Visually stunning, aromatic, lean and healthy, this menu will become your new “go-to” menu when company is coming for dinner. Two homemade condiments make this dish a wowee, wowee entree. They are Apple Cider Molasses and Onion Jam.
Apple cider molasses is made by boiling down a gallon of apple cider until it is thick and syrupy. It has a surprisingly bright sweet tart flavor,which is fantastic with pork. Very simple to make, it lasts for months in the fridge. Next time I make it, I think I will preserve it in small canning jars to make it last even longer.
The onion jam is also simple to make, but a bit of a pain in the eye to peel all those onions. I like to make a big batch so I have it on hand for recipes like this. But you can try a small batch for the first time, to see if you really like it.
I peeled eight large sweet onions and chopped them using my food processor. I did a rough chop. The onions are then, slow cooked in a big saute pan with a little butter, some salt and a splash of vinegar. After about an hour and a half the onions will be reduced to a thick, jam-like consistency. Thanks to the vinegar, the jam lasts a long time in the fridge. You can use this jam in so many ways; with cream cheese on crackers or crostini, baked with chicken, pork or beef, on pizza or pasta, used in marinades, etc.
For this pork recipe, I made a marinade with olive oil, the cider molasses, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Fresno chili peppers (red jalapenos), salt and pepper, and herbs. After marinading, I grilled the pork tenderloins. I reserved the marinade for a finishing sauce. I added some onion jam to the marinade and cooked it down until it was thick. I like to add a small pat of butter at the end for glossiness. The end result is a savory sauce with a hint of sweet, balanced with the tartness from the cider molasses, a little bit of heat for excitement and made rich by the caramelized onions. You can see from the picture how beautiful the sauce looks on the sliced tenderloin. For a detailed recipe click here.
And just to take this menu over the top, I served this gorgeous fennel, orange and beet salad. The flavors in this salad compliment the pork beautifully. The salad has roasted beets, fresh sliced raw fennel, orange segments and toasted walnuts. The dressing is made with orange juice, rice vinegar, and a splash of canola oil. The trick to keeping this salad looking its best, is to dress the fennel separately from the beets. Then, ever so gently, mix the two. Otherwise the red beet juice turns the whole salad red. It is much prettier when you can see the contrast of the white fennel, the orange segments and the red beets. Finish it by zesting a bit of orange peel on top. For a detailed recipe click here.
To round out this fabulous company menu, I prepared creamy polenta with sage butter. I prepared the polenta according to the package directions. Then, I added fresh chopped sage leaves that had been sauteed in butter. Of course, I added the butter as well!