This may look and sound fancy but it’s a breeze to make that even a novice could do it. Intensely flavored dried fruit and nuts really seems to bring out the clean, delicate qualities of the pork.
Furthermore, the dried fruit and nuts provide a sweetness, tartness, and acidity that showcases the meat and provides a balance to the bacon-flavored potatoes. The flavors in this dish perform in unison and exquisite harmony. This preparation works as well as part of a formal dinner as it does as a simple everyday meal for the family.
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
- 2 pounds (1kg) red & white baby potatoes, a stripe of peel removed around the center
- 3 tablespoons bacon fat or duck fat or olive oil
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup dried golden raisins
- ⅓ cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup dried currants
- ⅓ cup dried apricots, chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, julienned
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 2 pork tenderloins, 2-2½ pounds total weight
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
Bacon & Fried Thyme Vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- ½ cup bacon, cut in batons (cut into ¼ inch or 5mm)
- ½ small red onion, finely chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, finely grated or minced
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup canola oil (see note)
- 16 fresh thyme sprigs
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Prepare the potatoes: Preheat the oven to 375 ℉ (190℃) In an oven proof baking dish or sheet pan, toss the potatoes with the 3 tablespoons bacon fat and the 6 sprigs of thyme. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown, turning them once to ensure even browning.
- Prepare the filling: In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, add the butter and sauté the garlic until translucent. Reduce the heat to low and add the cranberries, raisins, currants, apricots and chicken broth, for 5 minutes of the cranberries and raisins have plump up. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 15 minutes. Add the pistachios and stir to mix.
- Prepare the pork tenderloin: Starting from the thickest end of the tenderloin, cut a 2 slits crisscross to form an X. Insert the handle of a long wooden spoon through the incision to help stretch the opening. Divide the filling and place a teaspoon or 2 of the filling into the opening, using your fingers and the wooden spoon handle, stuff as much of the filling as possible into each loin. Use butcher’s twine and tie the loin, tucking the thin end of the loin under. Season the outside with salt and pepper.
- Place a medium skillet over medium high heat and add the canola oil. When he oil is hot add the pork loins and sear on all side. Reduce the heat to medium high and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until the pork registers 150 ℉ on a meat thermometer. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Prepare the Fried thyme-bacon vinaigrette: Over medium high-heat, heat the ¼ cup canola oil and add the thyme sprigs, they should bubble and froth slightly. Allow the them to cook until the green color pales slightly and the leaves become crispy, 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon to remove the sprigs carefully from the oil and put them on a kitchen towel to drain. Season with salt and remove most of the oil off from the skillet.
- Place the same skillet over medium-high heat and render the bacon until lightly brown, remove and set aside. Add the red onion and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and add the garlic and vinegars.
- In a medium bowl, add the mustard and flake the thyme leaves off the stems into it. Add the vinegar, onion and garlic mixture to the mustard and whisk to combines. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, salt and pepper, then add the bacon. Check for seasoning.
- Assemble: Cut the stuffed pork tenderloin into ¼ inch slices and place on a serving platter. along with the potatoes. Spoon the fried thyme-bacon vinaigrette over the pork and potatoes.
Note: Since the oil does not get super hot to crisp the thyme, you can reserve it for another use. You can substitute the white balsamic with additional red wine vinegar and add ½-1 teaspoon of honey to taste.