DOUBLE WHAMMY: Butternut Squash and Apple Cider Soup; Pork Tenderloin

HOLY COW, IT’S TWO RECIPES IN ONE POST!

SOUP
1/2 butternut squash
1 onion, diced
2-3 tbsp butter
1 bottle hard apple cider, like Woodchuck
1 tart apple (Granny Smith will do)
2-3 good dashes of nutmeg
1 dash of allspice
the usual gang of spices: salt, pepper, Cayenne

Slice the butternut squash in half lengthwise, (It is a serious freaking ordeal. I had to use my giant knife and a hammer; otherwise, many nice grocery stores will sell pre-sliced butternut squash.) scoop out the gooey inside, and place the squash on a cookie sheet. Brush with oil and salt, and roast at 400 for about an hour. Allow to cool completely before peeling and cubing. In the meantime, cook the onions until soft. Add the squash and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Add the flat cider (NOTE: if it’s not flat, you will have many, many bubbles to deal with) and cook until the alcohol has evaporated. Let the soup cool before you blend it thoroughly in the food processor. You might need to do a couple of batches. Reheat and add your spices. Serve with bits of apple as garnish.

TENDERLOIN
1.5 to 2 lbs pork tenderloin
2 cups red wine
16 oz beef broth / salted water
good splash of sherry
1 onion
5-6 sliced baby Bella mushrooms
some more of those apple bits you chopped for the soup
nutmeg
allspice
the usual spices

6-8 hours before you plan to cook the meat (or overnight), wash the tenderloin and remove any excess fat and the membranes. Oh, yeah, and also don’t forget that pork tenderloin has membranes on the outside. Eugh. Mix up all the ingredients in a big Ziploc bag, add the pork, and marinate in the fridge, shaking occasionally. Remove the tenderloin an hour before cooking to let it warm up. Heat up a big skillet with a little oil and cook tenderloin on med-hi for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Don’t you dare even think about moving that pork before you flip it. I know you want to scoot it around the pan, but that is how you end up with no crust on your pork. After getting some good crustification, add some of the marinade, put the top on, and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Definitely continually slice into the tenderloin to see how it’s going. Pull it off the stove once it’s still pink in the middle and a little underdone to your taste. Let the pork rest on a cutting board for at least 5 minutes before cutting it into medallions. A little touch of pink should remain in the center. Serve in a freaking artful arrangement and impress the heck out of your boyfriend, who until now seriously questioned your cooking skills.

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