I was planning on starting this post very apologetically. I was ready to pull the old "Oh! How could I have waited so long to share this recipe with you?!" Truth is, I know exactly how and why. This recipe is my secret weapon. If you've been to my home for dinner recently, chances are I served this dish to you.
If so, please look away, or you will know all my secrets! You will know that this seemingly complicated dish actually comes together simply, and my illusion will be broken.
I'm posting this for everyone else's benefit. Because you need to make this on a week night (yes! It's that easy!) when your in-laws just drop by to keep them thinking you've got it all together. Alternatively prep it in advance for a dinner party on a Saturday night, so that you can sit with your guests and enjoy their company and have a succulent roast on the table in record time. Just remember to act coy so that you don't give the secret away.
This is a Delia Smith recipe. It is the most splattered page from the multiple cookbooks I own of hers. Pork tenderloin is a terrific cut of meat that is very forgiving. It's perfect for the beginner cook's first foray into roast territory. I'm lucky enough to have an oven with a built in meat thermometer that shut the oven off at exactly the right temperature, but periodic checks with any meat thermometer that you can get at the grocery store for $5 will also yield picture perfect results.
This dish looks especially labour intensive as it is served on a platter with beautifully caramelized apple slices and a crème fraîche and cider jus (Ohh la la!) but alll I can say is try it. Delia says that "[it is] outstandingly good, dead simple, can be prepared in advance and, once tried, I'm sure you'll want to make it again and again." How can you argue with that?
Recipe - Roast pork with rosemary and caramelized apples
Adapted from Delia Smith's How to Cook
2 pork tenderloins (roughly 350g each, after trimming)
1 rounded Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
3 Granny Smith apples, skin left on, cored and cut into 6 wedges each
2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thin slices
3 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 Tbsp sugar
225 ml cider (the stronger, the better - I usually open a big bottle and serve it with the meal)
2 tablespoons reduced fat crème fraîche (or sour cream)
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 450F.
Using a small, sharp knife make small slits all over the pork. Push the slivers of garlic into the slits, making sure to cover the tenderloin all over. Place the rosemary leaves in a mortar and bruise them with a pestle to release their oils. Now chop the leaves very finely.
Melt the butter and mix it with the cider vinegar. Brush the meat with some of the butter-vinegar mixture and sprinkle with half the rosemary. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter the onion over a buttered baking tray, and place the pork on top. [This can be done in advance, covered with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.]
When you're ready to cook the roast, prep the apples by tossing them with the remaining cider vinegar and butter mixture. Arrange them all around the pork on the baking tray and sprinkle with the sugar and the rest of the rosemary. Place the tray in the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes (depending on the thickness of the pork). When the pork is ready, there should be no pink juices and the internal temperature should be 160F.
Once the pork is cooked, removed the tray from the oven and move the pork and apples to a warmed plate or serving dish. Tent it with foil to keep it warm. Meanwhile, pour a little of the cider on the tray, over the heat, to loosen the onions and juices from it, then pour into a saucepan over medium heat. Add the rest of the cider and let it bubble away and reduce by about a third. This will take about 5 minutes. Let it bubble a bit more and add some salt and pepper.
After the pork has rested for about 10 minutes, transfer it to a board and carve it into thick slices. Return it to the serving plate to rejoin the apples. Pour the sauce over and serve as soon as possible.
Roast potatoes [especially Delia's amazing ones] are particularly good with this.