Make Ahead

Pork Loin with Cider-Braised Leeks and Apples

January 26, 2012
1 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Like all the best recipes, this pork looks like more effort than it actually is. There are no fancy techniques here, no sudden movements. This dish will forgive you if you get distracted and walk away from the stove for a minute. Still, it looks pretty nice all plated up, either family-style on a serving platter or on individual dishes. The best part? The whole thing is done in an hour, so it’s certainly manageable on a weeknight. This dish also makes great leftovers: Pile some of the extra pork and relish (either hot or cold) on a potato bun and you’ve got yourself a very tasty lunch the next day. —Cristina Sciarra

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Cristina Sciarra is a Brooklyn-based blogger with a whopping 33 community picks to her name.
WHAT: A tried and true pork-and-apple combo whose simplicity belies just how good it is.
HOW: Sear a couple of pork loins and serve them with a rich pan sauce of apples, leeks, cider, and Cognac.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This one-pot wonder comes together quickly and simply—and the final product is a really excellent meal. You could easily get this on the table for dinner on a weeknight, but it's delicious enough (and pretty enough) for company. Just be sure to get a good sear on the pork, and serve it with lots of the sauce, which is lightly sweet from the apple and has a nice depth from the Cognac and hard cider. —Anna Francese Gass

What You'll Need
  • 2 boneless pork loins
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tall glass hard, dry apple cider
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Cognac
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 leek, quartered, sliced, and washed
  • 1 green apple, cored, peeled, and diced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  1. Take the pork out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking. Generously salt and pepper each side.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven until quite hot, over medium-high heat. Sear each loin for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until they are golden brown. Remove the pork to a plate.
  3. Deglaze the Dutch oven with the cider and the Cognac, making sure to scrape up all the brown bits. Add the brown sugar, and then let the cider reduce by half, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the onion and then the leek, and let them simmer away for about 5 minutes. Add the apple to the pot, and incorporate. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Toss in two sprigs of thyme, and then settle the pork loins on top of the onion, leek, and apple. Cover the Dutch oven with its lid completely, and cook for 20 minutes, or until the pork loin is just cooked through. Let the pork rest for 10 minutes before slicing it.
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    Danee Kaplan
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  • Cristina Sciarra
    Cristina Sciarra
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at

20 Reviews

Danee K. March 15, 2020
I used port loin- and only made one- but made the rest of the recipe as written. It was delicious.
Jane January 13, 2018
Even after reading the comments, I don’t think the pork is clear. Why not be more specific about the type, cut and weight of the pork?
Cristina S. January 13, 2018
You can use boneless pork chops, or pork tenderloin. (If using a tenderloin, look for one where the ends aren't too tapered or thin--you want the pork to cook at more or less the same rate.) Depending on how much sauce you like, this recipe can be made with between 1 and 1.5lbs or pork.
Jane January 13, 2018
Cristina-Thank you for your prompt response! It’s on the menu for this week!
Anonymous January 31, 2017
Im not sure how 2 pork chops serve 4 people. Can you still help clarify the meat issue?
BAE October 26, 2015
About how many pounds should each pork loin roast piece be (that is what you mean by a pork loin, isn't it? Or do you mean chops?)?
Cristina S. October 26, 2015
I'm sure it was labeled as "pork loin" at the butcher, but yes, boneless pork chops.
Jim F. October 26, 2015
I *was* having a hard time imagining 12 ounces of cider working with two 4-pound pork loins ...
MJ October 25, 2015
Thanks so much for the speedy reply!
I look forward to making it this week, and now know exactly what to purchase.
MJ October 25, 2015
What is "hard, dry apple cider?"
Does "hard" mean with alcohol?
Also, approx. how many oz?
Thank you...I am a very "literal" cook!
Cristina S. October 25, 2015
Yes, with alcohol, but not sweet. I'd say 6-8 ounces. :)
Cindy R. October 25, 2015
Can I use pork tenderloin instead of pork loin for this recipe?
Cristina S. October 25, 2015
I'm sure you can. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Cindy R. October 25, 2015
Thanks Cristina! I am looking forward to trying it!
drbabs October 23, 2015
Congratulations, Cristina! Delicious sounding recipe….maybe I can get my husband to try pork loin now….
Cristina S. October 23, 2015
Thanks, Barbara! Haha good luck!
Fiona M. October 23, 2015
BIZARRE question I know but:

Could I make these in little individual dutch ovens in the oven?
Cristina S. October 23, 2015
After step 4, I don't see why not!
QueenSashy October 23, 2015
Cristina, delighted to be in the finals with you! This is such a wonderful recipe and I look forward to making it soon. Best of luck!
Cristina S. October 23, 2015
Same to you, Aleksandra!!