When I think of a special Valentine’s dinner, my first choice is often beef tenderloin but this year when everyone has budget concerns I'm substituting pork. Pork tenderloin, a lean, healthy cut of pork is just the right size for two servings. Let it stand 5 minutes after roasting so that the juices are absorbed. The pork and the sweet potatoes bake at the same temperature and require about the same time. Add a simple salad and dinner is complete.
Pork Tenderloin with Cinnamon Scented Sweet Potatoes and Apples
Makes 2 servings
1 (3/4 lb.) pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1 sweet potato (about 12 oz.), peeled and sliced
1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
1 tablespoon cold butter
Combine the mustard, maple syrup, vinegar, salt and pepper if a food storage bag and mix. Add pork. Seal the bag and let stand 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry. Place on a rack in a small baking pan. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until meat reaches 160 degrees F. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and let meat stand 5 minutes before slicing.
While the pork is baking, lightly spray a 1-quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the sweet potatoes and apples in the bottom. Sprinkle with the orange juice.
Combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the sweet potatoes. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Keep warm.
A digital thermometer with a probe is the easiest way to have perfectly cooked meat and well worth the investment. Because the incidence of trichinosis is almost nonexistent, pork no longer needs to be cooked until well done. Insert the probe into the center of the meat. Cooking to 160 degrees F. results in juicy tender pork.