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I grew up on a farrow to finish farm. We birthed the pigs and raised them until they were old enough for the market. This gave me a very real “Circle of Life” experience and at a young age, I always knew where babies came from. This also meant that we ate pork at many meals. Our deep freezers were always full of different cuts of pork. Mom was such a whiz with all of them, bless her heart! Roasted pork tenderloin, grilled pork chops, sausage, pork burgers: the list of her creations, experiments, and failures (only sparingly!) goes on and on. To her credit, a menu was always planned around what meat we were planning to have.
In my own grown-up life, I don’t really cook like this as often as Mom did. I find myself more vegetable-centered most of the time, reserving the preparation of a meat dish for special occasions or when friends are headed my way for the evening. When I do prepare meat as a main dish, I want to make sure it’s enjoyed to the fullest, flavored and cooked to perfection.
A roasted pork tenderloin is one of my favorite cuts, probably because it’s the most tender part of the loin. And it cooks quickly, which is a total plus in my book. For this recipe, I wanted to really drive home the idea of the fall season, so what better to pair with the pork than a mixture of apples and squash. While they take different roasting times, when these three are paired together, they’re such a delicious mixture of sweet and hearty.
Plus, wait until you try the spice rub. It’s made of the usual suspects, but I added a pop of warmth with the addition of cinnamon. It’s like fall knocked on the front door and invited itself to the table! And I definitely said, “come on in!”
You can totally have this meal ready in way less than two hours for a special occasion or on an ordinary weeknight.
Watch how to make this roasted pork tenderloin:
If you love the idea of this recipe, you may also love some of my other fall main dish recipes:
- Squash and chickpea tacos served with a chipotle slaw
- Chipotle squash soup
- Roasted pepitas – they’re so good and so easy to make!
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Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Squash
- 3 lb squash 1 large or 2 small
- 2 lb apples 4 large
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 lb pork tenderloin cut into 1-pound pieces
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the spice blend
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon
For the pan sauce
- ½ cup apple cider
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Peel the squash, slice in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut into 1/2-inch slices and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix to evenly coat the squash with the oil and spread in an even layer. Add the thyme sprigs. Roast in the preheated oven until the squash just begins to become tender, 20 minutes.
- While the squash is roasting, prepare the tenderloin. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cinnamon. Stir to combine and sprinkle all over the dry tenderloins. Rub into the meat, picking up any fallen bits.
- In a large 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Once the oil is shimmering and hot, sear the tenderloin until browned all around, about 3-5 minutes on all four sides. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Cut apples into quarters and remove the core. After removing the core, cut each quarter in half again.
- When the squash is just beginning to become tender, remove from the oven and add the apples. Stir to combine and spread in even layer. Add seared tenderloin on top of squash and apples, adding any juice that gathered under the meat.
- Continue to roast until the apples are tender and the pork registers 145°F, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
- While resting, prepare pan sauce. Heat skillet over medium-high for 2 minutes. Add apple cider and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and scrape the browned bits from the bottom. When the apple cider is reduced by half, about 3 minutes, turn off the heat and whisk in the Dijon mustard and butter. Whisk until smooth.
- Cut pork and pour the pan sauce over the cut pieces. Serve with the squash and apples.