cider roasted pork tenderloin

Pork that packs a punch

It was only a few years ago that I started appreciating pork tenderloin all because I kept seeing it in the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. Let’s face it- it’s not the most attractive piece of meat at the butcher’s shop and pork can be intimidating to cook. I regret that it took me so long to appreciate this cut of meat because it has become an absolute favorite of mine. I have three equally wonderful pork tenderloin recipes that I make, and each time I make one of them, it becomes my new favorite! Then I make one of the others, and that one becomes my favorite! The struggle to pick an actual favorite of the three is real! Currently though, I’m on the Cider Roasted Pork Tenderloin kick. It is so, so good! And it hits all my marks for a best recipe- Unique and surprising ingredients, make ahead, and insanely tasty. What’s not to love?

pork rub seasoning

It all starts with a mortal and pestle to grind up fennel seeds, peppercorns, coriander, and cinnamon. These spices might sound intimidating to some people, but they shouldn’t. This dish is totally approachable and the spices need to be strong to round out the sweetness of the hard cider and maple syrup.

After combining the spices with remainder of the ingredients, all you have to do it leave the pork to marinate in a large plastic bag for 8-24 hours. This means you can assemble this dish a full day in advance, which I think is awesome!

Charm them with Chutney.

cherry chutney in pan

However, every meat needs a sauce. Or in this case, a chutney. I tried Ina’s plum chutney and surprisingly, I really did not like it. At all. But I liked the texture and I get what she was going for. So I turned to one of my own recipes and the combination was truly spectacular. Cherry chutney- now that’s where it’s at! The chutney can also be made in advance, up to three days, so all you need to do is reheat slightly, and serve alongside the pork. Anyone can do that!

Bring it all together.

cider roasted pork tenderloin

It’s time to eat and all that needs to be done is to preheat your oven, pat dry the pork, and roast for 20 minutes. Reheat your chutney while the pork is resting, slice and serve. It doesn’t get much easier than that for such an elegant and impressive dinner.

This pork tenderloin recipe is truly very delicious, and easy! What a winning combo that is! If you like this recipe, you should also check out the recipe for Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Apple Chutney which, although more work and a bit more difficult, is also incredible superstar recipe.

The Recipes

Cider Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Course: entree
Cuisine: International
Keyword: pork
Servings: 4
Author: Ina Garten
  • 1 12-ounce bottle hard cider, such as Crispin
  • 1/4 cup pure Grade A maple syrup
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 pork tenderloins 1 to 1 1/4 pounds each, trimmed
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • Good olive oil
  • Chutney for serving
  1. Combine the cider, maple syrup, and 3 tablespoons of salt in a 4-cup glass measuring cup.
  2. With a mortar and pestle, grind the fennel, peppercorns, coriander, and cinnamon together and add to the cider mixture.
  3. Place the tenderloins in a 1-gallon Ziploc bag and pour in the marinade. Add the ginger and rosemary, squeeze the air out of the bag, seal, and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  5. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and dry them well with paper towels. Discard the marinade.
  6. Place the tenderloins on a sheet pan and rub them all over with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  7. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 125 degrees.
  8. Remove from the oven and cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Cut the tenderloins diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm with chutney.
Cherry Chutney
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1/4 cup small-diced shallots 1 large shallot
  • 1 1/4 pounds frozen pitted dark cherries – defrosted.
  • 1 Granny Smith apple peeled and 1/4-inch-diced
  • 0.25 cup dark brown sugar lightly packed
  • 0.25 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons Port wine
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary or more to taste
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper chili flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium (10-inch) ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat.
  3. Add the shallots and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.
  4. Add the cherries, apple, brown sugar, orange juice, Port, cinnamon, clove, mace, red chili pepper flakes, rosemary and salt.
  5. Bring to a boil on top of the stove, place in the oven, and roast for 25 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced and syrupy.
  6. Remove from the oven and discard the cinnamon stick. (Be careful of hot pan handle!) Mash the fruit roughly with a dinner fork.
  7. Let cool and store. (A mason jar is perfect for storing 3-5 days.)
Stuffed Turkey with Stuffing & cranberry sauce

