I love pork, but I like it cooked through. I know, I know, like the rest of you, I've read that you don't have to cook pork until it's no longer pink; that today pork is fed and raised differently and the meat is safe to eat when cooked to an internal temp of 160º. I reject the pink notion because I'm old and set in my ways. It's as simple as that. I don't think I could bring myself to eat pink pork. But I don't think you have to cook the meat until the texture resembles that of a hockey puck either. Just barely beyond pink is good for me.
Growing up, pork was not necessarily a staple meat in our house. Hamburger was king, but occasionally my mom would make pork chops. A typical pork chop would be fried and served with mashed potatoes and corn. The chops were lightly salted, but heavily peppered and fried in their naked state; no dredging in flour. From the drippings in the pan, my mom would make a cream gravy... and, no, neither my father or mother were from the South. Dad was raised on a farm in Minnesota and I think this was typical, heavy farm food fare and mom cooked for his tastes. Besides, with seven of us in the family (I am the oldest of 5 girls), mom had to stretch whatever she was cooking. Gravy was a good way to do that.
My mom didn't know what it meant to trim the fat, and what fat was on the chop would wind up brown, crunchy and perfectly rendered. Once we finished cutting the meat from the bone and eating it with a fork and knife, my dad and I would use our fingers and teeth to eat any remaining bits of meat, fat and pepper from the bone. As a child, this was heaven on a plate. I loved the peppery flavor mixed with the caramelized pan juices and I still make them that way sometimes.
Fortunately, I have expanded my pork repertoire to include many other different dishes. Tom found the recipe for this dish several years ago in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, our statewide newspaper. The flavors of the apple and coriander compliment each other perfectly and the dish is suited for a cold winter dinner. We usually serve it with slightly chunky mashed potatoes.
My adaptation of the original recipe from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
2 apples (I use Fuji), cores removed and cut crosswise into thick slices (about 6 slices per apple
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 onions, sliced not too thin
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch slices and pounded slightly
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
1-1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
1/2 cup chicken or pork broth (I used pork broth made with Minor's Pork base)
1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
2 bay leaves
2/3 cup heavy cream
Heat the butter and 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onions. Sprinkle the onions with about 1 Tablespoon of the brown sugar. Cook on medium heat until slighty caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove to plate.
Coat the apple slices in the remaining brown sugar, add to pan juices and cook on both sides until barely brown. Remove to plate with onions.
Heat remaining 2 Tablespoons oil in the skillet. Season the pork with the salt and pepper and 1/2 Tablespoon of the ground coriander, then dust with the flour. Brown quickly on both sides.
Add the broth, juice, bay leaves, and remaining 1 Tablespoon of coriander, bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Return onion and apple slices to skillet, add the cream and simmer for 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves and serve.
Makes 4 servings.