Sunday, October 3, 2010

Apples, Apples and More Glorious Apples!

Do you ever get the craving for something that is just traditional? Something so basic but that no other food will hit the spot? Yeah! I had one of those days today. Since the weather was kind of gloomy today, I was definitely feeling that fall had arrived. We had no specific plans except for Sunday dinner with a family friend so the day was my oyster (but not so gross and slimy and yuck!). I put away laundry, purged through some old bills I had laying around (and paystubs from 2007 :S) and generally cleaned up my room a bit which always makes me feel amazing! Amidst all of this productivity, I was still craving something homecooked and delish. 

I knew that we were going to make something that involved pork tenderloin which lead me to think of apples. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this on the blog but I LOVE apples. I love eating them by themselves but I especially love baking with them. 2 years ago I made my first apple pie with a lattice top and I swear, I almost died at the finished product. But really, can you blame me? I promise to write a whole blog post about apple pie soon.

But really, beyond baking with them, I've never really cooked with them. If we were ever having pork chops, we would just use jarred apple sauce. Mum suggested that tonight we make a pork wellington with the tenderloin and after a quick review of a basic recipe, I figured: let's do it! I am so glad that we did because what we made was absolutely DELISH! 

This is the wellington right out of the oven
Cooked to perfection
This pork tenderloin was rubbed with some olive oil and spices before they were tightly wrapped up defrosted puff pastry. It was simple but I didn't want to flavour the meat too much because I knew that my apple chutney awaited the wellingtons. My one suggestion would be to use one sheet of puff pastry for one pork tenderloin. I originally thought that I had two sheets of puff pastry but actually only had one, thus we had really thinly covered wellingtons but they were still great! 

Now for the apple chutney, I was definitely flying by the seat of my pants, which (without sounding too much like Michael Smith-who I love) was actually a lot of fun. So here is the rough recipe for my spicy apple chutney:

Makes about 5 cups - Enough for two pork tenderloins
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 5 apples, peeled, cored and cubed
  • 2 tbsp fresh (or dried) thyme, chopped 
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup (or 1/4 of table syrup, if you're like me who has run out of maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
Add olive oil, apples, red onion and thyme to a skillet set to medium-high heat. Let all ingredients simmer for 3-5 minutes until tender. Add the maple syrup, white wine, lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir. Let the liquid reduce until a chutney forms, about 5-7 minutes or until apples are soft and almost falling apart.  Serve warm over pork wellington slices. 

And here, loves, is what you end up with if you serve it with mashed potatoes and green beans:

Now, while the pork wellington with spicy apple chutney killed my craving for pork and apples, I still wanted a bit more apple, THUS I put together a quick topless apple tart. The topless-ness of our tarts were simply due to me running out of dough but in the end, I actually enjoyed the tart better without any dough on top. 

I can't lie, we used ready made Pilsbury Pie Crust and par-baked the crust in individual tart shells at 400 for 10-12 minutes (or until golden brown). Once the shells were baked, I cut and cubed 4 apples (2 macintosh and 2 granny smith) and mixed them with 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon, 4 tbsp brown sugar, 3 tbsp white sugar, 1 tbsp white flour and 2 tbsp lemon juice. Mix all ingredients together and pour the apple mixture into the tart shell. Bake at 325 for 15 minutes or until the apples are soft and voila! You can top these with either ice cream or as I did with mine, whipped cream. 

And on that note, this is why I am in love with apples. They're so versatile and amazing you really can't say no to them... PLUS they're in season right now! 

Get out there and get your hands on some apples! 

Happy soon-to-be-Monday! 


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