Cool weather makes me yearn for hearty fare. Soups loaded with summer’s final bounty. Early fall’s root vegetables. Kaukab always made a lentil with swiss chard soup to soothe our colds. She was raised in the rural Lebanon hills where they counted on the land’s natural properties to provide them with medicinal aid. I hated lentils as a child. Thought them rather ugly. I preferred chicken noodle soup from the can. I was a spoiled American-born child who didn’t appreciate Kaukab’s soup. And, she told me so.
You might be wondering why I’m talking about lentil soup when the picture above looks deceptively like pork roast. Simple answer: It’s pork roast. Complicated answer: I didn’t have lentils, nor swiss chard, to make Kaukab’s soup. (The thought of her disappointment is unnerving.)
What I did have were two minature pork roasts and some onions and carrots.
I’ve always wanted to roast whole pork tenderloins, but thought it difficult. It really isn’t. As long as you start with a nice rub, of sorts, and make sure to pan sear them, everything else just falls into place. Plus, these were pan-roasted–on the stove. Here’s what I gathered up to make them.
2lbs. ea. (or just under) pork tenderloins (mine were on sale)
2 onions, thinly sliced (cut onion in half, lengthwise; then thinly slice each half, lengthwise)
carrots (could saute mushrooms–halved, and would’ve, if had)
2T to 3T Apple Butter, or 1/4C Apple Cider
2C water or veg. broth
cracked black pepper
2 T flour (optional, to thicken)
I first smeared the loins with a dijon mustard. Then, salt and pepper. End with dried thyme. Rub so both sides are covered. On high heat, pour enough oil to coat pan. Sear loins until both sides are with a nice brown crust.
Remove from pan, and plate. Tent with foil while cooking onions. Next, saute onions over med. high. You should have enough pork fat rendered to cook these. Add a bit more salt and pepper to these while cooking. Stir often, until translucent and beginning to turn brown around some of their edges. Like this:
Add apple butter and stir into the onions. Turn up heat to high, and add the water/broth, careful not to steam yourself. (If you’re using apple cider instead, then turn up heat first, and add the cider, along with the water/broth.) Scrape the browned bits from the pan’s bottom. Bring back to boil and then add back the pork loins and their juices.
Cover pork (slightly tilted to let broth reduce) and turn down heat to medium-low. After 30min., add in thickly-sliced carrots. Continue to cook another 30min to 40min.
Turn down heat to medium, cover slightly and continue cooking down liquid until thickens. Should take another 20min.
I hope, one day, to honor Kaukab by making her lentil soup so that I can share it with you. Kaukab would expect it.