A flavorful favorite for friends
It’s no secret that Ina Garten, or otherwise known as “The Barefoot Contessa” is an inspiration to me. Her cookbooks are full of reliable recipes that “wow.” I found the recipe for Herbed Pork Tenderloins with Apple Chutney in her “Make it Ahead” cookbook, and what was unusual was that it wasn’t featured on Food Network, as almost all her recipes are. So I had no reviews to read, which is usually the first thing I do before committing to making a new recipe. Feeling up for the risk, I decided to go for it right out of the cookbook without a single review in mind.
The end result was that this dish turned out to be, hands down, one of, if not the best, meals I’ve ever made.
I had a small struggle deciding how perfect to try to get the prosciutto around the tenderloins, but eventually I decided that a rustic approach would do just fine. That was the most difficult part of the recipe and that just comes down to technique. After I had the tenderloins prepared, I wrapped them in plastic and tucked them in the fridge. Then I got to work on the Apple Chutney.
The chutney came recommended by Ina to serve with this pork, and unlike the pork, there were reviews for the chutney recipe, and the reviews had me skeptical. But, when Ina says make the chutney with the pork, you make the chutney with the pork. So chutney I made. I did something I rarely do and that is deviate from the recipe. Inspired by the wise words of Alton Brown, “Raisins are always optional.” In this house, we tend to agree. So I omitted the raisins. No regrets. Folks, let me tell you about this chutney. It-is-very-special. The ginger adds a zing to this salty, sour, sweet, spicy, savory jam. It is, without a doubt, the last chutney recipe I will ever turn to. I will be making this chutney for the rest of my culinary life. That pretty much sums up how I feel about the chutney. The recipe produced 2.5 pint size mason jars from Ina’s recipe. It stores well in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks and also freezes well.
The following day I invited a friend over for Sunday dinner to test out the meal as a whole. I took the pork out of the fridge and brought it closer to room temperature and then followed the cooking instructions. I warmed the chutney slightly in a non stick sauce pan, just to take the chill off.
After the pork was cooked and rested, I used a sharp carving knife to slice on a diagonal in 1 inch – 1.5 inch slices. the The pork plates beautifully. My recommended side dish is Roasted Potatoes and/or Roasted Brussel Sprouts.
It was time to dine. We were a table of three and for the next 30 minutes all we could do was eat this dish, and talk about eating this dish. One friend commented that we couldn’t have had a better dish out at the best restaurants in town. (Wow! What a compliment!) My second guest said it was his new favorite meal, topping his love for Slow Roasted Beef Tenderloin. And I agreed with them both.
Since that first time I have made this meal over half a dozen times and each and every time, it is simply outstanding.