Certain foods and flavors remind me of the seasons. Winter brings the smells of cinnamon and sugar, and all sorts of yummy cookies and sweets. Spring is a time of roasted lamb and fresh herbs and roasted asparagus with parmesan cheese melting on top. Summer is filled with insalata caprese (tomato and mozzarella salad with fresh basil), roasted corn, and just about any fresh fruit or veg that you can find. But fall, ah…. Fall is my favorite time of year. Apples, pork, root vegetables. Earthy big flavors that pair so well with cool days and crisp cold nights with the smell of wood smoke in the air – now that’s my idea of heaven!
This past weekend was chilly and cloudy – perfect fall weather! I thought about the type of cooking that I enjoy most and my favorite flavors of fall. I decided on a pork roast braised with fennel, onion, and Granny Smith apples. Served with a side of mashed potatoes. Happy days are here again! So good that The Dude said that this was my number one dish for the fall. This is a super easy dish that will impress the heck out of family and friends. Here is my recipe.
Pork Roast with Fennel, Apple and Onion
- 3-4 pound pork loin
- 3 TBSP vegetable oil
- 1 cup of your favorite dry white wine (note: you could also use a dry hard apple cider)
- 2 large bulbs of fennel, stalks removed, roughly sliced
- 1 large white onion, roughly sliced
- 1 large Granny Smith apple, skinned, cored, and cut in rough chunks
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Over medium high heat in a large, heavy dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil. Season the pork with salt and pepper, add to the pan, and brown on all sides. Remove the roast to a plate and add wine to the pan to scrape up the browned bits of pork. When the wine has reduced by half, add the fennel, onion and apple. Saute until the onions begin to turn translucent. Salt and pepper to taste.
Place the pork loin on top of the vegetables and add a little water to the bottom of the pan – about 3/4 cup. Cover with a lid and roast in the 350 degree oven for 1-1/2 hours.
Remove the pork loin to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 – 15 minutes before slicing. Place the vegetables on a platter, lay the sliced pork loin over the vegetables, and moisten with a bit of the juices in the dutch oven.
The pork is so tender and moist. The soft flavors of the anise in the fennel with the sweetness of the onion and the tart hint of apple. So delicious that you’ll be back for seconds!