A few years ago, Alex asked all of our friends to give me recipes for my birthday. Best present ever!
However, it’s taken me a little while to start making them. My friend Allison gave me five, and this is just the second one I’ve made. (Sorry! I’ll get to them, though!) I decided to make Fennel-Crusted Pork Loin with Potatoes and Pears for my family. I don’t actually like leftover pork loin – something about reheating the pork seems to make it taste overcooked to me. I decided that making it for 5 people would be better than making it for just me and Alex, and forcing Alex to eat all of the leftovers (although he wouldn’t mind). To make it for 5 people, I increased the recipe by half.
Prep was pretty simple. I bought 3 pounds of pork tenderloin, 3 red onions, and 5 Bosc pears. My family had a bag of Russet potatoes, so I guessed that 7 small-to-medium potatoes would be enough. I cut the potatoes into 8ths. I prepared the vegetables first, tossing them with salt, pepper, and olive oil, since I wanted to just coat everything in the roasting pan before I put the pork loin in it. Then I coated the pork with a mixture of fennel seeds, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and put it in the pan. My pork tenderloin actually was 2 pieces, which I put in the pan side-by-side and touching, although I wished later that I had separated them out. I put the meat thermometer in one of them and let the food roast until the meat reached 160F. This happened in about 70 or so minutes, since each pork tenderloin weighed about 1.4 pounds.
This was pretty good. The vegetables and fruit didn’t become as soft as I thought they should, but the pork was incredibly tender. It’s possible that I’ve been overcooking pork loin my entire life. The fennel went well with the pork and garlic. The pork wasn’t really “crusted,” probably because the pan was a bit too full. I normally don’t like sweet and savory, but the pears weren’t too sweet for this dish. I found the recipe to be a little salty, so I’d probably only use half of the salt called for next time. I also think that this recipe could use much less olive oil. The onion was the least favorite thing in this dish, so I would probably only use half of the onion next time, or break up the onion pieces (rather than keeping them in quarters) so that they caramelize more. I liked this dish, as did my family. I’d make it again.