3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
6 shallots, cut in half
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons course ground mustard
Bring 3 cups of cider, salt, pepper, and coriander to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the ice, and cool completely. Transfer the brine to a large zip top bag, add the pork loin, and refrigerate for 8 hours.
30 to 45 minutes before you’re ready to cook, remove the pork from the brine, dry with paper towels, and let sit at room temperature.
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 375 degrees and melt the butter and oil over medium heat in a large oven safe frying pan or dutch oven. Add the pork and brown it on all sides. Transfer the pork to a platter and cook the shallots and apples for 5 to 10 minutes until they begin to brown lighly.
Return the pork to the pan, add the remaining 1 cup of apple cider, and cook until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center of the pork registers 155 degrees. Transfer the pork to your serving platter and cover with foil for 10 minutes.
Return the pan to the stove top, add the bourbon (if using), and allow the sauce to reduce slightly. Whisk in the mustard, add salt and pepper to taste, and thin with additional apple cider if desired.
Serve slices of the pork topped with the apple shallot sauce.
The Mistah and I have been swimming in an ocean of paperwork and bureaucratic red tape. Forms. Inspections. Interviews. It’s enough to leave me drained and uninspired at the end of the day. Which means that my tolerance for fussy dinners is at an all time low. Right now I want uncomplicated. I want comfort.
There are a lot of dishes I could choose that meet that criteria. But from a perspective of economy…of effort, of money, and of return on investment…braised lentils are my clear winner. Brown the bacon, chop and saute the veg, add lentils and liquid, and walk away for an hour.
Now, during that hour I may be trying to untangle some of the red tape or get to the bottom of the seemingly endless stack of forms. But when the timer goes off, I can forget about all of that and sink into a bowl of beautifully braised lentils. It’s like my lifejacket in the ocean of paperwork.
Adapted from Elizabeth Bard, Lunch in Paris
BAH Note: I mostly eat lentils with salad greens but I like Elizabeth’s suggestion of topping them with a dollop of sour cream and serving it with a pan fried or broiled salmon fillet.
1 cup french green lentils
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 1/2 to 3 cups chicken broth
1/4 pound bacon, cut into lardons
Cook the bacon lardons in a dutch oven set over medium heat until well browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to a small bowl and set aside.
Add the carrot and onions to the bacon drippings in the dutch oven and cook for approximately 10 minutes until the vegetables start to become tender and the onion is translucent. Add the lentils to the dutch oven and stir them to completely coat them in bacon drippings. Add the broth, stir to combine, then partially cover the dutch oven and let the lentils cook on low heat until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, approximately one hour.
Add the bacon to the lentils and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste and finish with a light drizzle of olive oil.