The Washington Post
A pork skillet dish with a fall palette
This skillet dinner is a gratifying way to enjoy the fall color well after the trees have dropped their leaves. With chunks of orange squash, deep green kale and slices of red apple simmered until tender with medallions of pork, it screams autumn not only because of its seasonal ingredients’ hues but also because of the way its fussfree preparation and one-pan cleanup fulfill a practical need during this often overwhelmingly busy time. All that, and it tastes amazing, too.
A key to its mouthwatering, multilayered flavor is the seasoning for the pork (you could sub chicken breast), which is a simple mix of fennel seed and peppercorns, coarsely crushed using a mallet, rolling pin or spice grinder. The fennel imbues the lean meat with the aromatic essence of pork sausage, and the pepper provides an enlivening kick.
The pork cooks quickly, so it’s browned in the pan for just a couple of minutes, then transferred to a plate. Then the squash, which you could buy precut to make this even easier, is simmered briefly in the same skillet, absorbing the meaty flavors left in the pan. Onion and apple are added and cooked until they have softened, then broth with a brightening splash of vinegar and tangy hit of mustard are stirred in and reduced a bit to form a light sauce.
The tenderloin is then returned to the pan, and the kale (or spinach or Swiss chard, if you prefer) is stirred in and simmered for the last few minutes, until the pork is just blushed in the center and the kale is tender but still verdant.
The result is a complete meal, all there in one skillet — protein, vegetable and sauce — stunning, delicious and just right for the season.