Perfect Fall Dinner – Dijon Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Lentils and Fried Onions

As the weather turns to the cosy-sweater-and-maybe-a-scarf variety, I find myself looking to the dining room table rather than the picnic table as a place to entertain friends.  It’s no longer warm enough to eat outside, but we can still bring the brilliant leaves-in-full-color glory to our tables with pumpkin, beets, squashes and leeks.  The deeper scents of root vegetables roasting, squashes simmering, and onions beginning to caramelize all satisfy that nesting instinct to come inside and make a warm, welcoming space for family and friends.

This meal is intended for a weekend evening of entertaining and lingering at the table with laughter and stories.

The fried onions are a wonderful, crunchy treat, but if you are pressed for time you may excluded them.  The time pressed may also choose to skip the pan sauce at the end.

Dijon Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Lentils and Fried Onions

Pork:
2 to 3 pounds pork tenderloin with silver skin removed
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 cup white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter

Fried Onions:
2/3 cup canola oil
2 cups sliced onions
1/2 teaspoon salt

Lentils:
2 cups lentils
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves

Pork:
Cut the pork tenderloin into 15 or 16 equal pieces and flatten them with the palm of your hand.  Rub them on both sides with the mustard, salt and pepper.  Five minutes before the lentils are done, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Heat two tablespoon of the reserved oil.  Carefully place the pork into the pan and cook for 5 minutes on one side and 3-4 minutes on the second.  Remove before they are fully cooked and let rest as they cook the rest of the way.  Meanwhile, deglaze the pan with the wine and stock.  Simmer for 5 minutes, remove from heat and whisk in the butter.  Spoon lentils onto the plate, place the pork chops on top and spoon sauce on top.

Fried Onions:
Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Heat the oil and carefully add the onions, frying for 5 minutes.  Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and set on paper towel to drain and sprinkle with salt.  Remove all of the oil from the pan and set aside.

Lentils:
Using the onion pan add the lentils, chicken stock, thyme and bay leaves and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serves 6-8