Food & Drink

Pan-Seared Pork for a Fall Dinner

These medallions with apple and bourbon make a hearty and easy cool weather main

Photo: Andrew Purcell

When we were writing The Flavor Matrix, we originally devised this recipe with peaches, and it became a staple in our house. But making it that way in cool fall and winter weather just didn’t feel right, so we decided to switch it up with apples and add balsamic vinegar for a little tartness. This remains a ridiculously simple recipe, one that you can pull out whenever you are in a hurry but looking to impress; it packs in unexpected flavors at every step, and it can be on the table in about twenty minutes.” —James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst in their new cookbook, Flavor for All: Everyday Recipes and Creative Pairings.


  • Pan-Seared Pork Medallions with Apples, Balsamic Vinegar, and Bourbon (Yield: 4 servings)

    • 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed

    • 1 tsp. ground coffee

    • 1 tsp. ground coriander

    • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

    • 2 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut crosswise into 12 medallions

    • 2 Golden Delicious apples

    • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

    • 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

    • 2 tbsp. thinly sliced scallion (green and white parts)

    • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

    • ¼ cup bourbon

    • 2 tbsp. soy sauce

    • 1 cup chicken stock

    • Basil leaves, for garnish (Optional. Although basil is not an herb you would typically think about for a fall/winter flavor profile like this, it is a great pairing with apples and adds a bright, fresh “pop” to the plate.)


  1. Combine the salt, coffee, coriander, and pepper in a small bowl and mix well. Arrange the pork medallions on a plate or baking dish in a single layer and sprinkle the spice mixture evenly on both sides. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the apples.

  2. Peel one apple and cut it into quarters. Cut away the core and cut each piece in half lengthwise to create 8 wedges. Set aside. Leaving the skin on, cut the second apple in half and remove the core. Cut both halves into thin slices and toss with the lemon zest and juice, 2 tbsp. of the olive oil, and the scallions. Mix well to coat and season with a pinch each kosher salt and ground black pepper.

  3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp. each of the butter and olive oil. Pat the pork medallions dry with a paper towel and add half of them to the pan in a single layer. Cook, flipping them once, until well browned on both sides, 2–3 minutes per side. Transfer them to a wire rack to rest. Discard the fat in the pan, wipe the pan out, and add fresh butter and oil, and cook the remaining medallions.

  4. When all the pork has been cooked, discard all but 1 tbsp. fat from the pan and add the apple wedges. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring well, until lightly browned.

  5. Turn the heat off under the pan. Add the bourbon to the apples and turn the heat back on to medium. Deglaze the pan and reduce the bourbon until the pan is nearly dry. Return all the pork to the pan and add the soy sauce and chicken stock. Simmer for about 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Divide the pork, cooked apples, and sauce between plates. Top with the sliced apple mixture, drizzle each plate with balsamic vinegar, and garnish with basil (if using).

Excerpted from FLAVOR FOR ALL: Everyday Recipes and Creative Pairings © 2020 by James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst. Photography © 2020 by Andrew Purcell. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.