A beautifully scented and delicious dish for winter. Feel free to reduce the amount of brown sugar if you favour a less sweet sauce.
Tea-infused Pork Loin with Prune-stuffed Apples
60 g black tea
1 litre boiling water
500 ml unsweetened apple juice (or fresh apple cider if available)
1kg pork loin (2 pieces)
Salt and fresh black pepper
8 g mustard powder
100 g brown sugar
30 ml olive oil
6 medium-sized Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cored
12 dried prunes
Cornstarch (as required to thicken sauce)
Chopped chives as garnish
Preheat oven to 175°C. Brew the tea in the boiling water and steep for approximately 2 minutes. Using a fine-meshed sieve, strain out the tea leaves, reserving the liquid. Combine the tea with the apple juice. Set aside.
Season the pork being generous with the pepper. Mix the the mustard powder and brown sugar together ensuring the mixture has no lumps. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved tea liquid to moisten, the spread out on a flat surface and coat the meat.
Heat a heavy sauté pan until very hot, then add the oil and heat until the oil is hot. Carefully place the meat in the pan and sear over medium-high to brown, approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Turn the meat as required to brown evenly. Remove the pan from heat.
Peel and core the apples, then slice them horizontally. Put the apples back together neatly and stuff with the prunes.
Place the meat into a 25 x 30 cm nonstick roasting pan and pour the tea-juice liquid over the meat. Surround the meat with the stuffed apples and bake for 45 minutes to one hour, basting the meat occasionally. When done, the meat should register 75°C on a meat thermometer.
Remove from the oven and carefully pour off the cooking liquid into another saucepan. Keep the meat and apples warm, covered with aluminium foil, in a 90°C oven.
Reduce the cooking liquid by half heating over high heat until it lightly coats a spoon, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add cornstarch to thicken. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Slice the meat in 1.5 cm rounds, and cover with the sauce. Garnish each plate with an apple and a few chives, if desired. Serve immediately. Place the remaining sauce in a heated gravy boat.