This meal was based on using up some dried apricots and trying out some roasted beets...It resulted in a very colourful plate, with lots of flavour and texture. All in all, a good dinner.
Start with the beets, as they take a while to roast. Mine were the size of lemons, and took about 2 hours to roast.
Place the beets on a piece of foil, and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
Wrap them up, and roast at 400F until tender.
Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool slightly.
Peel the beets and cut into smaller pieces. I cut them into 4 or 6, depending on the size of the beet.
Place them into an ovenproof dish. Turn the oven temperature down to 350F.
In a small pan, heat:
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
black pepper to taste
When the butter has melted, remove from the heat.
Pour the glaze over the beets and return to the oven to continue cooking, stirring occasionally.
Next, the carrots. They take slightly longer than the pork to cook, so once they are in the oven you can start with the pork, and everything will be ready at the same time.
Scrub and half baby carrots lengthwise.
Place them in a roasting pan, along with some sprigs of fresh thyme, salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
Roast alongside the beets, in the 350F oven, until they are just tender when pricked with a fork.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar over the carrots.
Return to the oven. This allows the sugar and vinegar to create a sweet and sour glaze on the carrots.
For the pork,soak the apricots in orange juice to soften them. I did this when I first put the foil wrapped beets into the oven to roast.
Place the apricots in a small saucepan, and add enough orange juice to cover them. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and allow to soak.
Using a small, sharp knife cut a hole through the middle of the pork tenderloin.
Insert the knife and slowly work it down the length of the pork, turning it around carefully to enlarge the size of the hole.
Carefully push the soaked apricots into the pork, until you have stuffed the whole tenderloin.
Save the orange juice.
You can cut the pork into 2 pieces, or work from both ends of the tenderloin, to make it easier to reach the centre.
Season the pork with salt and pepper, and sear all sides in a hot pan, using a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking.
Drizzle the orange juice from the apricots over the pork.
Place the pork into the oven to finish cooking.
When the pork is cooked through, remove from the oven, and allow it to rest for 5 - 10 minutes before slicing.
I served the pork with steamed asparagus, the roasted carrots and beets and Corn and Zucchini Pancakes on the side (I had some zucchini and buttermilk to use up).
- After searing the pork, use the pan to make a sauce by deglazing it with orange juice, wine or chicken stock. Bring it to a boil, scraping all the yummy bits from the bottom of the pan. Just before serving, swirl a bit of butter into the sauce.
- The pork can be crusted with a coating of Dijon mustard, and then chopped herbs, garlic, nuts or breadcrumbs.
- Prunes can be used instead of apricots.
- Soak the fruit in any juice, such as apple or orange; liqueur such as Grand Marnier, brandy or rum.
- Instead of making a hole through the centre of the pork, make a slit along the top of the pork (lengthwise) and stuff the apricots in there. This also allows you to add other things such as cheese, nuts or herbs. See the post Pear Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Scalloped Potatoes.
- The beets can be roasted with honey instead of maple syrup. Beets are naturally sweet, and roasting intensifies the sweetness, this added sugar is just to create a shiny glaze.
- Leftover beets can be used cold, in salad with crumbled goats cheese.
- Carrots also have a natural sweetness which is brought out by roasting; the balsamic vinegar showcases this.
- Other herbs or spices that work well with carrots are cumin, fresh ginger, dill.
- Beets can be paired with coriander, rosemary, garlic.
- The beets can be foil roasted a day or two ahead of time, then finished off in the oven with the glaze.
- The pork can be stuffed and frozen, for roasting another time.
- I used one pork tenderloin to feed 4 people; the vegetables and Corn and Zucchini Pancakes were all very filling, and no one complained about not enough meat, which in our house is unusual!