This dish tastes like football games on Friday nights, like picnics and fireworks, like country music and bald eagles and watery beer and Oprah.
Pork paired with apples tastes classic, like something truly American. A dinner of pork chops and applesauce feels very retro — maybe because Peter Brady turned it into a catchphrase on The Brady Bunch — and that vintage combination is what inspired me to give the time-honored meal a modern twist.
Instead of chops, I love to cook with pork tenderloin, which is a leaner cut and can be prepared much quicker. Instead of applesauce, I love to slowly sauté apples with shallots, cider and vinegar until they soften and caramelize. A smoky, panko crust is rubbed on the meat and creates a crispy exterior while locking in moisture.
This tender pork will almost melt in your mouth, and combined with the sweet, spiced, buttery apples, turns a blast-from-the-past dinner into a grand slam on an autumn day.
HANDS-ON TIME: 30 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR 10 MINUTES
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1⁄2 teaspoon light brown sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Fuji apples, chopped
2 shallots, sliced
1 cup spiced apple cider
3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Hot cooked rice
Sour cream (optional)
Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the garlic and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Cook until the garlic starts to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the panko and cumin, and cook, stirring often, until the panko is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a shallow dish, and let cool for about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the pork with the brown sugar, pepper, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt. Roll the pork in the panko mixture, pressing to adhere. Place on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 145°F, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add the apples and shallots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples start to brown and soften, about 15 minutes. Add the cider, vinegar, and remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt to the skillet; cook until the apples are tender-crisp and the sauce is creamy, about 2 minutes. Serve the pork and apples over the rice; dollop with sour cream and sprinkle with fresh thyme, if desired.
Siri Daly is a Today show tastemaker and author of Siriously Delicious: 100 Nutritious (and Not So Nutritious) Simple Recipes for the Real Home Cook.
Excerpted from Siriously Delicious by Siri Daly. Copyright © 2018 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Meredith Corporation. New York, NY. All rights reserved.