You’ve got to love a meal that can help turn the “picky kid” tide. Avery, my youngest daughter, claims that she hates pork. That’s really a bummer, because the rest of us enjoy it, so when I have pork of any sort for dinner, she’s usually a little (or sometimes a lot) pouty. She’s starting to step out of her comfort zone lately at dinner, and I couldn’t be happier! If you have ever parented a picky eater, you know EXACTLY the happiness I’m talking about. It really is one of the greatest parenting triumphs EVER.
So, when Avery saw that I was making this for dinner last night, she was none too pleased. But…she didn’t complain, and she decided to try it like a champ. You know what? She said, and I quote, “Mom, this is the best pork I’ve ever eaten”, as she gobbled it up.
Mind. Blown. Victory is mine!!!!
This is a pretty tasty dish, and an absolutely perfect dinner for fall. I love all of the flavors and colors, and as you can see, it’s family friendly too!
I started by chopping up about three cups of butternut squash. You could absolutely use the pre-cut fresh packages in the produce department to save some time. I was going to, but my store was out of them.
I mixed the squash bits in a bowl with a cup of dried cranberries.
I added a little bit of water to the bowl, covered it with plastic wrap, and popped it into the microwave to steam for a few minutes.
While that was cooking, I got going on my pork. I sliced a pound of pork tenderloin into inch thick medallions, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, dredged them in flour, and then took a few minutes to cook the pork on the stove top in two batches.
About two minutes on each side was about all it took to beautifully brown up the pork and cook it perfectly. When both batches were done, I removed them to a plate and covered it with foil to keep it warm.
I deglazed the pan with a cup of chicken broth and scraped up all of the browned bits from the pork, creating a savory pan sauce. I let that simmer over the heat for a few minutes to reduce down while I finished up the rest.
As the sauce simmered, I sautéed some chopped Granny Smith apple in just a dab of butter with a dash of red pepper and sugar.
Once the apple and onion had softened a bit, I added in my steamed squash and plumped up cranberries.
I gave that a good stir, and let it cook together for a minute or two just to let the flavors come together, before we sat down to a delicious fall meal that every single person in my family enjoyed. Yes, even Little Miss “I’ll take the Chicken Fingers, please” gobbled it up like a champ.
The pork was wonderfully tender, and the squash and apple sauté is so flavorful and delicious, crisp and light. It all works together so well and really makes for a beautiful dish for fall.
PORK CUTLETS WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH, APPLES AND CRANBERRY SAUTE
Adapted from Cooking Light
- 3 cups peeled, cut, butternut squash
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 (1 lb.) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 12 medallions
- ¾ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped Granny Smith apple
- 2 tsp. sugar
- ¼ tsp. ground red pepper
- fresh parsley for garnish
- Place the chopped squash and cranberries in a medium sized, microwave safe bowl. Stir to combine. Add about ½ inch of water to the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap. Microwave on HIGH for 7 minutes. Check the squash to see if it's done. If not, give it a stir, re-cover and give it another minute or two. Drain and set aside.
- While the squash cooks, heat a medium sized skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the pork with ½ tsp. of salt and the black pepper. Dredge each piece of pork in the flour, shaking off the excess.
- Add 1½ tsp. of the olive oil to the hot pan, swirl to coat, and add in half of the pork. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes until browned. Transfer the cooked pork to a plate and cover with foil. Repeat with remaining oil and pork.
- Add the chicken stock to the pan once the pork is done, scraping up any browned bits into the sauce. Reduce the heat a bit, and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half, stirring occasionally.
- In another skillet, melt the butter. Add in the onion, apple, sugar and red pepper. Toss to coat and allow to cook for 4 minutes, or until the onion and apple have softened. Add in the cooked squash and cranberries. Sprinkle in the remaining salt. Toss to coat, and cook for just a minute or so to combine the flavors and allow squash to come to temperature.
- Serve the pan sauce over the pork and serve with the squash sauté.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.