Ah the classic Thanksgiving dinner – turkey, cranberry sauce & stuffing. Things we all know too well. However, I have never been overly excited by these things on their own. Between that fact, and my lifelong belief that every bite should be the best bite, I started a journey for the creating the best Thanksgiving bite many years ago.My first version of recreating Thanksgiving dinner into a single, delicious, perfect bite was making a ravioli stuffed with well seasoned turkey and cranberry sauce served in a light cream sauce. Super delicious. But a ton of work. (Still, I do love that recipe!)The next year, I moved on to what we started referring to as “Turkini’s.” Turkini’s are everything you want in your thanksgiving bite piled high on a crostini. And they are good! Really good! I toast slices of baguette, slather them with cranberry sauce, layer on turkey, followed by stuffing and smother with gravy. As single bite of thanksgiving deliciousness. The problem here is that Turkini’s are really an appetizer. You put them on a platter and pass them around. They also get cold pretty quickly. However, they are a serious crowd pleaser.Ahhh and then for two years in a row, the mother of them all- Thanksgiving pizza. Huge hit! HUGE! I thought I had it. Don’t get me wrong, I am never going to stop making Thanksgiving pizza because if I did, my friends would disown me. For realz. It is by far, the most talked about amongst them. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s the best of Thanksgiving dinner on a pizza! The problem here is similar to my Turkini issue- it’s an appetizer, or a party food. Which is great because we often host Black Friday parties. It’s perfect for serving around the fire pit or a late night surprise, but not for a dinner.I could not stop thinking about how much everyone loves these bites of delight that I have made over the years, but how no one ever talks about the dinner itself. I’m sorry but there is no such thing as a memorable roasted turkey, a platter of stuffing and a bowl of cranberry sauce. I want a WOW factor on my Thanksgiving table. And I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.I decided to try something. I had the idea to stuff turkey scallopini (fancy name for cutlets pounded very thin) with a buttery stuffing, cranberry sauce and a bit of parmesan cheese, roll, tie, cook and smother with gravy.I tested out several different versions (all of which were delicious).1) In my first attempt, I included provolone cheese, whole berry cranberry sauce, rolled long side in, and cooked only by pan searing in cast iron. Version one had very good taste, but the cheese oozes and if cooking multiple portions, the oozing cheese could create too much burn in the pan- not sure it’s worth it.

In this round, I also wasn’t sure about the whole berries, which are great but makes spreading and rolling inconsistent.  I also decided I had way too much stuffing and by rolling lengthwise, only one fit in pan comfortably and didn’t produce the spiral I was looking for. More work to be done.2) In version 2, I omitted the provolone and choose to use a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. (I think it helps add a bit of fat from the inside to help keep the turkey tasting delicious.) I also opted to try a jellied cranberry sauce with no whole berries thinking it would make rolling the turkeys easier.  I decided to try baking this round and while this is significantly easier than pan searing for a crowd, they just didn’t produce that gorgeous browning that searing gives you. I also decided that whole berries cranberry sauce is a an absolute must. Without them, the cranberry gets lost and absorbs too easily into the stuffing. It must be whole berried sauce. Which lead me to Version 3.3) In version 3, I went back to the whole berries and decided to again bake the turkey. However, I added another step and this was to reverse sear the turkey in a cast iron pan in a butter and cranberry reduction, to finish the dish. This not only added the golden color of deliciousness that I was looking for, but also an additional level of flavor. This was the winner. It came out absolutely perfect!4) In version 4, what I was looking to test was how far in advance I could prepare this dish. So I used up the rest of my ingredients and made about 6 portions. I wrapped each one in plastic wrap and into the fridge they went. The next day, I let the tray sit out to take the chill off just for a short while. (Cooking ice cold meat makes it seize up so always take the chill off before cooking.) Then into the oven they went, then reverse seared in the pan. The result was just as good, if not better than when made to order. This was very important to me because I like to always prepare as much of the meal as I can in advance.  After all, no one wants to watch you work with raw turkey!This dish will forever change Turkey dinner.I have to admit, I considered not even sharing this one! But it’s just too darn good not to. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family & friends do. Cheers!I made this a complete entree when served with shredded brussel sprouts and my make ahead mashed potatoes. It was a perfect meal.

