Recipe: Apple Pork Loin

The days grew shorter in the wood, and one early morning Azel awoke. Darts of cold, honey-colored sun had slipped through cracks in the bark of her hollowed home at the base of the tree. The crisp air made her grateful for her blanket of moss, though her nose felt like a snowdrop. She warmed her nose with her hands and smiled. She knew where she would find her meal today.  She sheathed her dagger and slipped out of the opening at the base of her tree.

The trees were quiet, but murmured at the sight of the dryad passing into the orchard.  The orbs of fruit hung low on the branches.  Azel picked one and cut its skin, but just as the tangy scent sprang from the apple, there was a rude commotion  and the sound of clumsy hooves.  Azel sprang into the tree and readied her dagger for the hunt.  

Fall arrived in New England last week. Though it’s my favorite season, I bitterly resisted at first because the end of summer signals two things that I dislike:

1)  That the season has changed, but I’m not returning to school for the first time in memory. Thanks, necessary arrival of adulthood!

2)  Autumn is short, and soon I’ll be battling cold, snow, and ice again for at least six long months.

However, it only took a few days for me to fully welcome my fall favorites back into my life: Shipyard Pumpkinhead & Sam Adam’s Octoberfest, Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes, candles that smell like pie, comfy knits, and my Gryffindor hoodie. So I happily decided that it’s also time to transition to Fall cooking. Let me let you in on a secret: Fall cooking is the best cooking!

Each season I tend to have a go-to ingredient. I keep that ingredient plentiful, then I use it gleen inspiration or to spice up dishes I whipped up after a twelve hour workday. For example, this summer that ingredient was coconut flakes. This fall that ingredient is, as it usually is, apples!

Apples are perfect because they smell incredible, can be used in sweet and savory dishes, and, if you grew up in the Northeast, carry lots of childhood memories. I’m certain that my love of this season entirely stems from trips to my town’s apple farm and my grandma’s apple pie. Pure, simple, Americana.

Here’s the perfect savory combination:

Apple Pork Loin

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs of boneless pork loin, sliced about 2 inches thick
(pork chops may also be used, but cooking time would vary)
2 apples
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of ginger
3 tablespoons of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of mustard (ground or seeds)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of maple syrup
3/4 cup of water
2 tablespoons of butter

Equipment:

Pyrex baking pan
Peeler
Measuring spoons & cup
Knife
Cutting board
Mixing bowl

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Begin prep by peeling and coring the apples.  Then cut into thin slices about 1/2 inch in diameter.

In a bowl mix the salt, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, mustard, and brown sugar.  Add the maple syrup, then water until the mixture is your desired consistency.  I prefer more on the watery side, but some may like it more syrupy.

A few other possible delicious add-ons to your apple mixture:

Crushed walnuts
Dried cranberries
Dried oatmeal (makes it like a savory apple crisp!)
Fennel

Either spread or add thin slices of butter to the bottom of a pyrex baking pan to prevent sticking.  Space the pork loin slices on the pan.  Now, pour the apple mixture evenly over the the pieces of meat.

Bake the pork loin for about 25-30 minutes, or about 20 minutes if you’re making pork chops.

Savor the smell of Autumn before consuming.