The inspiration for this Spanish spin on pork and apples comes from “Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America” by José Andrés. This version from Milk Street uses pork tenderloins that get a stovetop sear and finish in the oven on a bed of lightly sautéed onion and Granny Smith apple. The onion-apple mixture softens to a jammy relish-like accompaniment that is accented with smoked paprika and dry sherry. It’s a rich, woodsy complement to slices of the mild, meaty tenderloin.
We cooked only one tenderloin for the two of us which provided three servings of meat. The amount of ingredients for the sauce was kept the same because we prefer things saucy. Our accompaniments were roasted butternut squash cubes and a simple side salad. The flavors of the meal were outstanding!
Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloins with Apple, Sherry and Smoked Paprika
2 1¼-lb. pork tenderloins, trimmed of silver skin and halved crosswise
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. salted butter, divided
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, halved, cored and cut into ½-inch-thick wedges
5 sprigs thyme
½ cup dry sherry
¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives
Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. In a small bowl, mix together 1 teaspoon of paprika and 1½ teaspoons salt. Rub the mixture onto all sides of the pork.
In an oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Place the pork in the skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a large plate.
Add 1 tablespoon of butter, the onion and apple to the skillet. Cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Distribute the mixture in an even layer, then scatter on the thyme. Place the pork on top, add any accumulated juices and transfer to the oven. Roast until the center of the thickest piece of tenderloin reaches 135°F or is just slightly pink when cut into, 9 to 12 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the oven; the handle will be hot. Using tongs, transfer the pork to a cutting board and tent with foil. Add the sherry, broth and the remaining 1 teaspoon paprika to the pan, then cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened, about 4 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, then remove and discard the thyme. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and stir until melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onion-apple mixture to a serving platter, leaving the liquid in the pan. Thinly slice the pork and arrange over the onion-apple mixture. Drizzle the pan liquid over the meat and sprinkle with the chives.
A rare cool, rainy Sunday afforded us the opportunity to cook a slow braised dish for a summer dinner. While thumbing through several favorite cookbooks, I happened upon this Roman Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Cloves in Milk Streets “The New Rules” by Courtney Hill.
The “new rule: don’t sear your meat” goes against something we typically do, brown our meat beforehand. But because you cook it uncovered for the last hour or so, the meat will brown at the end of the process.
Pot roast comes to mind with this meal, and in Rome, cloves are used to flavor the dish known as “Garofolato di Manzo alla Romana” because cloves are called chiodi di garofano. Here, the earthy, subtly smoky and slightly bitter flavor of cloves complements the natural sweetness of onion, fennel and tomatoes.
Milk Street advises not to use ground cloves that have gone stale, as they won’t add much flavor or fragrance to the braise. If your cloves have been in the pantry for more than a few months, uncap and take a whiff. The aroma should be sharp and strong. If not, pony up and get a new jar.
Unlike pot roast where you cook the large piece of meat whole, the beef is cut into chunks and simmered as a stew resulting in succulent meat throughout. Polenta is an excellent accompaniment for absorbing the flavorful sauce. In a unique pairing, we wedded the meat with another Milk Street recipe Spanish Green Beans with Ham, Almonds and Smoked Paprika.
This recipe is an adaptation of the remarkably delicious green beans from Extremadura, Spain, home of pimentón, aka Spanish smoked paprika. For perfectly crisp and tender beans, cooking techniques are combined. You start by searing the veggies in a hot pan to develop browning and flavor. Then add water and a tight fitting lid to steam them until tender. Voila!
6-7 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
¾ tsp. ground cloves
kosher salt and ground black pepper
4 oz. pancetta, roughly chopped
6 med. garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 med. yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 med. fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, cored and thinly sliced
28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Place the beef in a large bowl and season with the cloves, 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons pepper.
In a large Dutch oven over low, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until sizzling and the fat has begun to render, about 5 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the pieces begin to brown, another 7 minutes.
Add the garlic, onion and fennel, then increase to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and translucent, about 6 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Stir in the beef, then cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hours.
Remove the pot from the oven. Stir, then return to the oven uncovered. Cook until a skewer inserted into a piece of beef meets no resistance, another 1 to 1½ hours.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a medium bowl. With a wide spoon, skim off and discard the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid, then bring to a boil over medium-high, scraping up any browned bits. Cook until the liquid has thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, 10 to 12 minutes.