I have also served this dish as an hors d’oeuvre using a toothpick through each piece. My friends went nuts! In appetizer form, it was named “turkey sushi” and we haven’t stopped talking about it since!

Turkey rollatini with stuffing & cranberry
Prep Time
1 d 30 mins
Cook Time
15 mins

Turkey scallopini stuffed and rolled with classic stuffing and cranberry sauce.

Course: entree
Cuisine: American
Keyword: stuffed turkey, thanksgiving, turkey
  • Turkey cutlets pounded thin
  • Your favorite premade, cooked stuffing (I like Whole Foods chicken stuffing)
  • Whole Berry Cranberry sauce
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Butter
  • Brown Gravy
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

  2. Pound turkey cutlets between two pieces of plastic wrap until very thin

  3. Season cutlet swith salt, pepper and spread on an even layer of cranberry sauce.

  4. Using a spoon and your fingers add and level out stuffing. Sprinkle with parmesan, if using.

  5. From the short side, roll tightly. If filling comes out, just let it go. It happens! Use butchers twine to tie in multiple locations. Season with salt and pepper. Brunch on a bit of cranberry sauce.

  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

  7. Remove from oven. Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter with 2-3 tablepsoons of cranberry sauce in a cast iron pan. When sizzling, add turkey rolls. Sear on each side for about 1-2 minutes each side so they glaze and brown.

  8. Let rest for no less than 5 minutes. Remove strings, slice on a slight with a very sharp knife and artfully plate. Smother with gravy or serve gravy on the side.

    Turkey Rollatini


Ihave been making Ina’s Herb Roasted Turkey Breast for at least ten years. Each and every time I make it I continue to be amazed at how delicious it is. As wonderful as roasting a whole turkey is (not!) there is simply no way to properly cook the legs and thighs without overcooking the breast. Since I really can’t bear to eat dry turkey, I turned to this recipe and never looked back.Over the years, I made two notable tweaks to Ina’s original recipe. The first is that I always double the amount of marinade she calls for. The second is that I always prep the turkey one day in advance so the flavors have time to really infuse the turkey meat.

The combinations of herbs create a really wonderful savory crust that somehow manages to penetrate the entire turkey. It is simply delicious! The hardest part is prepping the herbs you’ll need, which I think we can agree is more time consuming than it is difficult!

Look no further, this is simply the best turkey recipe and the only one you’ll ever need.

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
resting time
15 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 30 mins

Savory roast turkey breast is the only turkey recipe you'll ever need. 

Course: entree
Cuisine: American
  • 1 whole bone-in turkey breast 6 1/2 to 7 pounds
  • 2 tablespoon minced garlic 6 cloves
  • 4 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste. Loosen the skin from the meat gently with your fingers and smear half of the paste directly on the meat. Spread the remaining paste evenly on the skin. 

  2. Cover the turkey with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

  3. 1 hour before you are ready to cook, take the turkey out to come up closer to room temperature. 

  4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the turkey breast, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

  5. Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast. If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. When the turkey is done, cover with foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the pan juices spooned over the turkey.

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Slow Cooked Filet of Beef

This recipe for Slow Roasted Beef Tenderloin is by far, my most favorite special occasion meal to make. It is not only one of the easiest dishes I have ever made, but it is also sure to impress even the most critical of guests. (Hopefully you don’t have too many critics in your life!)

There are no tricks, fancy techniques or equipment needed to execute this recipe. All you need is a great cut of beef, some fresh tarragon and butchers twine. After that, the oven does all the work.

I have invented reasons to host special occasions just so I have an excuse to make this incredible beef tenderloin!

Every special meal deserves a special sauce.

Having made this beef tenderloin countless times, I can tell you that every-single-time, the results are simply beyond impressive.

