I am all out into autumn mode. We have had cool, foggy mornings for the last week, with beautiful afternoon sun. The trees have just begun developing their characteristic autumn tinges of yellow, orange and red. I am thrilled. And for me, autumn means finally being able to turn the oven back on (we also try to make it til at least October before turning on the heat for the season, so baking at night also helps keep the house a comfortable temperature), and eating squash. It’s funny. I’m not usually obsessed with squash, but for some reason, my favorite food in the whole world and what I base almost every meal off of for weeks at the beginning of autumn is squash. Yesterday night, Craig took a long look at this week’s meal plan, then brought me over to my whiteboard and went down the list. “Squash, squash, squash, squash. Why is everything we’re eating squash?” “Um… It’s Autumn.” The way that man doesn’t understand WHY we’re eating 3 squash this week is beyond me. On Sunday as part of my food-prep for the week, I peeled and chopped up an ambercup squash, and in doing so, destroyed my poor thumb. When the knife finally went through the squash as I was cutting off the ends, my thumbnail managed to shave off a sliver of the still-very-hard squash and it firmly embedded itself under my thumbnail. There was blood, and cursing, and whining. Then I put on my big-girl panties and finished chopping the MFer up, knowing that I would be the one having the last laugh. And I did.
Makes 5 servings
Olive or sunflower, or other preferred cooking oil
1 large(but not massive) winter squash cut up into 1/2-1″ blocks
2.5lbs pork tenderloin, dried with paper towels and seasoned w/ s&p
2 small or 1 large head broccoli, cut up
3 cups weak chicken stock or 1 cup robust chicken stock
1 cup homemade cranberry ginger sauce (maybe I’ll link a recipe when cranberries go on sale for the year)
*Heat your oven to 450
*On a rimmed baking sheet (I have a half-size sheet pan that I’ve been experimenting with seasoning like cast iron or carbon steel.), drizzle a couple tablespoons of oil, then toss your squash on, stir around to coat in oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper
*If using weak stock, on the stovetop, begin reducing your chicken stock down to about 1 cup.
*After about 10-20 minutes, check on the squash. If it is beginning to brown on the bottom, stir.
*Heat a large ovensafe saute pan over medium-high heat and add a couple tablespoons of oil.
*When oil begins shimmering, add your pork tenderloins and allow to sear. When it’s ready, the meat will have developed a golden brown color and will easily release from the bottom of the pan. Flip, and allow to cook a few more minutes before transferring pan to the oven (still at 450).
*When the squash looks “done” (this is up to you. I like my caramelized a bit. You might like it a tiny crunchy?), remove squash from oven and set aside.
*Cook your broccoli. I steam mine in the microwave by putting it in a pyrex bowl with just the amount of water that clung to it from washing, then putting a dinner plate on top of it and microwaving for 5-7 minutes. However you’re most comfortable cooking it, do that. Roasted would probably be better than steamed actually.
*When the internal temperature of the pork tenderloins reaches 138 or so, pull them. One of our tenderloins was much larger than the other, so I pulled the small one and the other had to bake for an additional 15 minutes.
*When the tenderloins come out, place them on a cutting board and tent with foil to rest while you make your glaze
*Put your plates in the warm oven to take the chill off, but leave the door open so they don’t get too shocked. I also pop my squash back in the oven to reheat a little at this time.
*Add your chicken stock to the pan you used to cook the pork in (there will be delicious golden bits to scrape up) and bring it to a boil on the stove (be sure to put something on the handle so you don’t burn yourself… Craig learned this the hard way one valentine’s day). Add your cranberry sauce and whisk to combine and reduce and scrape up pork dripping magic. Reduce down to 3/4-1/2 cup.
*When the pork has rested for 10-20 minutes and the sauce has reduced, you’re ready to plate. Place 1/5 of the broccoli, squash, and pork on each plate, then spoon the cranberry glaze over the pork. Top with some flaky salt and coarsely ground black pepper.
Nutrition Breakdown per serving: