Pork Tenderloin is one of the most versatile meats for tailgates, and this recipe using apples and bay leaves will give you a taste of the Pacific Northwest on a hot fall weekend in South Carolina. The pork tenderloin is cooked in a sauce of apple cider and bay leaves that flavors during the cooking process. This recipe bakes everything in the oven, but if you want to grill the tenderloin I'd recommend making the sauce beforehand and using it to baste the pork, or just pop it all in the pan and cook in on the grill.
This recipe comes from a new favorite cookbook, Northwest Essentials by Greg Atkinson. The focus on the book is all about recipes that are derived from local ingredients to the region. Dishes are heavily influence by apples, pears, berries, salmon, crab, and other assorted seafoods and vegetables. If you are looking to branch out in your cooking style, this is well worth the purchase.
3, 1 lbs. Pork Tenderloins
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Black Pepper
4 cups Apple Cider
2 Bay Leaves
6 small baking Apples (I used Granny Smith)
1 stick Unsalted Butter
1. Preheat the oven to 425 and cut each tenderloin in half lengthwise to make 6 even 8 ounce portions.
2. Season each tenderloin with a portion of the salt and black pepper.
3. Place the tenderloins in a baking dish and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
4. While the tenderloin is baking, heat the cider and bay leaves in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
5. Peel and core the apples, but leave them whole. Add them to the boiling cider and bay leaves. Cook for 5 minutes or until the apples have been heated through but are not mushy.
6. Add the apple cider and apples to the baking dish with the pork tenderloin. Bake until pork is cooked, about 20 minutes or 160 degree internal temperature.
7. Set aside the pork and apples, and pour the juice into a saucepan over high heat. Stir in the butter to create a smooth sauce.
8. Cut the pork and serve with the apples and sauce.
One thing that can happen is the apples disintegrate while in the oven, as happened to me. In this case I just left them in while I stirred in the butter, and it added an interesting note to the sauce. Try out different types of apples for different flavor profiles with this one and enjoy.