I have tried many, many sauces to accompany this beef, but I always come back to the Ina Garten’s original recommendation for sauce which is a delicious Basil Parmesan sauce. When I don’t have the time or the ingredients to make this basil mayonnaise, I serve the beef with a delicious horseradish creme sauce or a good steak sauce such as Delmonico’s or Peter Lugers

Slow Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 25 mins
Resting time
15 mins
Total Time
1 hr 35 mins

This recipe for slow roasted beef will make you the star of the show! 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
  • 1 whole filet of beef tenderloin trimmed and tied (4 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 15-20 branches fresh tarragon
Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise
  • 2 extra large egg yolks, at room temperature (Organic is best)
  • 3 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt (may require 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

  2. Place the filet on a sheet pan and pat it dry (all over) with paper towels. Brush the filet all over with the oil, reserving about half a tablespoon. Sprinkle it all over with the salt and pepper.  Place the tarragon branches around the beef, tying them in 4 or 5 places with kitchen twine to keep them in place, and then brush the tarragon with the reserved oil.

  3. Roast the filet of beef for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until the temperature registers 125 degrees in the center for rare and 135 degrees for medium-rare. Cover the filet with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Slice thickly and serve warm or at room temperature. 

Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise
  1. In this order, place the basil, lemon juice, Parmesan, mustard, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper then the egg yolks, in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. 

  2. Process for 20 seconds, until smooth. Combine the sunflower oil and olive oil in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. With the processor running, slowly pour the oil mixture through the feed tube to make a thick emulsion. 

  3. Taste for seasonings – the mayonnaise is a sauce so it should be highly seasoned. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use; it will keep for up to a week.

Recipe Notes

Because the beef is slow roasted, the recipe can be adjusted to accommodate a small cut of beef without altering the time. Of course, keep an eye on it, but I have produced excellent results using varying size cuts. Simply, adjust your seasonings correctly. 

Recommended side sauces for serving are horseradish cream sauce or Ina’s Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise. 

prosciutto wrapped pork tenderloins

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.

This is a Five Star Recipe that will blow your taste buds away!

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. Our friend commented that we couldn’t have had a better dish out at the best restaurants in town. And my husband 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.

Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloins with Apple Chutney
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Resting Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins

This recipe for Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloins from Ina Garden is a five star recipe that is guaranteed to blow your taste buds away! The salty prosciutto pairs so well with the complex zing of the apply chutney.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: International
Servings: 4
  • 2 pork tenderloins 2½ to 3 pounds total
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Good olive oil
  • 10 to 12 slices prosciutto
  • Apple Chutney see recipe
Apple Chutney
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 4 oranges
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and ½-inch-diced
  • ¾ cup raisins
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

  2. Place the tenderloins on a sheet pan and pat them dry with paper towels. Combine the rosemary, thyme, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Rub the tenderloins all over with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle all sides with the herb mixture. If there is a thinner “tail,” fold it underneath so the tenderloin is an even thickness throughout. Wrap the tenderloins completely with a single layer of prosciutto. (I place the prosciutto sideways with the ends wrapping under the tenderloins.) Tie in several places with kitchen string to hold the prosciutto and the “tail” in place.

  3. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the middle of the end of the tenderloin reads 140 degrees for medium rare and 145 degrees for medium. Cover the tenderloins tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice diagonally in thick slices and serve warm with the Apple Chutney.

Apple Chutney
  1. Combine the onion, ginger, orange juice, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, and salt in a medium-size saucepan. Add the apples, adding them as you chop to keep them from turning brown. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 50 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the raisins and serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

spiced apple chutney

Chutneys are awesomely delicious. They are sweet, but not sweet like a traditional jam. Chutney has a savory components as well which balance it, makes it more versatile, and much more interesting to taste. Chutney’s texture is also unlike it’s cousin in that it is more chunky than jam, which brings some texture to the palate party.

Enjoyed all around the world, chutney is most commonly associated with Indian and African cuisines, and can be traced as far back to it origin sometime around 500 AD. (So the Google tells me.) It was at that time that the Romans introduced chutneys to European tables, which is actually where I fell in love with chutney. (English countryside. 17 years old. A picnic with my aunt and uncle. Cheddar and Chutney. Game over.)

Where as in India, the Caribeean, Africa and other parts of the world, Chutneys are often served with vegetables, meats and fishes. Europeans do it a little differently, often seen included on a cheese & charcuterie platters. Cheese and Chutney folks- that’s the good life right there.

The Chutney recipe is a fantastic one and extremely easy to make. I found it in Ina Garten’s cookbook to accompany one of the best pork recipes in the world. (yes, you read that right- I said best pork recipe in the world.)

