Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stuffed pork tenderloin

Finally, back to recipes and cooking! I have used this recipe four or five times now and, though the prep is a bit lengthy, it comes out perfect and a showstopper each try. It's a pork loin stuffed with apples and dried fruit.

Sidenote on pork tenderloin:
You can get tenderloin on sale every now and then so when you see it next, grab it! I've had a couple interesting life lessons while trying to buy non-sale pork tenderloin from a butcher. First time I tried this, the butcher asked me what I was doing with the tenderloin. I proceeded to tell him (quite matter-of-factly) that I was going to cut a hole in the middle and stuff it - so the meat had to be thick enough to stuff. Blank stares all around. Then he took pity on me and said he could cut the hole for me. I was offended that he thought I wasn't capable, or didn't have superior knife skills, so didn't let him. I had just sharpened my knives after all! Lesson learned? If a nice butcher offers to prepare your meat please take him up on the offer because no matter how good you think you are, the butcher is better and has sharper knives than you will ever own!

Next was the time I asked a butcher if there was any pork tenderloin "out back" and he proceeded to get out the beef tenderloin and cut that up. I only realized he'd made a mistake after it was cut and said "honey, this is going to be some expensive. Sixty dollars worth of meat, must be some special occasion." Then there's the time I couldn't find pork tenderloin but really wanted to cook this. So I decided to stuff a pork shoulder. NOT a good idea!

The recipe is a Foodies one and but I have found ways to tweak it here and there to make it my own. You'll need:

1.5kg (about 3.5 lbs) Pork loin, boneless, best end, trimmed, trimmings reserved
1/2 cup Pork trimmings
1/2 cup Dried apricots, sliced
1/2 cup Dried cranberries, whole
1/2 cup Fresh apples, finely diced
1/4 Bread, white, diced
Salt and pepper (dash each)
2 tbs Vegetable oil
1 egg white
1/4 cup heavy cream

Sharpen your big knife for this one!
Skewer the eye of the pork through both sides creating a pocket. Slice 2 thin pieces off the end of the loin and reserve. If the "pocket" thing is proving too difficult or you're scared of big knife work like this, you can also just slice the loin almost in half (not quite all the way through). Then put the stuffing into the middle, close it back up and tie before cooking. This is the easy way but doesn't look nearly as good as the pocket/hole technique. The picture above is pork cooked using the slice technique, below is the hole/pocket in the center technique.

To make the stuffing, place the pork trimmings in the food processor, add cream, egg white and salt and pepper, purée until smooth.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the stuffing with the bread, apricots, cranberries and apples. Season to taste.

Place the stuffing into a piping bag (or plastic bag with a hole cut in one corner) and pipe into the pocket in the pork. (if you've done the slice instead of pocket prep for the pork, you don't have to use a piping bag).

Place the 2 reserved thin slices of pork over each end, and tie the roast with butcher’s twine. Covering the ends will help to keep the stuffing in when tying the roast, as well as during cooking.

Rub the pork loin with vegetable oil, season with salt and pepper.
Place in the oven at 150ºC (300ºF), and cook to an internal temperature of 68ºC (155ºF), approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. Inserting a cooking thermometer into the pork meat helps greatly with getting the perfer "doneness").

Take the pork out and let rest for 30 minutes. This is very important! Then you can carve and serve. Apple sauce would be an excellent match with this!

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