In which the world of culinary hedonism is explored with a cup and a half of curiosity, a heaping tablespoon of passion and a dash of clumsiness.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Post #106 ~ Pan-fried Dijon pork with homemade applesauce

This is one of those super simple meals I love. And again, may I state my undying love for my crock pot?

The main attraction of this meal, to me, is the applesauce. Every semester when we arrive at our serviced apartments, we are greeted with a lovely welcome basket. The basket always contains some butter cookies (called "biscuits" here), a granola bar, some chocolate, and bananas and green apples. Lots of apples.

The apples are good, but you can only eat so many (insert "keep the doctor away" jokes here), so around Week 2, when the apples are starting to look a little sad, I make some applesauce. My mom always makes applesauce (well, we call it "hot apples," being a very literal family) so the added perk here is that it also makes my apartment smell like home. Rather than increase the homesickness factor, it actually serves to abate it. Perhaps "home" can be wherever you feel your family's love - no matter how far away they are?

So usually I make it on the stove top, which requires, you know, attention, but today I thought I'd toss them in my crock pot. Great idea, if I do say so myself. Here's what you'll need:

  • Lots of apples. In this case, 6
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar (I use brown and white, but I don't suppose it matters too much)
  • Dried fruit is a bonus
  • Just a tiny pinch of salt
Get out your cutting board and make short order of your apples. I am pleased to say I don't waste much, but everyone's applesauce desires are unique. I leave the skin on, but am generous in my coring, cutting each apple in half, then whack-whack-whacka-whack each half like I'm cutting lines of longitude on a globe. Then I run the knife down the insides of the wedges wherever it's seedy. 

Toss the wedges into your crock pot with about a half cup water. Sugar and cinnamon are largely a to-taste thing. I use quite a bit, because, well, sugar and cinnamon are yummy. You can't take it out, though, so my suggestion is add some, taste, let it cook; you can always add more. I start by just kind of sprinkle-pouring it over the surface of the apples as they rest in the pot.

Slap the lid on, put in on high, and walk away. Stir it once in 30 minutes and that's a good time to assess your sugar and cinnamon levels. At that point, turn it on low. I let mine cook on low for another hour and a half. Halfway into that cook time, I stirred it once more and added a good handful of dried berries. They reconstitute in the most lovely way, adding just a touch of tart to the otherwise sugary sweet apples.

I came back downstairs and turned off the apples and made the pork. This would have been doubly-good marinated, but honestly, I just thought of it as I was coming down the stairs. Here's what you'll need:
  • Pork tenderloin cut into medallions (to serve one - in a country where this cut of meat is expensive - I used three medallions for my serving)
  • One scant teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Garlic salt
  • Dried herbs
  • Butter
Open the baggie/container of pork and sprinkle it generously with garlic salt. Smoosh it all around so the meat is evenly seasoned. Add the mustard and continue smooshing. Seal it up for a little bit while you let your butter melt in the pan on low-medium heat. Prep your side (mine was more steamed green beans, this time with a small clove of garlic cut in). 

Dump the pork in the pan (please don't splatter yourself with hot butter like I foolishly did; I mean, really.) and let it cook slowly, moving it as minimally as possible. One flip #1 I sprinkled with herbs, let it cook a bit more, flipped it again and let it cook for a few more minutes. I like my pork a little pink inside, so once I pierce it with a fork and the juices run clear with just a little red, I turn off the heat and let them rest.

Serve the pork with the apples on top with your side and enjoy! I had a glass of a French red table wine - it honestly would have been paired better with an oaky white, but this was on hand and paired just fine, thank-you-very-much! It added a note of tart acidity like the reconstituted berries in the applesauce!

All in all, a homey meal!
Yours in the love of good food and wine,

The blogger is not an experienced chef. She takes no responsibility for the quality of the meals prepared while following her advice. Use your own judgment regarding cooking times and proper food handling.

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