The flavors were absolute perfection. Savory, spicy, sweet. It is amazing how good this chutney is. The recipe below yielded about 2.5 pint size mason jars, which would mean you would likely get about 5-6 jelly jars out of it, making a great food gift for friends and neighbors.

No question, the pork and apple chutney is superb. But what I really like to do with this chutney is serve it with a really great quality English cheddar. Mmmm….it’s just so good.  You will simply be amazed at how the flavors come together and elevate each other. Your taste buds will thank you after this bite.

Spiced Apple Chutney
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins

Sweet, Savory and Spicy! This chutney is perfect to serve with a sharp cheddar cheese or your favorite pork chop recipe.

Course: Side Dish, Snack
Servings: 10
Author: Adapted from Ina Garten
  • 6 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and half-inch diced
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 2 oranges
  • 3/4 cup good cider vinegar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon whole dried mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  1. Combine the apples, onion, ginger, orange juice, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, pepper flakes and salt and in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to simmer and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  2. Set aside to cool and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe Notes

This recipe makes approximately 2.5 pint size mason jars. 

chicken with 40 cloves of garlic

We have a screened-in porch and after ten years, we finally gave it some much needed attention.  We worked hard at some serious DIY projects and together, we added a pallet wall to the porch, hung hammocks, and built our very own farmhouse style table.  We turned it into the porch we always wanted.

Finally, after months of hard work, it was time for Feast & Merriment with friends and neighbors. The inaugural dinner was one I gave great thought to.  I wanted to create the feeling of being on a farm in France, enjoying intensely flavorful comfort foods, and sipping delicious wines with friends. (Granted, I have yet to make it to the country side of France, but this is what I picture in my head. So I’ll just roll with it.) I finally decided that the star of the evening would be Ina Garten’s Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic.

The evening, and the chicken, were simply divine. I recommend this recipe for a special occasion served with a rich and buttery chardonnay.

Feaster’s tips for this recipe:

    • This is a wonderful recipe, but before you commit to it, you should know that it is an intermediate level recipe and a good amount of work to prepare. You need to commit to it and be sure to carve out enough time.
    • Double or triple the sauce. You won’t regret it.
    • Factor in extra clean up time for after searing off all the chicken- it splatters, takes longer than you think and not something you want to do with company in your kitchen. Once you get past that step, you’ll be on your way!  I recommend searing the chicken, setting it aside, cleaning up, re-grouping, and then you’ll be on your way.

Ina's Chicken with Forty Cloves
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
  • 3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
  • 2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
  • 1.5 cups dry white wine
  • 1 tbs fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbs heavy cream
  1. Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.

  2. Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.

  3. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, saute the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don't want to pierce the skin with a fork.

  4. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium. When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches. 

  5. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. 

  6. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. 

  7. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.

  8. Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

  9. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot.

  10. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. 

  11. Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful

  12. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.

Recipe Notes

Be sure to serve the chicken with a nice, crusty bread to soak up any remaining sauce. Trust me, you will want to. 

There are some aromas that come from the kitchen that permeate a house and bring comfort to the soul. Roasted chicken, mulled wine and applesauce are among my favorites. When I was growing up, my mom made applesauce every fall when apples were found everywhere in New York state. I’ve kept the tradition alive and I honestly have no idea why I don’t make it all year long! I guess only making it during the fall is what makes it special.Homemade apple sauce couldn’t be easier to make, and there isn’t a person, of any age, who won’t be scraping the bottom of the jar.All you need to do is find some fresh, crisp apples, peel, core and toss them in a heavy bottomed pot. Add about a quarter cup of water, a pinch of cinnamon, and pinch of sugar. Then walk away and let the smell of simmering apples fill your home.

Occasionally, give it a stir. Add more water if needed just to keep it from burning. As it breaks down, you can smash with a potato masher to help it along. That’s it. Its done. Taste for seasoning.

If you prefer a smooth apple sauce, you can puree it with an immersion blender. If you like it chunky, just stop cooking it when reaches your desired level of chunkiness. It’s all about your preference.

Homemade applesauce is one of those simple, culinary joys in life, that I am most grateful for. Thanks Mom!

