Rekindle the Fire: Pork Tenderloin and Braised Red Cabbage

by zydecopaws on October 27, 2014

By now you all should have seen the Big Butz BBQ opening salvo in the Rekindle the Fire challenge I went on about a couple of weeks ago. And if you haven’t, why not? After all, I just gave you links to both…

Back now? Ok, on with the show. This week it was my turn, and in keeping with the rules of the challenge, I selected one of Tom’s primary ingredients (apples) and incorporated them in a dish of my choosing. Naturally, the name of the dish (Pork Tenderloin and Braised Red Cabbage) didn’t say anything about the apples, but trust me when I say they are in there.

Oddly enough, this meal required more prep and cooking time for the veggies and fruit than the meat. The first step was to prepare the braised red cabbage. I leveraged (copied, stole from, absconded, plagiarized, whatever…) several recipes on the web for German-inspired braised red cabbage and settled on the following list of ingredients and instructions.

Ingredients

  • 1 small head of red cabbage, thinly shredded
  • 1 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 large apple of the sour variety, peeled and cut into small chunks (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs. butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Process

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium to high heat.
  2. Stir in onions and cook until limp (but not quite translucent).
  3. Add red wine, cabbage and apples and mix thoroughly. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add brown sugar, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly.
  5. When liquid boils, reduce heat, cover, and let cook to desired tenderness (at least 30 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Here’s the end product still en pot (and complete with steam).

IMG 0476

One lesson learned from this cook is that certain ingredients (such as cider vinegar and cabbage) aren’t well suited for cast iron pots as they have a tendency to pick up some of the iron taste from the pot. Of course this might just mean that my CI is due for some much needed restoration and seasoning; either way I will be using enamel-on-steel next time I do this outside (or stainless steel if I cheat and use the indoor stove).

Once the cabbage was on the grill I prepared a spicy apple compote to top off the pork. Recipe is my own, based on years of watching homemade applesauce being made and a desire to spice it up a bit.

Ingredients

  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 1 tbs. brown sugar
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper

Process

  1. Melt butter over medium heat in small pot.
  2. Mix apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper in a separate bowl, stirring thoroughly.
  3. Add apple mixture to melted butter and stir.
  4. Cover and cook over medium to low heat until apples soften and begin to break down (about 20-30 minutes).

No pictures were taken of the apple compote coming off the grill, but I have to share a cool set of measuring spoons SWMBO picked up during the course of her travels to thrift stores and other proprietors of off-the-wall items.

IMG 0470

These measuring spoons are actually calibrated to dash, pinch, and smidgen. When I said I used a dash of cinnamon and cayenne in the compote, I was actually referring to a real measure.

At any rate, the pork tenderloin went on the grill at some point during the braising of the cabbage and simmering of the compote. Oddly enough, this was the simplest part of the cook, as I limited the rub to a dusting of salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and dried thyme. It was grilled until just done (145°F internal) and then left to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing. Once plated, we had something that looked like this.

IMG 0479

Other than the slight iron taste in the cabbage, this was an excellent meal enjoyed by all. The apple compote had a slight back-of-the-throat burn that went well with the juicy pork and sweet/sour taste of the braised cabbage. All in all, it was declared a “do again” meal that will likely be a favorite around here, especially during the colder (and wetter) months.

Now it is up to Tom to pick an ingredient from the three feature ingredients (pork tenderloin, red cabbage, onions) not used from his previous post and featured here (apples). It should be interesting to see what he comes up with…

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