This post comes to us courtesy of Chi Dixon, blogger at Chi’s Food.
Autumn Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Butternut Squash Puree and Apple Bacon Chutney
This recipe involves some multitasking which you, the reader, will be guided through. Use your discretion with time management to execute this dish.
- 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs. unpacked brown sugar
- 2 Tbs. cinnamon, divided
- 1 Tbs. ground Coriander seed
- 1 Tbs. ground cumin
- 1 Tbs. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 5 dashes salt
- 2 pounds pork loin
- 1 pound butternut squash
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, divided
- 2 small onions
- 2 small Gala apples, 2 1/2 inches in diameter
- 2 thin slices bacon
- 1/3 cup apple cider
- 1/8 cup thyme
- 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil (1/3 cup is optional; see note below recipe)
- 1/8 cup fresh sage (optional; see note)
- 1/8 cup baby spinach (optional; see note)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Create a spice rub by combining 1/3 cup brown sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon, cumin, coriander, chili powder and ginger. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Divide rub in half.
After cleaning pork tenderloin, rub with half of the divided spice blend and let marinate.
Meanwhile cut the butternut squash in half and deseed. Top with 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 tablespoon butter. After seasoning with salt and pepper, wrap squash in aluminum foil, place upside-down on a baking sheet and put in oven for 60 minutes, or until fork tender.
While squash is in the oven, dice yellow onions, apples (with the skin on, but cored) and bacon. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to saute pan and fry onions at medium-high heat for 5 minutes. In a separate pan, fry off the bacon, and just before it crisps remove with a slotted spoon and add to the onions. Add the diced apples to the mix and let brown for 4 minutes. Add about 1/3 cup apple cider to pan to deglaze. Add the remaining spice blend to bring out the natural sweetness of the apples. Set pan to low to let flavors develop, and season with salt and pepper.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to a saute pan on medium-high heat. Sear off the pork tenderloin at 4 minutes a side until browned on the outside. Put in oven for 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove and let rest.
While the pork tenderloin is in the oven, remove the butternut squash, scoop out the flesh and process in food processor to make puree. Re-season if necessary.
To plate: with a spoon, gently put a tablespoon of the butternut squash puree onto a plate, and push away with the back of the spoon three times uniformly to create a triangle shape. After pork has rested, cut into half-inch slices. Put a piece of pork on top of each section of butternut squash puree. Add a tablespoon of the apple bacon chutney on top of the pork. Garnish with thyme (or the optional Herb Oil; see note below). Serves 15 to 18.
Chef’s Note: Instead of garnishing with just thyme, I occasionally drizzle the plate with a herb oil. Simply throw 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil into a food processor with 1/8 cup thyme, 1/8 cup sage and 1/4 cup baby spinach. Season with salt and process for three minutes. Run through a cheese cloth into a squeeze bottle. I find the spinach really brings out a bright green color while keeping a neutral flavor. The combination of sage and thyme adds a really nice earthy tone to this dish.
About the author: Chi didn’t realize she could cook until she was well into her 20’s – then she discovered that it was one of the things she liked doing the most! As a top 100 contestant on MasterChef season 2, Chi discovered her hobby was more of a passion and has been exploring this passion since. Her objective is to de-mystify cooking and make it approachable and fun for anyone with the desire to set foot in the kitchen.