Cherry Stuffed Pork Tenderloin and then some

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cherry and Onion Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Disclaimer: This meal did NOT come without a few phone calls to Mom and Dad for emergency help. And, I still have all 10 fingers, but only by the wrinkle on my thuckle. Note: According to Urban Dictionary your thuckle is your thumb knuckle. But I can sincerely say it was a success and the best news about it, I'll share my mistakes and what I learned so your meal can be even better than mine! I'll walk you through it.

Picky Pants and I had 2 other couples over for dinner and while I'm normally a buffet-type-hostess, this was not THAT kind of dinner. It wasn't fancy-schmancy by any means but, yes, I did do place cards!! Have you read that post yet? Boy were they CUTE!! Okay! Food now, puh-leeze!

The Menu:
Cherry and Onion Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Summer Salad (with cherries, of course)
Asparagus with Toasted Pine Nuts
Homemade Flat Bread
Pasta Salad

The Occasion:
Picky Pants and I are switching churches.
In any small Bible-Belt-Sort-Of-A-Town, your Pastor and his Wife come to dinner if you invite them. Well, this 'ol girl from the suburbs of 'the ATL' never expected the Pastor of a 6,000 some member church to come to our house for dinner! Well, he did! So did his wife and two other great friends. We are so blessed. For the record, this dinner meant more than just entertaining and showing off my culinary skills, or lack of ... but, for the sake of this food blog, we'll stick to the point at hand which is, of course, food, babies, food!

Always looking for a chance to try a new recipe, I knew exactly which one I'd make for this group of people. (Insert taunting voice of my mother "I told you to never try new recipes on people.") I have ear marked several recipes from Oh-You-Guessed-It: Fine Cooking Magazine to try the next time we have company, so I jumped at the chance to make this succulent Cherry Stuffed Pork Tenderloin while it's still summer! It's not my recipe, so I can rave all I want about it, I only followed the directions.. thanks Fine Cooking for the awesome tenderloin!

A couple of notes about this recipe before I get all business-like and cut-copy-and-paste the recipe from the website. ;)
1. If you're ever making a stuffed chicken breast or pork tenderloin, get a meat mallet. Yes, you can certainly use a frying pan, but trust me, it will make life easier.
2. You must, must, must use kitchen twine at one-inch intervals. Your 'stuff' will fall out if not, so take it from me, do it!
3. This recipe looks complicated because there's a lot of ingredients. Don't skimp! FYI 6 TBSP of freshly squeezed orange juice is about all you're going to get out of just one orange and then you zest the top layer for a kick in the cherry mixture. It's worth squeezing it yourself and not leaving out the zesty goodness of the orange.
4. Use a cheese grater to zest your orange. Keep your knuckles away from the sharp edges though ... yes, that's why I'm walking around with not one ... not two ... but three Band-aids around my right thuckle.
5. Butterflying any piece of meat is kind of like being good at basketball. The more you do it, the better you get. Start with chicken breast and work your way up to a tenderloin. Here's a helpful hint though: Holding the knife horizontal to the cutting board, slit the tenderloin lengthwise. Don't cut all the way through to the other side, but just far enough that you can open it like a book. Another helpful hint: yours won't look like the pictures either ... mine didn't but the end result was still beautiful. ;)
6. I did my own version of gravy. I followed the recipe until the end and I used the drippings from the cooked tenderloin to flavor it up. Ehh, a little fattening, but wonderful.
Happy Cooking!

Serves 6

Cherry and Onion stuffed pork tenderloin

2 lb (or larger) Pork Tenderloin

3 TBS Oilive OIl
1 1/2 Medium onions, thinly sliced
6 TBS freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 Cups fresh sweet cherries (about 8 oz)
Kosher Salt and Pepper
1/8 TSP ground cloves (you can totally omit these and won't miss 'em)
1/2 Cup dry white wine (you can just use more chicken broth if you want)
1 C lower-salt chicken broth (one can will be enough if you use broth instead od win)
1 TSP fresh rosemary (I wish I had used fresh Rosemary, the dried stuff didn't get as soft in the gravy as I would have liked)
2 TBS. Cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Kitchen Twine
Meat Mallett

1. Heat 1 TBS olive oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and light golden, 10 - 15 minutes. Add the orange juice, vinegar, sugar and orange zest, reduce the heat to low, cover and continue to cook until the onions are very soft, 15-20 minutes more. Uncover and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes more. Add the cherries and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool to room temp.

2. Heat the oven to 425. Meanwhile, butterfly the pork by slitting each tenderloin lengthwise just far enough that it opens like a book to make a flat piece. Place the pork between two pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper and pound gently with a meat mallett to flatten it to a 3/8-inch thickness. In a small bowl, mix 1 TBS of olive oil and ground cloves and 1/4 TSP black pepper.

Rub the mixture on both sides of the pork and season generously with salt.

3. Divide and spread the cherry mixture evenly over the tenderloins and roll them back to their original shape. Tie them with kitchen twine at 1 inch intervals.

4. Heat the remaining 1 TBS olive oil in same skillet as before over medium high heat. Brown the pork on all sides until golden, 5-6 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a tenderloin reads 145, 10 - 12 minutes. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and tent with foil.
5. Set the skillet over medium high heat, add the wine and deglaze the pan by scraping up the cooked bits with a wooden spoon. Add chicken broth and rosemary, bring to a boil and reduce by half 2-3 mintes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the butter once piece at a time, letting each melt before adding the next. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

**When you take the pork out of the oven, there's juice in the bottom, pour it into your gravy mix, stir and let it sit.

Remove the strings from the pork and slice it into 3/4 inch thick slices. Drizzle sauce over and serve warm.

Asparagus Vinaigrette
2 Pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed
3 TBS Olive Oil
2 TBS Lemon Jice
2 TSP Dijon mustard
1/2 TSP pepper
1/4 TSP Salt
4 TBSO Toasted Breadcrumbs (pine nuts work too)
6 cherry tomatoes, halved

Did you know using a potato peeler on the ends of asparagus once trimmed makes them more tender? Marinate the asparagus in this vinaigrette until ready to cook Pour contents of entire bowl into sauté pan. When done, sprinkle toasted pine nuts and cherry halves on top of asparagus. Beautiful!

Summer Salad (Inspired by Griff's Deli in Bowling Green, KY)

Adjust to your taste and how many you're serving
Green Leaf Lettuce
Feta Cheese
Chopped Cherries
Balsalmic Vinaigrette from store

Flat Bread
How many times can I serve this? Yup, you guessed it. I made the flat bread a few weeks ago, froze it and re-baked it to serve when I have company. It tasted just the same as it did fresh out of the oven. Certainly worth the time spent in the kitchen when I know I'm going to have fresh bread for guests without having to make it that day! Check out my post on it.

Enjoy, Mangia! Mangia!


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