Total Time
2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
  • 6 cups apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar (optional if you prefer enhanced sweetness)
  1. In a heavy bottomed pot (or whatever saucepan you have) combine apples, water and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over medium, to  medium-high, heat.  Reduce heat, and simmer. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. 

  2. If the sauce is starting to stick, add a 1/4 cup of water as needed. 

  3. Once apples have broken down, you can help them along with a potato masher, if desired. If you are seeking a smooth consistency, use an immersion blender. 

  4. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Different apple types have different sugar content so if more sweetness is needed, stir in some sugar and let it cook for another 5-10 minutes on low. (Sugar is rarely needed but it is a preference.)

Baby Back Ribs

It’s a good night for Feast & Merriment when Baby Back Ribs are on the menu.

I’m a big fan of pork. All of it- bacon, chops, tenderloin, shanks, shoulder. I like it fresh, I love it cured. Above all, coming in on the top as my favorite cut are Baby Back Ribs. I can’t resist them (when they are cooked right).  And I’m not the only one.  You know you love them too!

Baby Back Ribs
I like to slice the ribs into individual ribs before cooking, (sometimes in sets of two) and serve on a large, family style platter.
This makes it not only easy to serve to a crowd, but easy for people to eat.

The trick to making Baby Back Ribs is to cook them low and slow for about 3 – 3.5 hours so you do need to plan ahead.  However, you can make them a day in advance which is helpful when you are planning to feed a crowd. 

If serving ribs as the primary main course, I estimate 8-10 ribs per person. If serving with other items at a gathering, I estimate about 3 ribs per person.

Let’s talk sides.

When serving 2-4 people with ribs as the main course, I like to serve Mac & Cheese as the side dish. (Who can resist ribs with mac & cheese? Not this girl!) When serving to a larger crowd such as at a barbecue, I keep it simple and serve cold or room temp side dish such as Potato Salad with Summer Herbs and Vinaigrette or Corn & Basil Salad

Feaster’s Tip: How to make Ribs in advance

  • If you want to serve individual ribs rather than racks, slice the ribs into individual ribs and cover with dry rub seasoning. Do the same with racks.
  • Line a sheet of foil with a piece of parchment paper. (I don’t like when food touches tin foil. It sticks, effects the flavor and studies have been done regarding health impacts.)
  • Reassemble the ribs like a puzzle into their original half or full rack formation on the parchment and then wrap tightly into the foil packet.
  • Cook according to instructions. Let cool and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • When ready to serve, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lay ribs on a parchment lined baking sheet (for easy clean up) and baste ribs with your favorite Barbecue sauce. Bake for about 8-10 minutes until heated through.
  • Pile high on a serving plater and serve with extra sauce on the side.

How to make Baby Back Ribs!

Oven Baked BBQ Baby Back Ribs

These oven baked BBQ ribs will having coming back for seconds

  • Baby Back Ribs
  • BBQ Sauce (I recommend Sweet Baby Ray’s original BBQ Sauce)
  • Homemade or store bought rub
  1. Flip the ribs upside down and check to see if the membrane is still in tact. If so, slide a knife under the back membrane until you can rip it back. With a paper towel, grab it and pull. It should come right off. (If you do not know how to do this, there is a video linked below.)

  2. Portion your ribs into your preferred serving sizes.

  3. Cover the ribs in your favorite rub or make one of your own.

  4. Optional: Wrap ribs in plastic wrap and place on a dish in the refrigerator overnight to marinate.

  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

  6. Lay out a sheet of foil and line it with a piece of parchment paper. Wrap ribs tightly into a packet.

    packets of foil
  7. Place packet(s) in a single layer on the sheet pan and bake at 325 oven for 1 hours, 15 minutes and then lower temp to 275 and bake for another 1.5 – 1.75 hours.

  8. If serving immediately, remove from foil, coat with BBQ sauce and broil for about 5 minutes to caramelize the sauce. Serve with extra BBQ sauce on the side.

    If serving later, let cool and refidgerate. When ready to serve, coat with BBQ sauce and bake in a preheated oven at 400F for about 10 minutes or until heated through. Serve with extra BBQ sauce on the side.

    Baby Back Ribs
Recipe Notes

How to remove the membrane from Ribs:

Watch Video