Lentil & Sweet Potato Chili
Part one of a three-part series on flexible weeknight dinners - a spicy lentil chili you'll be able to use in all kinds of meals!
Well, I missed a day. I am sorry about that, friends. My parents are here and it’s the first time they’ve been to our home, so yesterday was spent celebrating my new job (!) and then preparing for my parents to arrive. And I did not have time to blog.
But now they are here and resting after their travel day, so it’s time to talk about the delicious pork loin and applesauce we made for Sunday dinner last weekend.
This is a very simply – but very well – seasoned pork loin. It was savory and spicy because of the coating of black peppercorns and red pepper flakes – a perfect compliment to the applesauce. Then we topped it crunchy and sweet caramelized onions. I think Dave put it well when he said that pork is amazing because it has so much flavor of its own; you merely have to compliment it slightly to make the perfect piece of meat.
Here’s what you need to recreate this simple and delicious dinner:
To make the applesauce, peel and chop the three apples into a saucepan and add about 3/4 cup of water. Cook on medium low for about an hour, or to desired consistency – the longer you cook it, the more uniform the consistency will be. I like mine to be about 50 percent puree, 50 percent chunks. When you’ve reached the texture you like best, pull the applesauce off the heat and add the seasonings. You can add sugar if you want (add it when you’re cooking) but there’s no need to – apples are fruit, after all!)
Season the pork with a heavy coat of peppercorns on a large grind size, red pepper flakes and coarse salt. Then sear in a little bit of oil in a hot skillet.
You can cook the caramelized onions alongside the pork in the skillet. Just make sure that you sear as much of the surface area of the pork as you can – even the sides. That crust is worth it! Then lower the heat and continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees (Note: the FDA says it’s ok to only cook it to 145 nowadays. 160 was the standard before. This day, we cooked it to 160 for no specific reason that I know of).
You may wish to finish cooking the pork in the oven, so the outside doesn’t get too cooked. This is what we did – the pork probably spent about 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven. But it definitely was not next to some store-bought onion rings. No siree. I definitely hate those delicious, delicious onion rings.