Michigan autumns are just spectacular and this weekend was packed with all the fall things. Fresh pressed apple cider, hot donuts, and trees producing the most brilliant colors. Jay and I also made it to the gun range to prep for opening firearms day and had one final meal at our favorite Italian joint in Lansing before it closes it’s doors.
Emil’s is Lansing’s oldest restaurant and when we found out they were closing at the end of October, we knew we had to go one last time. The restaurant is particularly special to us since it was in the parking lot on a cool October evening 2 years ago Jay asked me to marry him. That night, we indulged in Manicotti and Chicken Parmesan while I smiled and gazed at the sparkling new ring. On Friday, we ordered Chicken Piccata and more Chicken Parmesan, because Jay knows what he likes, and said goodbye.
Saturday brought us to the shooting range to test out a couple of Jay’s hunting guns. My shoulder couldn’t handle more than three shots with the rifle (I’m kind of a wimp), but Jay was able to get everything sighted in and ready for November.
Sunday must have been the crescendo of fall colors. It was an absolutely brilliant sunny day and the trees were stunning shades oranges and reds. In the afternoon we made our way to a sporting goods shop so Jay could try out a couple hunting suits. He didn’t find anything he liked, but I got a great deal on a cast iron dinner bell that I cannot wait to hang up and let everyone within a 2 mile radius of our house know when it’s time to eat.
It was also a perfect day for a drive up to our favorite cider mill, Uncle John’s. Everyone in the state must have thought so, too. After a walk around the mill and realizing we would have to wait hours to do just about anything, including getting our annual gallon of cider and hot donuts, we left for a quick detour to check out another sporting goods store an hour north of the mill hoping by the time we returned it would be a little less crowded.
It was, so we got our cider and donuts and sat on the hill overlooking the orchard. We walked around the orchard for a bit, tried the wine and hard cider, and went to the bakeshop where I found some pretty great looking Uncle John stone ground mustard I can’t wait to try with homemade pretzels in the near future. I also couldn’t help but snag some honey white wine.
Somewhere in all the busyness, we found time to light the grill for the last propane powered meal of the season. Something simple that wouldn’t require too much time on the grill since our propane tank was running dangerously low. We opted for pork tenderloin so we could implement the 7-6-5 minute method of cooking.
The 7-6-5 method means the pork cooks in a total of 18 minutes and comes out perfectly medium. The grill gets heated to high then the tenderloin gets placed on the grill for 7 minutes with the lid closed. After 7 minutes, the pork gets flipped and allowed to sit with the lid closed for 6 minutes. Once the 6 minutes are up, the grill gets shut off completely and the pork rests for 5 more minutes. The internal temperature should reach 140 after the 5 minutes. The temperature will continue to rise to 145 once it’s removed and allowed to rest for 5 minutes.
This method hasn’t let us down yet. If you’ve never cooked pork before, this is a great way to get started. Pork tenderloin is such a great cut of meat. It is so lean and it’s usually very reasonably priced. Our market had it on sale this week for $3 per pound. If grilling isn’t an option, then the pork in this recipe can be roasted in a 500 degree oven for about 20 minutes until the internal temperature is at least 140.
To go with the pork, I made some modifications to a beet chutney recipe from Bon Appetite. I added some pear to make it a little more sweet and spiced it with some floral coriander.
Along with the pork and chutney, I roasted some acorn squash and brussels sprouts. I reserved the seeds from the squash and seasoned them with salt, pepper and nutmeg. I toasted them in a separate pan for about 10 minutes while the squash and sprouts were cooking.
Just as I was about to turn the grill off to let the pork sit for the last 5 minute stretch, the propane ran out. I don’t think we could have timed it more perfectly. It was like the closing curtain on a great grilling season.
7-6-5 Pork Tenderloin with Pear Beet Chutney and Roasted Vegetables
For the Pork Tenderloin
- 2 Pork Tenderloins About 1 Lb each (Could follow same recipe with just 1, but out store sells them in packs of 2)
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Yellow Mustard
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/2 Tbsp Salt
In a large bowl combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Add the tenderloins and allow them to marinade for 1-2 hours.
If roasting, turn the oven to 500. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade and place on a pan. Roast for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140. Remove and allow the pork to rest. The temperature should continue to rise and reach 145.
If grilling, turn the grill on high 5 minutes before adding the pork. Place the tenderloins on the grill and close the lid. After 7 minutes, flip the tenderloins, close the lid and allow to site for 6 minutes. Shut the grill off completely and let the pork sit for an additional 5 minutes. Check the temperature of the pork ensuring it has reached 140. Remove from the grill and allow to rest before serving.
For the Pear Beet Chutney
Adapted from Bon Appetite
- 1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 3/4 Cups Chopped Onion
- 1 2-Inch-Diameter Beet, Peeled, Cut Into 1/4-Inch Cubes
- 1 Pear, Peeled, Cut Into 1/4-Inch Cubes
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
- 3 Tbsp Raisins
- 3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 Tsp Ground Ginger
- 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
In a heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions and beets. After 5 minutes, add the pear and allow to cook for 3 more minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and increase heat to high and boil for about 5 minutes. Mixture should thicken. Add vinegar, raisins, sugar, ginger, and coriander. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until beet cubes are tender and chutney is thick, stirring often, about 8 minutes.
For the Roasted Vegetables
- 1 Acorn Squash, Sliced Into Thin, Half-Moon Shapes
- 1/2 Lb Brussels Sprouts, Sliced in Half Lengthwise
- Olive Oil
Heat the oven to 425. Place the squash and sprouts on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Roast for about 20-30 minutes until vegetables are browned, turning once halfway through.
For the Acorn Squash Seeds
- Reserved Seeds from the Acorn Squash, Rinsed and Dried
Toss ingredients together and toast with the vegetables for about 10 minutes.