It’s not quite sweatuh weathuh yet, but I’m at least declaring it dinnuh weathuh. Since we don’t have A/C, we go on an entertaining hiatus over the summer and by the time September rolls around, I’m raring for a dinnuh party! I hosted an apple-themed dinner party this weekend with a knock-out main course: a James Beard-inspired, apple cider-marinated pork tenderloin. Though I appreciated the simplicity of chef Beard’s stovetop preparation, I added a few extra layers of flavor and texture. Looking for a way to enjoy autumn’s bounty? Give this cider-marinated pork tenderloin a try!
Cider-Marinated Pork Tenderloin
To start, place 4-5 pounds of pork tenderloin in a tight-sealing, shallow container or a large ziploc bag. Cover with good-quality apple cider (about 3 cups). Bruise 1 clove with a rolling pin and toss in with the pork along with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Allow tenderloin to marinate overnight or up to 24 hours.
When ready to cook, discard marinade and allow pork to set at room temperature for an hour because cold tenderloin in a hot pan makes for, er, tough-loin.
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels, season with 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper each and rub the seasoning into the meat. Place pork in skillet and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes per side.
Once all browned, carefully pour in 1/2 cup apple cider.
Immediately cover the skillet and reduce heat to low. Cook, without peeking, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, place a meat thermometer in the center of a loin. It if reads at least 145˚, it’s done. If the temperature is higher, transfer meat and liquids to a shallow dish. If below this temperature, cover and cook an additional minute and check again. Try to stick close to 145˚; don’t overcook.
When done, transfer pork and all of the liquids to a shallow dish and cover loosely with foil.
Without wiping out any of that flavor, return skillet to medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil. Slice up 1 medium onion thin and toss in the skillet. Add 2 cloves of grated garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, 5-7 minutes.
Cook’s Note: You could also add 1 large peeled and sliced apple of your choice (except Red Delicious) in with the onions. I did not use apples in mine due to an unforeseen dessert emergency. Will explain more later this week.
Return all cider/juices to the skillet along with 2 tablespoons good-quality maple syrup. Since I was eager to try out the homemade pear syrup my sweet friend gave me, I was inspired to use that instead. Thank you, Brenda!
Bring liquid to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes or until reduced by half.
Turn off heat and stir in 2-3 tablespoons of apple-cider vinegar or your favorite white balsamic vinegar, like this pomegranate-quince version from Cordell’s. I used closer to 3 tablespoons because I like a sauce that has zip and tang. Taste sauce and season with more salt and pepper if desired.
Slice pork and spoon sauce over the top.
Tender, juicy pork cradled in an apple-cider reduction is even more sexy when paired with tossed apples and greens, leek and potato gratin and hard apple cider. Schwing!
Stay tuned this week for more recipes from our apple-themed dinner party!
Follow me on Pinterest for even more tasty fall dishes!
- 3 cups apple cider
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 whole clove, bruised
- 4-5 pounds pork tenderloin, uncooked
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- CIDER-ONION SAUCE
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thin-sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 2-3 Tablespoons white balsamic or apple cider vinegar
- In a large ziploc bag or shallow, tight-sealing container, add cider and seasonings. Add tenderloins. Seal bag and shake slightly to coat the pork. Place in refrigerator overnight up to 24 hours.
- Remove from fridge and drain off the marinade. Discard. Allow pork to sit at room temperature for an hour. Dry pork thoroughly with paper towels and add to skillet. Season lightly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper each tenderloin and rub into meat.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown on all sides until golden, at least 6 minutes per side.
- Slowly pour 1/2 cup cider into the skillet, cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. Cook pork for 10-12 minutes or until a thermometer press in the center of the loin reads 145˚. Do not overcook or meat will be dry.
- Transfer meat and all liquid to a container. Meanwhile, melt butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Toss in onions and garlic and saute until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour the cider/juices from the pork back into the skillet along with the maple syrup and cook another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in vinegar to taste. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Slice pork and pour sauce over. Serve.