Pork tenderloin with apricots and mustard is a savory, saucy main dish for a cold winter day. Karen Schneider / For the Forecaster

As I shop for meat these days, I often see pork tenderloin at a decent price so I’ve been using it in my meal planning more frequently. This entrée recipe is a quick yet savory way to prepare it with a delicious, aromatic sauce for dipping the accompanying crispy potatoes.

Boneless chicken can also be used in this recipe. Just adjust the cooking time slightly. And if you want to omit the tomatoes, that’s okay as they are mainly added for color. Fit for a company meal or an easy weeknight supper, it doesn’t take much effort at all to pull this together.

Egg noodles or mashed potatoes go well with this, but how about these crisped-up potatoes that go with everything? (I make extra to re-crisp in a skillet with my morning eggs.)

If the potatoes break when squishing them with the masher, no worries! They should look rustic and bumpy and the loose pieces will brown up nicely. The thinner you smash the potatoes, the crispier they will be, but there will also be some fluffy bits. Don’t be stingy with the olive oil and butter and be sure to apply it to both sides, using a brush to spread it around.

Homey, old-fashioned gingerbread is for dessert this time around. This lighter-colored version goes together quickly and will make your kitchen smell heavenly. This cake can be eaten as is straight from the oven, but if you want to add just a dab of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, you go right ahead. I’m here to tell you a piece of this cake also lends itself well to lemon sorbet or a warmed dollop of lemon curd. Don’t ask me why, I just know these things.

Pork Tenderloin with Apricots and Mustard

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1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, sliced 1/2 inch thick

1/3 cup flour

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup shallot, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon rosemary

1/2 teaspoon thyme

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1/2 teaspoon parsley

1 1/2 cups dry white wine

3/4 cup fresh orange juice

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3/4 cup dried apricots, snipped into small pieces

1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (optional)

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Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place flour in a large bowl. Season pork with salt and black pepper and dredge in flour, tap off the excess. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add half the pork and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown on both sides, about 8 minutes. Do not crowd. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining butter and pork.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

Add shallot and herbs to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Add wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add orange juice, mustard, apricots and pork and season with salt and black pepper. Cover and simmer until apricots are softened and pork is tender, about 15 minutes, adding tomatoes in at the last 5 minutes of cooking time, if using, and adjusting seasoning. Uncover and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened if needed.

Roasted Smashed Potatoes

8 small to medium potatoes

2 teaspoons salt, for boiling

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2 tablespoons  butter, melted

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt, for sprinkling

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place potatoes in a pot of cold water and add salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are soft, for 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain potatoes and allow them to dry in a colander for at least 5 minutes. Place on a baking sheet and use a large fork or potato masher to gently squish them. Drizzle generously with butter and olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Roast for 45 minutes or until golden and crisped to your liking.

Yield: 4 servings

Crumb-Topped Gingerbread

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ginger

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1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 egg

3 tablespoons molasses

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

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1 cup milk

1 teaspoon white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Mix milk and vinegar together to make sour milk and set aside.

Whisk together flour, sugar and spices in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Measure out 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture and set aside.

Stir egg, molasses, baking soda, salt and sour milk into dry ingredients, blending well. Pour batter into baking pan and sprinkle with reserved crumbs.

Bake for 45 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan on rack.

Yield: 9 servings

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