Pork Loin and Apple Cider Dish
One of my favorite recipes when hosting company, this is a simple to make recipe for any level of experience. The sweetness of the maple syrup and cider combined with the savory pork ensure the lucky folks sharing your table will leave satisfied and impressed with your culinary skills.
Maple Syrup vs Honey
Brown sugar or honey, while respectable sweeteners, lack the sophistication and utility that maple syrup offers. Also, sometimes it is nice to switch it up and take your culinary game to the next level. You will often hear me echo this, almost any recipe that calls for honey or sugar, can be substituted with maple syrup. I know, I know, this is a maple syrup website and we are in the maple business, but don't take my word for it, try it yourself.
Grade B Maple Syrup
Ok, so we used to call it Grade B, but now we call it Very Dark Strong Taste/Baking. Over the last generation, the “Grade B” moniker has caused confusion and provided the connotation that it was in some way inferior. This left sugar makers everywhere having to endlessly explain that this is not the case. This syrup is simply a late season product with big, smooth maple flavor; at the Carman Brook Farm we also call it the “Baking” syrup.
Utilizing maple syrup as a key ingredient to your glaze provides a natural sweetener with a complex finish. That's why I recommend using the previously explained, Very Dark Strong Taste/Baking, the bolder flavor and maple taste we seek will remain at the completion of cooking. Let’s be honest, that’s why we’re here reading this recipe, to make a great pork dinner.
This recipe can be made with a pork roast, pork medallions, or chops. The true time saver here is that you can mix it up the day before or the day of your dinner. There's no need to spend unnecessary time in the kitchen, when you could be visiting with your guests. For this blog, I sliced two small boneless pork loins into medallions. I had two and a half pounds of pork and I doubled the original recipe because I like the extra juice for reserve. I pack and label it for the freezer. When I am looking for a soup starter or sauce for a stir fry, I pull it out and its ready to go.
Pork with Apples
This time around I used apple cider that my family made last fall. Two of my sons made an apple press and as a family we pressed apples from around the farm. We froze that cider in gallon jugs and have been enjoying it all winter long. Your local supermarket should have a few different options to support this recipe.
Ketchup and Mustard Mixed
I used Heinz Ketchup and my favorite dijon mustard, Maille. This Parisian mustard is a superb option and is always in supply at our house. We first tried it while honeymooning in Paris in 1989 and have stayed with it ever since. We brought several jars home and were incredibly pleased when we were finally able to purchase Maille mustard locally.
Adding all the ingredients together in the bowl, I whisked them together and poured them over the pork medallions. Marinate over night or a few hours.
Place them in the oven and bake on 375 degrees Fahrenheit until the pork is at least 145 and the sauce is nice and bubbly.
Since this is April in Vermont, I chose to garnish my pork dish with ramps. What are ramps? Well, also known as a wild leek it is a delectable alternative to green onions. If you live in a rural area where you can gain access to a deciduous forest, ramps are abundant during the spring. Our sugar woods have a bountiful supply of these garlicky, onion tasting wild vegetable. It is a delicious garnish to a perfect dish. Nothing pleases me more than using food harvested from our sugar woods.
Another Baking Option
My son likes to sear his pork in a cast iron pan and add the liquid to the pan and then pop the whole thing in the oven. Let us know your twist on this dish.
Recipe for Apple Cider Pork
2 lbs. pork (roast, chops, medallions)
1/3 cup Carman Brook Farm Very Dark Strong Taste/Baking Maple Syrup
1/3 cup apple cider
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. ketchup
Garnish to your liking with ramps, onions, chives, shallots or green tails.
- Mix syrup, cider, mustard, and ketchup. Pour over meat in baking dish.
- Marinate overnight, or at least a few hours prior.
- Bake at 375 degrees until pork is at least 145 degrees.
- Let rest 5 minutes, garnish and serve.
If you have leftover juice, skim off any fat, label and store it in the freezer. It is delicious when added to a bread stuffing, stir fry or a soup stock.