This makes a cozy, casual dinner for friends. The compote is sweet, tart and salty. It’s a very flavorful addition to the plate. Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apple-Bacon Compote & Butternut Squash Polenta.
- 2 cup butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4‑inch cubes
- 3 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- salt and white pepper as needed
- 5 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- .125 teaspoon freshy ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon rubbed dried sage
- 1 cup coarsely ground yellow polenta
- ½ cup fontina cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 24 fresh sage leaves
- 2 one-pound pork tenderloins
- 4 slice applewood-smoked bacon, cut crosswise into ½‑inch strips
- 2 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 small onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 4 tart green apples, cored and cut into ½‑inch cubes
- ½ apple cider
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium bowl toss the diced butternut squash cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and white pepper. Lay the cubes out in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast until soft and beginning to color, about 20 minutes. Let cool somewhat them puree then in a food processor until very smooth. Set aside.
In a large saucepan set over medium heat, bring the stock, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon white pepper, nutmeg, and dried sage to a boil. Add the polenta, in a slow gentle stream, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to very, very low and cook, whisking all the while until it begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
Switch to a wooden spoon, cook, stirring the polenta from time to time until it is soft and creamy, about 20 minutes. You may need to add a few teaspoons of water if it gets too stiff. Add the butternut squash puree, cheese and butter. Stir to blend. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside covered and warm. You may need to reheat it with a few teaspoons of water right before serving.
Return the oven to 400 degrees F.
Mince 8 of the fresh sage leaves. Set aside.
Bring the tenderloins to room temperature, dry them completely with paper towels.
Place a roasting rack on a baking sheet. Sean the pork well with salt and white pepper. In a large skillet set over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the pork tenderloins one at a time and brown it well on all sides. Repeat with second tenderloin.
Remove the pork from the skillet, and place them on the rack without touching each other. Place the rack in the center of the oven and roast until an internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F for slightly pink or 150 degrees F. for cooked through but juicy. About 25 minutes.
While the pork cooks, add the bacon to the same skillet you used for the tenderloins and cook it over medium heat, stirring frequently, until crisp. About 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cooking an additional minute. Add the onion, minced sage, and thyme. Cook stirring and scraping the bottom, until the onion is tender. About 5 minutes. Add the apples, stirring often until softened and lightly colored, about 5 minutes.
Turn the heat to high and add the cider to deglaze the skillet. Lower the heat and reduce until the liquid thickens, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Cover to keep warm and set aside off the heat.
Remove the pork from the oven and let it rest about 10 minutes. Cut the pork into ½‑inch thick slices. Arrange them over a bed of the warm butternut squash polenta and serves the apple-bacon compote on the side. Garnish with the remaining sage leaves. Serve immediately.