Pan-Seared Medallions of Pork with Apples

F all 2009 Recipe

Contributed by Edible Communities

October is National Pork Month, or so says the National Pork Board, which is in the business of promoting big, commercial pork producers. That’s big, commercial business here in Iowa where pork is one of the state’s major products. In fact, up to one quarter of the country’s pork comes from Iowa. That’s a lot of pigs. That’s a lot of pork. That’s a lot of business. 

In Iowa, there are lots of small farmers doing great things with pork, the all-natural way and without conventional confinement. One is Grass Run Farms in Dorchester, Iowa, which raises heritage varieties of pork without antibiotics or hormones. Farmers Ryan and Kristine Jepsen also raise grass-fed beef and humanely raised veal. And, in their spare time, the Jepsens are actively working to create a strong local food system in northeast Iowa through the Northeast Iowa Food & Farm Coalition, which was featured as an Edible Endeavor in edible Iowa River Valley’s spring 2007 issue.

This recipe, provided by Iowa City’s New Pioneer Co-op ( combines pork with apples, allowing these two local flavors to fall together just in time for autumn.


Makes 4 servings

  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 medium firm-fleshed apples, such as Granny Smith or Cortland, peeled, halved, cored, and cut into thin slices
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, very finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup apple brandy, such as Calvados
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup apple cider or juice

1. With a large, sharp knife, cut the tenderloin into 4 equal lengths. Cut each length lengthwise again into 3 slices. On a clean counter or work surface, lay out a 12-inch sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Place the pork slices cut side up on the plastic wrap or parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch space between them. Cover the slices with another 12-inch sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Using a mallet, pound each slice to a thickness of ¼-inch.

2. In a 10-inch skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the apple slices and sugar and cook until the underside is golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook until the other side is golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Place apple slices into a shallow dish; cover and set aside until needed. Using a dry paper towel or dish towel, carefully wipe the pan clean.

3. Sprinkle the salt and pepper evenly on both sides of the pork medallions. In the same skillet used to cook the apple slices, heat the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add 6 of the pork medallions and cook until lightly browned on both sides and slightly pink inside when cut slightly with a knife, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 6 pork medallions, adding them to the plate tented with foil.

4. In the same skillet, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 2 minutes.

5. Add the apple brandy and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the cream and cider. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon*, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

6. To serve, arrange three pork medallions on each plate. Spoon sauce over the pork. Top generously with sautéed apples. Serve hot.

*Tip: To determine if the sauce is the right consistency, dip the bottom of the spoon into the sauce, turn the spoon over, and run your finger along the center. If the middle stays clean and the sauce does not run, the consistency is perfect.

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