This recipe for Pork Loin with Pear-Cranberry Chutney from Health magazine contains some of my absolute favorite ingredients to cook with: leeks, bacon, dried cranberries, honey, and rosemary. Thrown all together along with a pear straight from my backyard they created an incredible medley of flavors.
I love to cook pork loin, but with the recent increase in meat prices, I have been much more selective when shopping for meat. Recently, a light bulb went off and I realized that half of a loin was more than enough for my small family and I could get two meals out of one pork loin, bringing the cost-per-meal down considerably. (I'm really not as slow-witted as this last sentence makes me out to be.) So after using half of the pork for Hog Wild Chili, I set aside the remainder to make this lovely dish later in the week.
While the pork loin was super tender and delicious, it really is just a vehicle for the chutney. Chutney is a revelation. I loved how the sweetness of the pear contrasted with the tartness of the cranberries. You could easily use a pork tenderloin or even chops here. Just make sure you sear the meat in order to develop some flavor in the skillet and finish it off in the oven to keep the meat moist.
Chutneys seem super exotic and complicated but are simple and rustic. Your basically just cooking down fruit with herbs and/or spices and some liquid until the mixture thickens and the flavors concentrate and intensify. I love how adaptable this recipe is. The original recipe called for apples and fresh cranberries but I substituted the pear and dried cranberries based on what I had and flavor preference.
Quick, easy, and pretty healthy, Pork Loin with Pear-Cranberry Chutney is an elegant dish that is delicious and is sure to impress your family and friends.
Pork Loin with Pear-Cranberry Chutney
adapted from Health, October 2011
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 (2 1/2 - 3 pound) boneless pork loin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 slices bacon, sliced into 3/8-inch thick pieces
1 medium leek, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
1 large pear, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon honey
1 small sprig fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Season pork with salt and pepper. Add pork to skillet, turning to brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet (reserve skillet); roast 45-55 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 155 degrees F. Remove from oven; transfer pork to a plate and tent with foil.
Meanwhile, add bacon to reserved skillet; cook over medium heat until bacon begins to crisp and fat has been rendered, about 3-4 minutes. Add leek and cook, stirring, until tender (about 8 minutes). Add pears, cranberries, honey, rosemary, lemon juice, and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered for 30 minutes or until pears partially break down and sauce thickens. Discard rosemary. Slice and serve pork with chutney.