December 9, 2009

Autumn pork roast

I made this after we ended up with a TON of apples after over-picking them this fall (which always happens). The combination of apples, onion, and fennel roasted in the oven is delicious and just screams fall to me. Fennel is one of my more recent discoveries and I must say that I will not look back! I really enjoy the anise taste, plus it is good for your digestion. The tangy apples and sweet onions pair really well with the fennel and it all comes together with a delicious apple cider and mustard based sauce. This is a really tasty dinner, full of fall flavor - perfect for an evening after apple picking. 

Autumn pork roast
1 pork loin (about 1 lb)
2 medium tart, firm apples (granny smith works well)
1 small red onion
1 bulb fennel and two tablespoons of the fronds
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
juice and zest of half a lemon
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper plus more for seasoning
sea salt to taste
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup low sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
extra virgin olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

On a large plate, spread the lemon zest, garlic powder, black pepper, and some salt. Rub the pork loin in the spice mix until well-covered. In a large, oven-safe skillet heat some extra virgin olive oil. When hot, put in the pork browning on all sides. After it is browned, place the skillet in the oven.

Spray an oven safe baking dish or baking sheet with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray. Remove the core from the apple and fennel. Slice the apple, fennel, and onion into similar-sized pieces and put in the baking dish. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, fennel seeds, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Place in oven.

Cook until the apple mixture has browned and softened. Cook pork until about 145-155 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest on a plate. Drain excess fat from the skillet and over low heat add stock and cider to the pan. Scrape all the brown bits from the pan and mix in mustard and honey.

Place apple mixture on a plate. Top with some slices of pork. Top that with some of the sauce and chopped fennel fronds.

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