The end of daylight saving time is a great excuse(as though you need one) to whip up this supremely easy, supremely delectable autumn feast. It popped into my head yesterday as I was strolling through the glorious Virginia countryside with my friends. Was it the ravishing sunset colors of the sugar maple that firmly planted sweet potatoes in my mind? Perhaps the crackling of the logs in the fireplace, as we feasted and laughed, that reminded me that nothing in the world is better than a divine, stick-to-your ribs, homey meal in the company of good friends.
This old favorite recipe is a never-fail crowd-pleaser. Slow-roasted pork tenderloin is braised to tender perfection in apple cider with shallots and Granny Smith apples. Accompanied by scalloped sweet potatoes and finished with an irresistable gravy fashioned from pan-drippings, mustard and heavy cream, it's the most quintessentially autumnalmeal this side of Thanksgiving, if you ask me.
I decided yesterday that fall is my favorite season. If you make this, don't blame me if it turns into your favorite season too.
Pork Tenderloin with Apples, Shallots and Cider
1 3-lb. pork tenderloin roast, tied
salt and pepper
16 shallots, peeled
3 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and quartered
2 cups apple cider
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Season the rolled and tied pork tenderloin with salt and pepper. Place it in a roasting pan and cook for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 325 degrees and add the shallots and apples to the pan, surrounding the meat. Add the cider and roast for 2 hours or until the meat is cooked and tender.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Place the pork on a serving platter and surround it with the shallots and apples. Cover with platter with foil while you make the gravy.
Put the roasting pan with the drippings on top of the stove set on medium and stir while boiling to reduce by about half. Once the drippings are concentrated, stir in the mustard and cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour some of the sauce over the roast and serve the rest on the side. Serve immediately, accompanied by scalloped sweet potatoes.
Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
4 medium-size sweet potatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
2 sweet onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh thyme
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup apple cider
In a large, buttered, oval baking dish, layer sweet potato slices, followed by a layer of onions, and half of the thyme. Repeat, ending with a layer of sweet potatoes. Place butter over the top in slices and pour cider on top. Cover with foil and place in bottom shelf of oven (in which the port tenderloin is already cooking) and cook for one hour. After an hour (and half an hour before you're planning on eating) remove the foil and return the casserole to the oven. Remove and serve immediately withthe pork tenderloin.