Monday, November 14, 2011

Dutch Oven - Bacon Wrapped Citrus-Apple Pork Tenderloin

 


A few weeks ago, Mark Hansen of Mark's Black Pot put forth another cast iron challenge. It called for apples, oranges, mint and meat. I was okay with everything but the mint-- how would it taste with mint in the other ingredients. It always seems when we do these challenges that there is one ingredient that seems hard to implement. I suppose that's a good thing, since it helps us push the envelope just a little further along the comfort zone spectrum. This meal took me 3 hours, used the most dishes in prep I've ever cooked before, and I know I say this a lot, but I learned the most cooking this meal. I was busy cooking the whole time, but never once let everything that needed to be done stress me out. It was literally cooking zen at its finest. It also helps that this meal was the best tasting I've ever had. The smoky flavor of the bacon combined well with the sweetness of the apples and the tart of the oranges. Then the zing of the mint kicked in and joined the party. The tenderloin cooked to perfection and there was only one hitch- I didn't tie the bacon down with chef's twine as I didn't have any, so it kinda exploded in the middle when the meat started to plump. I was able to cut a single slice with a perfect bacon wrap for a photo, so I'll definitely tie the meat next time. This was so good, even the leftovers were good!


Recipe:
12" Dutch oven
450 Degrees
Baking
15 minutes prep time
45 minutes cook time
4 -6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pork tenderloin pack
  • 1 pound thick sliced smoked bacon
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh mint
  • 1 dash garlic powder
  • 1 dash celery salt
  • 1 dash ground black pepper
  • 1 dash paprika
  • chef's cotton twine*
Wrap the entire tenderloin in bacon and press firmly. Secure with twine.
    Season tenderloin in garlic powder, celery salt, black pepper and paprika. Place mint, orange and apple in between the two tenderloins and reform into shape with your hands. Lay bacon down on a piece of aluminum foil in rows and transfer the tenderloin to the bacon in the center, rolling bacon up onto tenderloin and forming tightly with your hands. Tie with chef's cotton twine to secure. Rub bacon with black pepper. Preheat 12" dutch oven and lightly oil. Transfer tenderloin to dutch oven and bake for 45 minutes at 450, until internal temperature reaches 150.


    Glaze:
    1/2 cup apple cider
    1 orange, cubed
    1 apple, cored and sliced
    2 sprigs fresh mint
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 tbs corn starch
    1/2 cup cold water

    Boil apples, oranges and mint in apple cider until juice is rendered from the fruit. Strain reserving the juices, press with a potato masher. Add sugar and dissolve until boiling. Mix corn starch and cold water and slowly stir into boiling sauce until glaze consistency is reached. Chill before serving.

    5 Stars
    Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

    *I did not use the chef's twine to tie the tenderloin, and it expanded, bursting out its bacon overcoat. It still tasted good, though.

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