Fennel Crusted Roasted Pork Tenderloin


Who says autumn food has to be boring…? OK, I’ll admit it’s a little more thought and work than whipping up something with fresh summer produce. I’m picturing mounds of fresh local tomatoes, zucchini and corn. Strawberries. Peaches. That was summer. This is now. If you’re not cooking in season, I need to ask…. “why not?”

Everything changes with the seasons. Weather. Clothes. Sports. Drinks. Temperatures. Why should food be any different? All great cuisine was and is built by using what’s in season – because it’s what’s at hand. With the change to autumn (which already is feeling like winter) our food must follow. With the right touch, all vegetables in the market right now… can be absolutely delicious. Take Brussels sprouts. Not my fave. But, I keep trying new things with them. Now… I quite enjoyed the ones made with this recipe. Simmered first until almost cooked through, then added to the roasting pan for the flavours to mingle and get happy. You could try parsnips. Or turnips. What else is in season? Apples. I peeled, quartered and added some of them to the pan as well. Apples and pork…. oh yeah.

 

Come on… do it. Research some new recipes. Check out some of the wonderful food mags out there. Or next time you’re online wondering what exactly it is you’re looking for…. check out some recipes using what’s in season now. 

Fennel Crusted Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Fennel and pork are a match made in heaven. If you don’t have fennel seeds, you can simply use good salt and fresh ground pepper. Pork tenderloin cooks very quickly, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner. It’s also very lean, and makes an excellent ‘canvas’ for other flavours. The best tip for this or any meat cooking…. remove the meat from the fridge at least a half hour before you start to cook it. Cold meat and high temps will give you a tough roast.

Ingredients:
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 lb weight, trimmed
1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 golden delicious or granny smith apple, peeled and cut into large chunks
parboiled Brussels sprouts, parsnips, carrots, etc – use your fave or try something new

Preparation:
Remove the pork from the fridge and preheat your oven to 400º
Crush the fennel seeds using a rolling pin or bottom of a skillet on a cutting board. Season the meat with the salt, pepper and crushed fennel seeds. Tuck the thin end of the tenderloin under, for even cooking. In an oven proof skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil and butter. Add the tenderloin and brown on one side. Using tongs, turn the meat and begin to brown the other side. If you’re adding some parboiled veg or apple chunks, this is the time to do it.
Put the skillet in the hot oven (if the handle is not oven proof, simply wrap it in foil).
Check after 10 minutes, turning any vegetables or apples, for even browning.
It will take 15 – 20 minutes, approx; the roast is done when it reaches 145º on an instant read thermometer. (There will also be some carry over cooking, as the meat rests). If the tenderloin is over cooked, it will be dry. You want it pink. You want it juicy.
Remove the skillet from the oven, put the roast on a cutting board and tent with foil – leave for at least 15 minutes for the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. Cut the tenderloin in slices on an angle, plate and serve with the cooked veg and/or apples.

 

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