I know it’s now Winter and apples are more of a Fall fruit. Apples are still readily available, and I enjoy this recipe year round. Although there’s something comforting about this recipe when it’s cold outside. The savory, tender pork tenderloin mixed with the crisp, salty bacon itself makes a nice contrast. The slightly sweet apple cider pan sauce is the perfect addition, and creates a nice medley of flavors that dance around your pallet with each bite. This dish is perfect for a special occasion, or even a weeknight when you have some extra time on your hands. This dish isn’t too complicated to throw together, but it may be a little more labor intensive than you would want on a weeknight. So on your next special occasion or a night you are looking for comfort food, give this dish a try and you won’t be disappointed.
2 pork tenderloins (1 to 1 1/4 pounds each), trimmed of fat and silver skin, cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces
12-14 slices of bacon (I usually buy thick cut bacon to cover the medallions better)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt (kosher) and pepper for seasoning
Apple Cider Sauce:
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1 granny smith apple
1/4 cup apple brandy
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- Place bacon slices into a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cook on high for 1-3 minutes until the bacon pieces release about 1/2 cup of fat (they should not be brown or crisp). Place them on a plate with paper towels and allow to cool.
- In the meantime slice the tenderloin into medallions as directed above. Wrap each medallion with a slice of bacon and secure in place with 2 toothpicks.
- Heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat, until shimmering. Season the pork with pepper (no salt needed because of the bacon) and add to the pan cut side down. Cook for 3-5 minutes until well browned.
- While the pork is cooking on the first side, start the base for the apple cider sauce by combining the cider, chicken broth, cinnamon stick, and vinegar into a small sauce pan. Cook over medium high heat until it is reduced to about 1 cup. This will take about 10-12 minutes and can go while the pork is cooking. After it is reduced, remove the cinnamon stick and set aside.
- Flip the the pieces and cook for 3-5 minutes on the other side (should be well browned as well). Next turn the medallions on their sides (the side with the actual bacon) and cook turning until the bacon is browned on each side and the internal temperature is between 150-160 F (150 F will be slightly rarer but still safe to eat). This will take about 15-20 minutes. Place the medallions on a platter and tent with foil while you make the pan sauce.
- Pour off any fat in the skillet, and add 1 Tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Wait until the butter foams, and then the foaming subsides. Add the shallot and apple and cook until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Remove the pan from heat (if you have gas shut off that burner) and add the apple brandy. Return to heat and cook for 1 minute, scraping the browned bits (fond) from the bottom of the pan. Add the reduced sauce base (that you made in step #4), thyme, and any juices from the plate the pork is resting on. Increase the heat to medium high and simmer 3-4 minutes until reduced to about 1 1/4 cups (it will coat the back of a spoon).
- Remove the pan from heat, whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve over the pork immediately.