Some weeks when I buy apples they are eaten within days; other weeks they sit until they start to go soft and are better suited to making applesauce or muffins than just eating. This was one of those weeks, and I used the 2 soft apples to make what I originally intended to be a chutney, but turned into a sweet and sour applesauce.
This was being served with pork, a perfect pairing. I chose to crust the pork tenderloin with the few pistachios left over from baking earlier on in the day. The result was tender and juicy meat, with a crunchy crust, accompanied by a warm applesauce that was full of flavour...sugar, vinegar and spices.
To make the applesauce, using a bit of olive oil, cook until soft:
1/2 small onion, minced
Next add the spices:
1 cinnamon stick
1 start anise
2 small cloves of garlic, peeled
Cook for a couple of minutes, until you start to smell the spices.
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Stir to melt the sugar, and bring to a boil.
2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
Turn the heat down and simmer until the apples are soft enough to mash. Add a bit of water or apple juice if it gets too dry before the apples are soft enough.
Remove the spices from the sauce. Set the sauce aside until later, when it can be heated up to serve with the pork. When you start preparing the pork, pre-heat the oven to 350F.
In a food processor, combine:
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Pinch of ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
Pulse until the nuts are ground fairly fine. Pour into a dish, ready for breading the pork.
Set up a breading line with:
- seasoned flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- the pistachio crumbs
Place the pork into the flour, then the egg and lastly into the nuts, pressing to make sure they adhere.
Sear the pork in a hot pan, with a bit of olive oil.
When all sides are seared, place the pork into the oven to finish cooking.
Allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Serve the pork with the warm applesauce. I had roasted potatoes, carrots and cauliflower as well. Who needs gravy when you have applesauce?
- The applesauce can be made as a chutney, by adding more onion, some dried fruit such as raisins, and cooking it until the apples are soft but still retain their shape.
- The apples can also be roasted along with the pork. Peel, core and quarter them, and toss them in olive oil, brown sugar, ground cinnamon and cumin. After the pork has been seared, add the apples to the pan and cook in high heat to start caramelizing them. Place the apples into the oven with the pork to roast.
- Pears or quinces can be used instead of apples.
- If you have a purchased applesauce, which usually tend to be very smooth, add some chopped apples and the spices to it, and cook until the fresh apples are soft. If you added whole spices as I did, remove them before serving the sauce.
- As is the case when using nuts, any favourite nuts can be used. I am lucky enough that our grocery store sells raw, shelled, unsalted pistachios in bulk. If you can only find the roasted, salted nuts with shells on, peeling them is a bit of a hassle. Use a different nut. If you really do want to use these pistachios, rinse them under cold water to remove some of the excess salt and dry them on a low heat in the oven before grinding them.
- Other meats can be used...boneless pork chops, chicken breasts or salmon fillets.
- I had planned to make wraps with the leftover meat, but there was none left! If you do have leftovers, make a chutney mayo to use in the wrap with the pork.