Sunday, January 17, 2010

recipe: spinach-stuffed pork tenderloin

I'm a big fan of pork tenderloin. It's inexpensive, quick-cooking, healthy, and a welcome change from chicken. (Steak and salmon are welcome changes, too, but harder on the budget.) Plus, it's easily adaptable to different styles of cuisine, so when you are trying to use leftover fresh herbs before they turn to brown mush in the fridge, the odds are good that they'll go with pork. And, tenderloins are easy to stuff, so you can make an impressive-looking dish with relatively little effort.

Here's last night's pork tenderloin recipe:

1 tenderloin
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed and pressed
3-ish slices of onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 slices of bacon
part of a sprig of rosemary
salt & pepper

0. Preheat oven to 350 or so.
1. In a large skillet with an ovenproof handle, cook 3 slices of bacon. Remove bacon to a paper towel. Pour most of the fat from the pan and reserve, but leave enough to saute the onions and garlic.
2. Saute onions and garlic. Add spinach & rosemary.
3. Break one of the pieces of bacon in half, and split it with your cooking partner. Crumble the two remaining pieces of bacon and add to the stuffing mixture. Stir a bit more to meld flavors.
3. While the stuffing ingredients are getting to know each other, remove any remaining silver skin from the tenderloin. Butterfly it by cutting it lengthwise, but not all the way through. Open it up, lay it flat, and whack it with a meat mallet, small saucepan, even a (washed!) can until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Note: if you have kids, this is a great task to outsource.
4. Spread the stuffing evenly on the tenderloin, leaving a 2" or so free border on one (long) edge of the flattened tenderloin.
5. Roll up the tenderloin with the stuffing-free edge on the outside of the roll. If the edges are uneven, tuck them in like you would roll a burrito. Use toothpicks to keep it together, or kitchen twine if you're more coordinated and better at knots than I am.
6. Salt and pepper the outside of the tenderloin.
7. Add a smidge more oil to the now-empty saute pan. Sear the outside of the tenderloin for a minute or two on each side. Don't worry if you can't get an even sear all the way around because of the toothpicks.
8. Put the whole shebang in the oven and cook until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 F. Depending on the size of the pork tenderloin, this will take 15-20 minutes.
9. Cover the meat with foil, loosely, and let it sit for 5 minutes or so. The internal temp will increase another 5 degrees. The tenderloin may still be a bit pink in the middle, but perfectly safe to eat and juicier than if you cook it to 160.

Serve with veggies -- I had cauliflower & broccoli -- and a salad.


//b strong

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