What is it they say? Something about spring has sprung. Well, fall has fallen on south Texas! Temperatures have dropped to the low 70’s for daytime highs and with mid 40’s as the evening lows. SUCH FUN!!! For me this means I get to open the house up and decide that the slight bite in the breeze is a bit much before lowering some of the windows; fall table linens and centerpieces are out, a fire in the hearth and thoughts turn to foods that speak of the season. Today I want to share a few of those with you.
When you can get pork tenderloin at a good price, as I did a while back, the possibilities are endless. I cut medallions off the small end for one meal and then stuffed the rest for another. To cut medallions simply lay the tenderloin out on a cutting board and slice it across the smaller end at 1/2 inch intervals. Salt them lightly, sprinkle lightly with either rosemary or sage and pepper well with black pepper. Place a sauté pan over high heat. When the pan is very hot add 2 tablespoons of olive oil before placing the meat in the pan and lowering the heat to medium high. If you cook the pork quickly until it has a slightly browned crust on both sides it should be done in the center. Remember you don’t want to over cook it but you want it done. For my taste I prefer my pork to have just lost it’s pinkness. Remember the advertisement “Pork, the other white meat.” It’s a perfect guide to how to tell if pork is ready.
I still remember at somewhere around twelve years old I wanted to make stuffed tenderloin and ended up serving the stuffing as a side dish. That never happens now and won’t happen to you after you’ve made it my way. My way, the most difficult thing is getting the twine off after you’ve cooked the roll of meat and stuffing. The recipe below is for dinner two. If you have more, you will have to adjust the recipe. I would suggest that, for your ease of preparation, you don’t make your roll more than 8 inches long. If you need more to serve your guest make more than one roll.
Pork Stuffed Tenderloin
Tenderloin Prep: Place the tenderloin on a good sized cutting board along with a sharp thin bladed knife. Now I want you to remember when you were a child eating cinnamon rolls. Remember how you would find the start and unroll as you ate.
That’s exactly what I want you to do with your knife. Make a cut the full length of the tenderloin that goes 1/2 inch toward the center. Now turn the knife and follow that same 1/2-inch cut along the outside of the meat. You will end up with a relatively flat piece of meat. Cover this flat piece of meat with waxed paper and beat it with a rolling pin, heavy saucepan, rubber mallet or anything else that doesn’t have sharp edges. You want it to be about 1/4 inch thick when you are finished. Store covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the roll.
Stuffing: Combine 1 cup Italian bread crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon crushed garlic, 1/4 tsp powdered oregano, and salt to taste. At this point you may also add 1/4 cup each of mushrooms, onions and/or pecans, all finely chopped. Add enough melted butter to just moisten. You don’t want this to stick together to much because if you do your stuffing will be doughy when you eat it in the roll. Remember it’s better for the stuffing to be a little dry, as it will absorb all the meat juices.
Assembly: Remove the cover from the tenderloin and spread an even layer of stuffing over the pounded pork. On the long side fold the edge over and start to roll away from you. Now you have a long roll of tenderloin with stuffing between the layers of meat. All that’s left to do is to truss it tightly. Using cotton twine, truss your roll at about 1-inch intervals. You may cut and tie at each inch or use a butcher’s loop as I do. To produce the butcher’s truss, tie the end of the loop with a slipknot and place this around the tip of the roll to seal. Now draw the twine under the roll until it crosses about an inch from the start, draw the free end under the twine and back over to make a loop. Pull to tighten well and continue this process for the length of the roll. Tie firmly at the end of the roll.
To cook: Heat sauté pan over high heat. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of oil. Place the roll in the pan and lower heat to medium high brown to caramelize on all sides. Between the times you turn the roll, cover the pan with a lid.
After the roll is well-caramelized cut the twine off and slice across the roll in 1 inch slices. This goes very well with buttered asparagus, acorn squash and a salad.