I personally think it's a good pairing. The first time I ever really had fruit with meat was in college where one of my roommates cranberry pork chops, a recipe out of our sorority cookbook. Needless to say, it's a trend I think should continue, especially since we still have something like two dozen apples to use up.
It shouldn't be a difficult task, if today's recipe is an indicator of things to come. It was DIVINE.
This recipe, chipotle pork tenderloin with apple chutney, is another one I saw on my sweet coworker's blog. However, to be fair, it bears only little resemblance to hers. In my traditional spastic, forgetful way, I made it my own.
I began by making the chutney. Peel and chop 3 apples into medium-small chunks. Saute them in a pan over medium-high heat with one tablespoon of butter until the apples start to brown. Add in 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1/3 cup of dried cranberries, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. The original recipe called for dried mustard, but I didn't have any of that so I just left it out.
Bring all the ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until the liquid is gone and the apples are soft. The finished product looked like this:
Now, for the pork tenderloin.
Well...the original recipe was for chipotle pork tenderloin, which does sound delicious. Unfortunately, once I started looking at the spices involved, I realized that pretty much all I already had was salt and pepper. Spices are expensive, and I'm already over budget for this month (oops), and I was already at Trader Joe's and didn't feel like driving to another grocery store for specialty spices, so I did what I do. I found what I thought was a suitable substitution.
And unlike some of my substitutions, this one was amazing.
Chipotle is a pretty smoky spice, so I was trying to figure out a way to make this pork tenderloin smoky and spicy and delicious. And lo and behold, in the TJ's spice section, I found a South African smoky spice blend grinder. SOLD.
So after I made the apple chutney, I set about the business of spicing up this pork. I first sprayed the pork with olive oil spray, then ground a lot of spice onto the tenderloin. B patted it in. Here's our spiced raw pork.
My coworker's original recipe called for grilling the pork tenderloin, but B only has a charcoal grill that takes forever to heat up and is generally more trouble than it's worth, especially for a Sunday night dinner just for the two of us.
Instead, we seared the pork for a few minutes, rolling around to make sure all sides got seared and crispy to lock in the juices. Then we put it into a 450-degree oven for about 20 minutes.
While that was cooking, I also roasted some Brussels sprouts and made some of Trader Joe's basmati rice with herbs and spices. The sprouts and tenderloin in the oven got a little smoky, setting off the fire alarm twice, but aside from a slightly spooked dog, everything was perfect.
And when I say perfect, I mean perfect. This is one of the best meals I've made in recent memory. The pork was spicy and tender and juicy, the chutney sweet and tangy, the rice savory and delicious and the Brussels sprouts gave everything an earthy, hearty feel.
The only suggestion I would make is to add even MORE spice. I would have liked to have more of that flavor on it. Even if it LOOKS covered already, it still cooks off. Be generous.
This was a HUGE food win. I will now be making chutney for lots more meats, and I will be putting that South African spice on anything I can conceivably put it on. I'd even put it on roasted veggies, chicken, fish, you name it...it's that go. Run, don't walk, to your neighborhood Trader Joe's and load up on this stuff. If you want to use it to make the pork tenderloin, check out my recipe below.
Smoky Pork Tenderloin with Apple Chutney
3 apples, chopped into medium-small pieces
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons tightly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Smoky Pork Tenderloin
1 pork tenderloin (whatever size you need/prefer)
Olive oil spray
South African spice grinder from Trader Joe's
For the chutney:
Saute apples in butter over medium-high heat until apples are starting to brown.
Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat until liquid has cooked off and apples are soft.
For the pork:
Preheat oven to 450.
Remove tenderloin from package. Spray with olive oil spray.
Twist grinder over pork, coating it well with spice. Be generous with the spice, it's the best part!
Press spices into pork.
In an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat, sear the pork, being sure to cook all sides.
Once tenderloin is evenly seared, place pan in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Let sit a few minutes before serving to preserve juices.
Serve with chutney spooned on top.