Stir in the thyme, then return the beef to the pot. Reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is heated through, about 5 minutes.
Spanish Green Beans with Ham, Almonds and Smoked Paprika
First, the almonds. Begin by toasting them in olive oil to deepen their nutty flavor, then add the garlic and thinly sliced serrano ham, cooking the mixture until the meat crisps and the garlic is fragrant. Then remove that mixture from the pan and add the green beans and char them in the flavorful fond left behind.
For the final flourish of smoked paprika, first deglaze the pan with another 1⁄4 cup water, scraping up any remaining flavorful bits, then remove the pan from the burner and stir the spice in off heat. This preserves the paprika’s smoky aroma, resulting in a pan sauce that is as quick as it is deeply smoky-savory.
Don’t stir the beans too often after adding them to the pan. Stirring only a few times allows the beans to take on some char that adds flavor the finished dish. If you’re entertaining more than four people with the braised beef dinner, you’ll want to double this bean recipe.
My mistake here was using a nonstick skillet so the beans didn’t get as good a sear as I wanted. But in the end since there were no browned bits left in the pan, there was no reason to perform Step 5. Instead, I just sprinkled the smoked paprika right onto the finished beans, stirred and served. OMG, so friggin’ good!!
Spanish Green Beans with Ham, Almonds and Smoked Paprika
2 oz. thinly sliced serrano ham or prosciutto, sliced into ¼-inch-wide ribbons
2 med. garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. green beans, trimmed and halved
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
½ tsp. smoked paprika
In a 12-inch skillet (don’t use nonstick) over medium, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the almonds and cook, stirring often, until lightly golden, about 2 minutes.
Add the ham and garlic and cook, stirring, until the ham crisps and the garlic is fragrant, another 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.
To the same skillet over medium-high, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and heat until smoking. Add the beans and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring only a few times, until the beans are lightly charred, about 4 minutes.
Return the ham-almond mixture to the pan and add ¼ cup water. Cover, reduce to low and cook, occasionally shaking the pan, until the beans are tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving dish.
Set the skillet over medium-high and add ¼ cup water. Bring to a simmer and cook, scraping up the browned bits, until the liquid has reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the paprika. Drizzle the sauce over the beans and serve.
In the Extremadura region of Spain that is home to pimentón de la vera, or Spanish smoked paprika, one is taught that exposure to high heat blunts the spice’s unique earthiness, smokiness and notes of fruit and tobacco. Tobacco?? Not really a term I would use to wax poetic about food, but read on…
In Extremadura, cooks know that with smoked paprika, timing is everything. This recipe illustrates how to best preserve pimentón’s unique flavors when searing is involved: the paprika is mixed with olive oil and then brushed onto butterflied and pounded pork tenderloin only after the meat has been browned in a hot skillet.
BTW, Spanish smoked paprika is available in different degrees of spiciness. For this dish, if you have the choice, opt for sweet (dulce) or bittersweet (agridulce). With only a handful of ingredients this dish comes together in no time.
One large tenderloin sufficed for just the two of us, plus we still had leftovers. However, we did not scale back on the paprika oil mixture, and used every scrap of it to douse the meat.
NOTE: Don’t use a heavy hand when pounding the pork, which can result in tears and uneven thickness. And when pounding, work from the center of the piece outward to the edges. We also find it helpful to lodge the meat between plastic wrap, which helps prevent tearing and promotes an even thickness.
Seared Pork Tenderloin with Smoked Paprika and Oregano
In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, smoked paprika, dried oregano and sugar; set aside.
Halve each tenderloin crosswise, then halve each piece lengthwise, stopping about ¼ inch short of cutting all the way through; open the meat like a book. Place meat on top of a long piece of plastic wrap and fold over to cover meat.
Using a meat pounder or mallet, pound the pork to an even ¼-inch thickness, then season each piece all over with ½ teaspoon salt.
In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of neutral oil until shimmering. Place 2 pieces of pork in the pan and cook undisturbed until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the seconds sides are browned, 1 to 2 minutes.
Lightly brush paprika oil onto each piece, then flip the pork and brush the second sides. Sear each side again for about 30 seconds, then transfer to a platter.
Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil and pork. Brush the remaining paprika oil onto the pork, then let rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the fresh oregano.