My supermarket sells mostly “enhanced” pork tenderloin, which is injected at the factory with a brine-like solution. Yuck. Not only does it make the pork mushy, but it’s filled with artificial flavors and colors. I prefer to add my own flavorings, and today was one of those lucky days when my supermarket had all-natural pork tenderloin. I butterflied and stuffed it. While the stuffing was very flavorful, the meat was a little dry (but still pretty tender). The recipe did not brine the pork, but the problem was mine because I accidentally followed the FDA’s old advice to cook pork to 160-degrees. Unfortunately, I missed the news a few months ago that the FDA reduced the minimum cooking temperature for lean pork to 145-degrees. Overcooked or not; it was still spectacular for a weeknight meal. 4-stars.
- The original recipe makes two tenderloins, so I cut everything in half because I only wanted one tenderloin. One tenderloin is enough for 3 people if served with a side-dish. If you are trying to feed 4 adults, you will need to cook two tenderloins.
- The recipe called for Sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil. With a poor selection at my supermarket, I ended up with “fresh” sun-dried tomatoes from the produce section. The only problem was that I had to buy 3/4-lb when I only needed about 1-oz.
- I searched and searched for frozen artichoke hearts, but ended up using marinated. I rinsed them to remove as much of the brine as possible.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium.
Start time 5:00 PM. Finish time 6:30 PM.
1/4-oz dried porcini mushrooms
1-1/2 frozen artichoke hearts, (1/3 cup)
1/2-oz grated Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup)
1/4-cup sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 garlic cloves , minced
1/2-teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper
- Thaw your artichoke hearts. Rinsed oil from sun-dried tomatoes and chop the parsley coarsely. Also, toast the pine nuts in a small pan until lightly golden.
- Rinse your dried porcini mushrooms and place in a small microwave proof bowl. Add 1/2-cup of water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 1 minute until steaming. Allow mushrooms to sit for 5 minutes until soft. Use a fork to remove porcini from bowl and throw away liquid. Pat the mushrooms dry using paper towels.
- Add mushrooms and all ingredients (except salt and pepper) to food processor. Use between 5 and 10 pulses to chop coarsely. Add salt and pepper according to taste.
1-1/4 to 1-1/2-pound whole pork tenderloin
2 teaspoons packed dark brown sugar
1-1/8 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2-cup baby spinach
1 tablespoons olive oil
- Butterfly your tenderloin. Cut into the tenderloin horizontally stopping your cut 1/2″ before you cut to the other edge. That remaining 1/2″ will act as a hinge holding the two halves together.
- Open up tenderloin and lay it flat on a cutting board. Cover with plastic wrap, and pound it until it is 1/4″-thick. Use a chef’s knife to trim away the ragged edges. You should be left with a 6″x10″rectangle. Sprinkle interior of the tenderloin with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
- Use a rubber spatula to evenly spread the stuffing mixture over the tenderloin, and cover with 1/2-cup baby spinach. Roll up into tight, 10″ long cylinder, being careful that the stuffing doesn’t squeeze out. Put tenderloin seam side down and tie with 5 evenly spaced pieces of kitchen twine.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and pre-heat to 350-degrees.
- In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, 1-teaspoons salt, and 1/2-teaspoon pepper.
- Coat pork bundle with olive oil, and rub brown sugar mixture over entire surface. Place pork on wire rack placed over a foil-lined baking sheet. Cook for 20 minutes until center of stuffing registers 120 degrees; rotating pork to ensure even cooking. Remove roast from oven and tent with aluminum foil while pre-heating the broiler to high. Broil, rotating after a few minutes to ensure an even crust.
- Remove the roast when center of stuffing registers 145-degrees; transfer to carving board, and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove kitchen twine, and slice into 1/2″-thick slices. Serve immediately.