You guys, I’ve been holding out on you again. I’ve been making this for a month, and it’s Mike’s new favourite thing to eat, and the only reason I haven’t been sharing the love is because most (OK all) of the times I’ve made it I’ve been on TV (this is what I was doing in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Vancouver… playing with pig across Western Canada). Every time I make it elicits groans and eye-rolling (in a good way) among camera crews, hosts and all who crawl out of the woodwork when there’s food to be had. It’s really just delicious, and amazingly simple to make. From start to finish it took me under 15 minutes. I served it with boiled new potatoes and the last of the greens still clinging to life in the garden. I’m not sure what I’ll do when I can no longer walk out there with the salad bowl, fill it and bring it back to the table.
So – what’s a pork tenderloin fillet, you ask? It’s something I’m amazed no one came up with eons ago – a halved (crosswise) pork tenderloin that’s been butterflied, so that it resembles a chicken breast in size, shape and thickness, making it faster and easier to cook, on account of it being thinner and far more even. (Pork tenderloins tend to taper on both ends, making them uneven to cook – the ends are well done by the time the middle is cooked through – not that I ever minded, really, but some might.) Anyway, it’s a nice neat little package of meat to cook on the stove top and is just enough for two or three. To make this particular dish, you heat a bit of oil and a bit of butter (one to handle the heat, the other to add flavour) and cook the tenderloin fillet, dousing it in freshly ground pepper and fresh thyme. Then you set it aside, toss a sliced apple into the pan and swirl it around, softening and caramelizing it while loosening up all the browned bits in the bottom of the pan, and then you add a squirt of grainy mustard, a dribble of maple syrup and a splash of cream and wow – it morphs, with those little browned bits, into the most amazing sauce you may have ever had (assuming you’ve never been to Paris, of course) which you then pour over the pork and bring to the table. For years I’ve been making this more labour-intensive version of maple pork tenderloin with apples, and I can’t believe how much more streamlined this is.
It’s a Maple Leaf recipe that was originally intended for a large pork roast, which it’s awkward to cook in real time on TV, and besides – I wanted to show off this new fillet. Maple Leaf is also running a food blogger-inspired pork recipe contest – food bloggers from across Canada are posting their pork recipes with photos. There are 22 recipes posted now, including Slow Cooker Five-Spice Pork, Pork Tenderloin with Spiced Quinoa, Jack Daniels Pork Medallions and Honey Garlic Fried Pork Back Ribs- all of which are now poised at the top of my must-make list. You can go vote on your favourite and they’ll give you a coupon for 50% off Prime Pork – a pretty sweet deal on some mighty fine meat.
Maple Pork Tenderloin Fillet with Caramelized Apples
This recipe is easily doubled; just cook two fillets in the pan and double the sauce ingredients – you can use two apples or just one if you don’t want too much.
1 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
1 package Maple Leaf Prime tenderloin fillet
Freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tart apple, cored and sliced
1-2 tsp. grainy mustard
2-3 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 cup half & half or coffee cream
In a heavy skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the pork tenderloin filet generously with pepper and thyme and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, until golden and just cooked through (the middle should reach 160F). Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Sauté the apples in the pan for a few minutes, until starting to soften and turn golden. Add the mustard, maple syrup and cream and cook, stirring, until the mixture is well blended, comes to a simmer and thickens. Pour the apples and sauce over the pork and serve immediately. Serves 2-3.
September 21 2010 06:03 pm | pork