Thursday, November 13, 2014

Autumnal brined pork tenderloin

Have you ever found yourself at a restaurant, gesticulating wildly toward your plate with your utensils, marvelling aloud about how they got that great flavour right INSIDE the meat? Like, permeating through it? 

For the average home cook, a great way to achieve this is with a brine. In an earlier post, I referenced the SOFA acronym (salt, oil, flavour, acid) that gives you the building blocks for a brine. This recipe is my own; I find it imparts a nice seasonal flavour to the pork. 


Fill a pot with about 16 cups of cold water. Normally the ratio would be about 1 cup salt to this quantity of water, but I found the pork too salty. I would use anywhere between 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup next time. Add 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup brown sugar (the salt-to-sugar ratio is about 3:1)

Add half an onion, peeled and roughly chopped, 1 apple (or 1/4 cup apple juice), roughly chopped (no need to core or peel), 1 cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves, 1T cloves, and 1T liquid smoke. 

Add two pork tenderloins to the brine, the cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Season with pepper and rub Russian-style mustard into the pork. 

Heat oil in a saute pan over high heat and sear the tenderloins for about 5-6 minutes, turning periodically in the pan until the crust is browned. Then cook in the oven at 400F for about 15 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 160F. Remove from oven, tent loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. 

I served this dish with roasted brussel sprouts and sweet potato gratin (a recipe I'm still refining before it goes on the blog); however, it could be served with lightly saut√©ed apples on the side. 

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