oven. Pan sear all sides of the tenderloin to lock in moisture. When all sides are browned, top with the apple slices, onion, bay leaf, and pour the hard cider over the top. Cover and pop in a 350* oven and roast for about an hour. You want to pull this out when your thermometer reads 145* because pork tenderloin has very little fat so you don't want to overbake, otherwise you're left with really dry meat.
Remove the pork from the dutch oven and set aside to rest (cover with foil). While it's resting, make the sauce. Dump all the cooked apples and onion into a seive and strain the liquid (make sure you set the seive on a bowl so you save it because we need that liquid for the sauce.
Remove the bay leaf and put everything in the blender. Add a little bit of the liquid to the blender to help smooth out the sauce. Taste and re-season with a little salt, if needed.
Now before you actually pulled the roast out of the oven, you want to make the apple-fennel garnish.
Cut one granny smith apple into matchsticks. Thinly slice one fennel bulb. Heat a saute pan and melt 2-3 Tbsp butter. When hot, add the apples and fennel and saute quickly. Season with salt and pepper. (I sprinkled a dash of celery seed in here, too)
Make sure you saute close to the end of the roasting time, or do it while the tenderloin rests (that's what I did).
To assemble, spoon some of the sauce onto the plate. Put a slice of tenderloin on top and spoon some garnish on top. To make it extra fancy, put a little fennel frond on top.