I really love Jousting at The Royal Foodie Joust. Jenn, also known as The Leftover Queen, plays hostess to a court of Foodies who have been playing “Chopped” for much longer than the Food Network has! Each month the previous month’s “Best Over All” winner gets to select the 3 ingredients that will tease and torture us! Some months are more difficult than others. I’ve been away a few months between work and availability of ingredients…and one combination I just could not get my head around in time. It happens… So when I finally got a chance to peek and see what we were up against this month and discovered we were to work with apples, maple and cayenne, a couple of things started working in the back of my mind. I just left well enough alone until one concept of the other started to come together. It helped that all 3 ingredients were in the house!
I knew I was going to mix the cayenne and the apples and the maple, but…as an appetizer or a main dish? Then I remembered I had a port tenderloin…SOLD!
Dijon-Cayenne Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Maple Apples
1 1/2 # pork tenderloin
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Mix last dijon, cayenne and maple syrup. Rub well into pork tenderloin.
Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. fresh thyme leaves.Set aside for at least 2 hours.
About 45 minutes before you plan to serve dinner,prepare apples.
2 fuji apples, peeled and cut into eighths
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne depending on your taste.
Saute until apples are tender…add additional water if needed
When apples are tender, set aside and keep warm while preparing the pork.
Preheat oven to 425º
In a heavy pan that can go into the oven safely, melt:
2 tbsp olive oil
Sprinkle the meat with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Brown tenderloin on all sides in the butter and olive oil.
Place pan into 425º oven for 15 minutes.
Remove to a plate and wrap to rest while you finish the sauce.
1/2 cup white wine
Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup white wine; add 1 tsp balsamic vinegar then add apple mixture to heat
through and reduce.
Slice pork, Serve on a bed of apple slices with a drizzle of sauce.
Doubles easily for 2 tenderloins.
We agreed this was a slightly unusual dish, but also very good. Apples go well with pork; pork goes well with maple; maple goes well with apples…we have a circle! We both thought the tenderloin could have been a little spicier without any problem. I may have been a bit too restrained there. It was still very flavorful, moist and tender. The addition of the balsamic vinegar to the sauce helped the apples feel a little sweeter. This is a recipe where you can change the apples, without changing the outcome drastically. I think a sweeter apple would have been fine, but the Fujis don’t give up their shape while they’re cooking, and that’s what our tree was FULL of. So Fuji apples it was. The balsamic vinegar added a little tang, and at the same time a little twisted sweetness to go with the maple…which almost disappears, and yet, it’s the only sweetener. Our verdict was it was good enough to have again sometime this Fall!