Pork, maple syrup and apples make for a perfectly wintry meal. Pork tenderloin is the most tender and flavorful cut of pork, and is also one of the leanest, and yet it’s not as easy to dry out as a pork chop or loin roast. This recipe for roast pork tenderloin with maple-braised apples is simple, yet seems like more of an effort must have gone into it – it’s my husband’s favorite – his with sauerkraut, mine without. Mashed potatoes – the ultimate in warm winter comfort foods – should go alongside to catch the excess sauce.
Roast Pork Tenderloin with Maple-Braised Apples
This is best served on the couch in a wide, shallow bowl, over a big glop of mashed potatoes to catch all the drips.
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp. Dijon or grainy mustard
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 3/4 lb pork tenderloins
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. butter
2 of your favorite apples, cored and sliced
1 cup apple cider or juice, or more to taste
1 tsp. cornstarch
sauerkraut, warmed, for serving (optional)
In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, mustard, rosemary, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Pour over the pork and marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
When you’re ready for dinner, preheat the oven to 400F. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Remove the pork from the marinade, reserving the marinade, and brown the tenderloins on all sides, turning as necessary. This should take about 5 minutes.
Transfer the pork to a baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes. (If you have a meat thermometer, it should register 155°F/68°C). Transfer the pork to a cutting board, cover it with foil, and let it stand until you’re ready for it.
Meanwhile, add the butter to the skillet (don’t wash it out!) and sauté the apples for 5-7 minutes, until the apples are tender and golden. Transfer the apples to a plate. Add the marinade and apple cider to the pan and bring to a simmer, scraping up any flavourful browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Pour a small amount of the sauce (about 1/4 cup) into a small dish, whisk in the cornstarch until you get rid of all the lumps (this is called a slurry) and return the mixture to the pan. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Return the apples to the sauce along with any juices that have collected on the plate.
Slice the pork and serve it topped with the apples and sauce and sauerkraut on the side. Serves 4-6.