Oh, I just love today so ding-dang much! No matter how good Summer gets, Autumn will always be my favorite. Raspberries are coming in for a second round, Gravenstein apples are in and gorgeous, and the tomatoes are at their absolute peak.
Wonderful, too, is the quiet that is falling over the neighborhood, like a deeply peaceful exhale outward. The kids are in school. The neighbor to my right is jamming out to Hall & Oats Greatest Hits (we are on Maneater as I type this) while tinkering in his garage. Even the rather large crew of workers refurbishing the house across the street are inexplicably absent today. So nice.
So. If you have been celebrating the return of Fall because football is back, the kids are in school, and the latest round of new pumpkin spice products is out, you were a tad early (so was I, truth be told). Today is the day. Let’s eat accordingly.
Coffee-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Acorn Squash, Kale & Israeli Couscous
1 Tbsp finely ground instant coffee
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 Tbsp Aleppo chili powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1 pork tenderloin
1 medium acorn squash, seeds scooped out, cut into 1/4″ slices
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 c. yellow onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c. Israeli couscous
1 1/2 c. pork stock (or chicken stock)
1 small bunch kale, stems removed, chopped (about 6 c., packed)
Salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Place the acorn squash slices onto a lined sheet pan, coat with a tablespoon of olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt. Bake until tender and lightly golden, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Crank the oven temperature up to 400F.
Add 2 Tbsp of olive oil to a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add the couscous and continue to stir until they become opaque. Add the stock and covr with a tight-fitting lid. When the stock is about half-way absorbed and the pasta is nearly al dente, add the kale and cover again. Once the kale is softened and the stock is almost fully absorbed, stir in the acorn squash and remove from heat.
In a shallow dish, combine all of the spices. Trim the tenderloin of fat and silver skin and pat dry. Roll the pork in the spice blend, then coat with 1 tsp. of olive oil. Heat a medium-sized oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Add the remaining Tbsp of oil, then carefully place the pork in the pan. Sear each side of the meat for no longer than one minute per side. Place the pan in the oven and allow to roast until the internal temperature reaches 140F. Remove from the oven and the pan, and place on a cutting board. Loosely tent a piece of aluminum foil over the meat. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.