Before you get worried about my well-being, I do realize it's Monday. But since I've been converted to real, old-school Sunday dinners I don't think it's ever too soon to start thinking about the next one. For the past couple of years — aka "the weeds" of two kids under 5 — most of our entertaining has been brunch. In fact, just yesterday I made pancakes for 10 and everyone was gone by 11 am! But as our kids' bedtime inches up having friends over for dinner is becoming an option.
On a cold, grey Sunday it's so nice to fill the house with great smells while looking forward to friends coming over and the hearty meal you'll share. I don't think we're creating Norman Rockwell-tinted memories for our kids but I do think they'll look back fondly on these dinners and they love to help us prepare for them. Esme sets the table, Julian arranges toys he thinks our friends' kids will like. Because it's Sunday you can invite people to arrive in the late afternoon so the kids can tear around a bit before coming to the table and everyone can be on their way early enough to get their own Monday prep in order.
photo by Maya Visnyei
Pork loin is one of my favourite roasts these days. It's lean and so quick to cook. You get all the great roast flavours and aromas and yet it needs to be in the oven for under half an hour! If you want, this can be an all-in-one dinner so there's very little mess to clean up after. I love these flavours together, sweet and savoury with a little zing from the mustard. If you've got leftovers, this makes a killer sandwich, too. What's your favourite Sunday dinner? Let us know — we love hearing from you.
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Sweet Potato
1.25 — 1.5 kg pork loin
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp thyme, finely chopped
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped into 1/2 inch wedges (use a firm fleshed apple like Gala or Honey Crisp)
1 smallish sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch discs
1 onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix together 1 Tbsp dijon, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 Tbsp vinegar. Assemble your fruit and veggies in two rows in a roasting, alternating onion, sweet potato and apple. Brush the marinade over everything. Pop them in a hot oven for about 25 minutes until they're starting to be tender.
In that same little bowl you're going to mix up 2 Tbsp of Dijon, 2 Tbsp syrup 1 Tbsp vinegar and the thyme. Season your pork loin with a grind of salt and pepper then brush this marinade all over. Take the roasting pan out of the oven and place your loin in between the two rows of fruit and veg. You might have to nudge them apart a bit but it's fine if they overlap. Put it all back in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. You want the internal temperature of pork to be between 140 and 145 degrees. (I don't love a lot of kitchen gadgets but a meat thermometer is such a good one to have. I used to just cut into meat to have a look and what does that really tell you?)
Take everything out and cover with foil and let the meat rest for about 10 minutes. Your pork — and really any meat — will be much juicier if you don't skip this step. Slice your meat and scoop up the fruit and veggies — make sure everyone gets a bit of everything! This is extra Sunday dinner-ish when served with mashed potatoes.