Can you feel the changes in the air? Today is the Autumn Equinox, the first day of fall in the northern hemisphere. For us, summer is officially over. While some celebrate the Autumn Equinox all day, an Equinox is not a day-long event.
An equinox occurs at the precise moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator – an imaginary line in the sky about the earth’s equator. It is a point of balance and the earth’s rotational axis is neither tilted towards nor away from the sun.
Within the Church calendar, today is the first day of the Autumn or Michaelmas Ember Days. Autumn Ember Days are Wednesday, Friday and Saturday following both the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and the 3rd Sunday of September. This makes Autumn Ember Days unique in their scheduling. The stipulation of the 3rd Sunday ties the first Autumn Ember Days more closely with the physical position of the earth and the Autumn Equinox.
Each set of Ember Days throughout the year have a specific purpose and focus point. For Autumn Ember Days the faithful to give thanks for the grape harvests that make the wine for the Precious Blood of Christ.
While tradition tells us that Ember Days are days of fasting, abstinence and prayer, today within the church these strict guidelines no longer apply. This give us the opportunity to retain the good intentions of the day – to give thanks and to focus on the blessings of God while coming together as a family to celebrate those blessings.
What better way is there to come together than with a delicious Autumn inspired meal. Enjoy!
Pork Tenderloin Skillet Supper
1 lb small Yellow or Yukon Potatoes
10 oz Pearl Onions
2 Granny Smith Apples
1 pint small Tomatoes, halved
1 lb Pork Tenderloin
1 tablespoon Fennel Seeds
1/2 tablespoon Salt
1-1/2 teaspoons Black Pepper
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Butter
2 teaspoons ground Turmeric
6 oz Spinach
Heat oven to 400-degrees.
Scrub potatoes, cut into quarters and set aside. Peel onions, set aside. Peel, core and slice apples into eights, set aside. Cut tomatoes in half, set aside.
Crush fennel seeds, mix with salt and pepper. Season pork tenderloin with fennel seed mixture.
Heat olive oil in a cast iron pan on medium-high heat. Sear pork on all sides until well browned. Remove pork from pan. To the now empty skillet add the butter, potatoes and pearl onions. Reduce heat to medium and let potatoes and onions begin to caramelize, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes.
Add the apples, sprinkle with turmeric, toss together to blend. Place the seared tenderloin on top of the vegetables. Place the entire pan in the oven and cook until the internal temperature of the tenderloin reaches 145-degrees, about 45 minutes..
Remove skillet from oven; place the pork on a plate and tent to rest.
Return the skillet to the stovetop over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, sauté for 1 minute. Add the spinach; stir until just wilted.
To serve, slice the tenderloin and arrange on top of the vegetables in the pan.
Serve with warm bread, a simple salad and a crisp Autumn wine.