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
Take the pork out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking. Generously salt and pepper each side.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 theroamingkitchen.com.