I must say that January has been the perfect time to unwind, relax and do a bit of detoxing. I’m doing my best to stay at home with the dog, by the fireplace, with friends, good food and minimal alcohol. And, I’m actually behaving quite well.
This past Saturday, my friends came over for a second recipe mocktail (I can hear the laughs), gossip by the fireplace and some collaborative cooking. My friend Margaret makes the best collard greens which we paired with my Mom’s famous cheese grits recipe and this super easy pork tenderloin coated in maple syrup and mustard. The combination of roasted apples and fennel with the pork, collards and cheese grits was perfect.
I must admit that the conversation does not get as lively without a couple shared bottles of good red wine, but our performance at the gym on Sunday morning has surely improved. Which makes more room for leftover the next day.
Maple and Mustard Crusted Pork Tenderloin
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 3 Tbs. whole-grain Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more to taste
- 1 large fennel bulb or 2 small bulbs, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, mustard, thyme, and pepper. Pat the pork dry with paper towels. Brush the pork all over with the mustard mixture.
In a medium bowl, toss the fennel and apple with the oil, salt, and a few generous grinds of pepper. Scatter the mixture in the bottom of a large roasting pan (large enough to hold the pork with a couple of inches of space around the perimeter). Put the pork, fat side up, on top of the fennel and apples. Roast the pork until the crust just starts to brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the loin registers 145°F, 30 to 50 minutes more.
Let rest for 10 minutes and then thinly slice a quarter to a third of the pork. Serve, topped with the fennel, apple, and juices.
If you are ever in the Winston-Salem Salem area, please get in touch and stop by the farm. I will be glad to offer you pasture raised pork, lamb, goat or pork to use in one of your recipes. NC has a wealth of small farms producing exceptional meat from animals raised humanely on pastures.