Friday, March 15, 2013

Pork Loin with Apples and Onions

by Sheila Connolly

No, it's not Irish, but it does have apples.  Actually I had a rather funny conversation with a group of women at an Irish luncheon event I attended last weekend.  The main dish was corned beef--incredible mounds of very grey corned beef (nobody could finish the serving).  That's what you think about when you talk about Saint Patrick's Day, right?  Wrong.  All the (Irish-born) women agreed that they much preferred a nice pork shoulder for the day. (But they did say they preferred the grey corned beef to the red.)  So maybe that's the inspiration for this dish.

1 boneless pork loin roast (2-3 pounds)
Salt, preferably kosher
1 tablespoon fresh or dried thyme

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 medium onions, cut end to end into wedges
3 garlic cloves, minced

2 large baking apples, peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks
2/3 cup sparkling dry hard cider or non-alcoholic cider

Set the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, several grinds of pepper, and 2 teaspoons of thyme. Set the pork on a cutting board, pat dry with paper towels, tie into a neat cylinder with kitchen twine at 1 1/2-inch intervals, and rub all over with the salt mixture.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke (hot!). Place the roast fat side down in the skillet and brown well on all sides.

Reduce the heat and add the onions and garlic to the pan. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Turn the vegetables to coat with the oil, put the skillet in the oven, and roast for about 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and add the apples, 1/3 cup of the cider, and the remaining thyme. Toss the apples and onions to coat and turn the meat over; continue roasting until the center of the meat registers about 140 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 30-35 minutes longer (this will vary depending on the size and thickness of your pork).

Transfer the roast to a carving board, remove the twine, cover loosely with foil, and rest for 15 minutes. While the meat is resting, with a slotted spoon remove the onions and apples to a serving platter, cover loosely with foil, and keep warm.

Add the remaining 1/3 cup of cider to the skillet and reduce until the liquid is thickened. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper if necessary.

Cut the meat into 1/2-inch slices and arrange over the onions and apples on the serving platter. Pour the sauce over the meat and serve at once.

Fhéile Pádraig Shona duit

(Happy Saint Patrick's Day!)

Thank you to everyone who has helped make this a national bestseller!


  1. Thanks, Sheila! I am always looking for something new with pork tenderloin and this looks delicious - I can taste it! I've printed it out for St. Paddy's day. Salad will be the green.

  2. Happy St. Patrick's Day, Sheila! Thank you - not only for today's excellent recipe but your wonderful books and your delightful ongoing posts about your research into the food and culture of Ireland. Erin go Bragh!

  3. This looks wonderful, Sheila. Thanks! I love the combination of pork and apples.

  4. Erin go Bragh, indeed!
    Sounds like a winner. Thanks

  5. Sheila, at my grocery store this week, they actually placed heads of cabbage in the meat case -- I suppose to remind people to buy the beef with cabbage. I much prefer your dish. Pork loin with apples and onions! They're just made to go together. Wish I had been there for this yummy dinner!


  6. Sheila, looks delish! Can't wait to try this. Congrats again on your lovely success. Erin go braugh!

    Daryl aka Avery