Nothing says autumn like savory spice-rubbed pork roasted with sweet apples and pears and tender butternut squash. It’s warm, satisfying comfort for dinner.
The great combination of pork and apples is well known. Add squash and pears to the mix and double the flavors with the delicious balance between earthy and sweet. This dish makes perfect comfort food for autumn—hearty, yet healthful; satisfying without being heavy; and incredibly tasty with a rich, savory spice rub.
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Spice Rubs Matter
The spices in this recipe give the rub a Middle Eastern flair with cloves, cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric. Add the heat of chili powder and the fresh anise taste of fennel seed, and you’ve got a spice combination that brings the pork tenderloin to life.
As with any spice rub, you can mix and match as you see fit—just look for a good balance of complementary flavors, as well as depth and spiciness. The key is to give the rub time to penetrate the meat—at least two hours—so don’t make this dish when you need to prepare something start-to-finish in 30 minutes.
You can, however, let the pork tenderloin and spice rub refrigerate overnight. Just let it come to room temperature before searing and dinner will be ready in about a half hour.
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Pears, Apples, and Butternut Squash
- 3 cloves
- 1/2 tsp fennel seed
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1 1-lb pork tenderloin, trimmed
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized chunk
- 1 medium bosc pear, diced
- 2 small gala apples, diced
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Grind the cloves and fennel seeds together and pour into a small bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, chili powder, turmeric, and cumin and stir well.
- Slice the pork tenderloin in half horizontally and rub each half all over with the spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil.
- Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper and sear in the skillet, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the pork to a baking pan and pour all juices from the skillet over top.
- Pour wine around the pork and roast until just cooked through, 20-25 minutes. (Longer, if you don’t like it pink in the middle.)
- In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
- Add the squash and season with salt and pepper. Cook 4-5 minutes, until squash just begins to soften.
- Add the apples and pears to the skillet. Sprinkle with brown sugar and the other 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and stir well.
- Cover and cook until the squash and fruit are tender, 7-8 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and let sit until ready to add to the pork.
- 5 minutes before the pork is done, carefully spoon the mixture from the skillet around the pork tenderloin halves.
- Return to the oven and roast 5 minutes.
- Remove the pork tenderloin to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Keep the squash and fruit warm.
- Slice the tenderloin into 1/2-inch-thick medallions and serve with the squash, apples, and pears.