I went searching through my cookbooks so I could create a meal plan for this week, and I found a recipe for Awesome Autumn Stew in my Rachael Ray cookbook. It seemed like a fairly big recipe, so I made a half-batch (just in case the family hated it) but it was actually a huge success! I added some potatoes and used apple juice instead of apple cider (even though my cookbook says NOT to use apple juice!) and it was delicious.
AWESOME AUTUMN STEW (half-batch, make 4 large servings)
1 pork tenderloin, cut into chunks
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
3 potatoes, cubed and boiled for 5-6 minutes (till cooked but still firm)
1-2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
salt & pepper
2 McIntosh apples, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 c. Craisins
1 c. apple juice
1 1/2 c. chicken stock
Coat pork in flour and paprika. Heat oil over medium-high heat and sear meat on all sides. Set aside and add veggies, bay leaves, thyme, salt & pepper, cooking for 5-8 minutes, then add apples and Pumpkin Pie spice and cook for another few minutes. Add Craisins, and then deglaze the pot with apple juice, scraping up all the brown bits on the bottom. Add chicken stock and pork and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves and thyme before serving.
I'm always a little leary about using any type of cinnamon/allspice/nutmeg type flavours in savoury meals. This recipe originally called for allspice, but I used the Pumpkin Pie spice instead, and it was the perfect amount of flavour along with the paprika, salt & pepper. The kids ate everything up with out any complaints (seriously, no complaints at all!). I think next time I would make this exactly the same way, but double everything except the pork - I think it would be fine with two pork tenderloins (the way it's listed in Rachael Ray's original version), but you could save a few bucks and get a huge stew with more veggies and only one tenderloin.
This will definitely be on our winter menu! I think I'll try it out in the crockpot next time.