On Sunday night, my wife and I finally watched “Chef” with Jon Favreau. I won’t spoil the movie for you (it’s a fantastic movie and you should check it out, especially if you love cooking / food!), but in it, quite a bit of time is spent showing them producing dozens of Cuban sandwiches. This of course got me on a pork kick. While my new diet eliminated red meat, white meat is fair game. Of the white meats, pork is by far my favorite. A lean pork tenderloin is not a bad option at all when it comes to keeping meat protein in your diet, as long as you keep health in mind as you prepare it. With that, after daydreaming through my work day yesterday, I got to the market, grabbed two pork loins, then rushed to the kitchen.
I love honey mustard with pork, but I’m trying to, wherever possible, avoid the over-processing of the commercially produced brands. With that, I wanted to see what I could come up with. I did end up using some of the organic dijon mustard I had in the fridge because, well, I had it, dammit.
Once the silverskin is removed, wash and dry the loins. Once dried (drying is a must if you want to achieve a good, juice-retaining sear and a beautiful brown color), salt and pepper the loin to taste. Heat 1 tbsp EVOO to med-high heat in a large, oven-safe pan with a good size rim (for retaining liquid later). Add the tenderloin to heated oil and sear on all sides, allowing approximately 3 minutes per side. YOU ARE NOT COOKING THE MEAT THROUGH; all you want to do is lock in the flavor. Once you get the loin seared on all sides, remove from the heat and let them rest on a plate.
Using the same pan (keep that fond!), reduce the heat to medium and add another tbsp of EVOO to the pan. Add apples and onions to pan and season with double pinch of salt and your 1 tbsp cumin. Stir frequently to prevent burning the smaller pieces of onion. Eight minutes after starting the apple and onions (onions just starting to become translucent and apples starting to soften and brown), add the garlic, apple cider vinegar, vegetable stock, bay leaves, leaves from three sprigs of thyme, and three whole sprigs of thyme to the pan. Stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan to degalze. Turn heat to high and bring to boil. This only needs to boil for 2-3 minutes.
While waiting for the liquids to come to a boil, take your mustard glaze out of the fridge and glaze the pork (just drizzle on the top and spread with your spoon), reserving some for a dressing for your greens later. Return the tenderloins to the pan, setting them on top apple and onion mixture. Remove the pan from the heat and place in the oven. Cook time will vary anywhere from 15-25 minutes. This is dependent on the size of the loin, how much cooking takes place as you are searing the meat, and the temperature of your oven. With your meat thermometer (if you don’t have one but are serious about making good food at home, you should invest in one), check the largest diameter portion of each tenderloin. The established “safe zone” for pork is 145 F and above. Do not go too far above 145-155 F as you will begin drying out the meat above that point. You are going to remove the pan from the oven when the pork’s internal temperature reaches 140 F. The internal temperature will continue to rise, even after you remove the meat from the heat source. I pulled mine at 142 F and it rose to 153 F in 5 minutes of resting.
Remove the pork to a serving platter and allow to rest for ten minutes. Spoon the vegetables around the pork. While the pork rests, take the liquid remaining in the pan and ladle it into a saucepan. Set the saucepan on high heat and bring to a boil. As the liquid begins to boil, add your foul to the liquid and whisk as the mixture reduces. Once your flour is completely combined and liquid has reduced by 1/3, you should have a sauce that is viscous enough to coat the back of a spoon. Once ready, place this to a gravy bowl, and you’re ready to eat! Serve this with a side salad of leafy greens, topped with the reserved mustard glaze or a light poppy seed dressing to bring the whole dish together.