Thursday, October 31, 2013

McIntosh Apples and Roasted Apple Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Did you know there are over 7,500 varieties of apples (check out this chart for descriptions of many of them). Now that's a lot of apples!  Do you have a favourite type? 

I'm always interested in trying new varieties of apples, but every fall I look forward to enjoying one of my favourites - the McIntosh. This year has been particularly good for apples and boy have I been enjoying McIntosh apples recently. I have one every day in my lunch at work.  They are juicy and crisp and just the right amount of sweetness. They are a lovely blend of green and red and are good for both eating and cooking.

The McIntosh apple has an interesting history. 

Apples were introduced in the 1600s to Canada when settlers planted them in Nova Scotia and then they gradually spread inland from there.  In 1811, when John McIntosh was clearing his land  in Dundela, Upper Canada (south of Ottawa, Ontario), he discovered some wild apple seedlings on his farm.  One in particular was of exceptional quality and the family transplanted it to grow near the farmhouse.  After some trial and error in grafting, they began to sell the fruit and tree stock. By 1900 the McIntosh was the most popular apple in northeastern North America, but since the 1960s has lost favour to other newer cultivars.  

The original McIntosh tree was damaged in a house fire in 1894 and finally died in 1910. Grafts from the original tree are grown in orchards all over North America.  The last known first-generation McIntosh graft (a cutting from the original tree) died in the summer of 2011 - two hundred years after the original tree was found!  You can read more about it here.

And in case you are as in love with the crop of new apples as I am, here's a recipe for you that we enjoyed last weekend.  It is one of the best pork tenderloin recipes I have tasted as the apple-onion mix was a perfect companion to the wonderfully moist pork.

ROASTED APPLE PORK TENDERLOIN (simplified and adapted from here)


750 gm (1 1/5 lbs) pork tenderloins
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
2 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (I used McIntosh)
2 onions, chopped
1 cup cranberries
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock

1.  Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and sear the pork for 12 minutes turning frequently

2. Remove the pork to a plate and add the onions and apples to the frying pan and cook for about 8 minutes.  Then add the cranberries, thyme, and pepper and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until the onions are soft.
3.  Meanwhile heat the oven to 425F (220C).  I used a cast iron frying pan so it could go from the stove top to the oven, but if you are not using an ovenproof frying pan then you need to transfer the onion-apple mixture to an ovenproof dish and place the pork on top.
4.  Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 150F (65C).
5.  Remove the pork to a plate, cover it, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
6.  Meanwhile heat the onion-apple mixture over medium heat on the stove and add 1 cup of chicken stock. Cook until reduced by half or thickened.
7.  Slice pork and serve on a bed of onion-apple mixture.

What's your favourite apple?  Do you eat McIntosh apples?  

P.S.  Did you notice the spelling of McIntosh apples?  I had assumed they would be spelled MacIntosh because the computers named after them are called Macs, but apparently Apple changed the spelling so it worked better in the short form. 


  1. Yum! That pork looks so good! Happy Halloween! Angie xo

  2. I love fresh apples in the Fall. This year I have been eating Jonathan and Ida Red. The Jonathan is a bit more tart than I remembered, and it is delicious. The Ida Red is a new variety for me, and it's a crisp, slightly sweeter apple. Last night I dreamed about apple crisp, and I think it's a sign I need to make some soon! And your pork dish looks and sounds wonderful.

    1. Ooo - apple crisp dreams. Now those are my kind of dreams. I've had Ida Red, but I've never heard of a Jonathan. Isn't the world of apples amazing.