Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Although the cameras were’t rolling yesterday, I did manage to take a photo of this stuffed pork tenderloin before it was consumed.
I will be posting the complete recipe once I figure out what I did but wanted to make some notes while some details were still fresh. As with most meals I make for the first time I do some research, looking at a number of recipes. I then take bits and pieces of the different recipes and come up with something that has my personality. Although this is my recipe it’s hardly original.
Ingredients: Almost all the recipes for stuffed tenderloin include apples. Apples and pork have had a long relationship. I used one apple peeled and diced. I also used dried cherries. I saw a lot of recipes that used cranberries. Wrong season. Instead of seasoned croutons which some recipes call for I used panko, an unflavored Japanese breadcrumb. This way I could add the seasonings I like.
Servings: One recipe used a 1-2 pound tenderloin and said it would serve 6-8. The next recipe said use a 3 lb recipe and it serves 6. When it comes to tenderloins I always say you can’t have too much. What you don’t eat for dinner will make a great lunch the next day. I looked for a 3 pounder and found a packaged tenderloin that was 2.82 lbs. Perfect. That is until I took it out of the package and saw that it was in two pieces. Not good when you have to roll the meat around a stuffing. I was now forced to deal with 2 seams. And where you have seams you have leakage. It took a lot of string to pull this off. And slicing was a chore. Had to reconstruct the slices on the plate to make a nice presentation. See if you can get your butcher to get you a tenderloin in one piece.
Temperature: As with portion size the doneness of the meat varies as well. One cook that has a very detailed tutorial on YouTube said cook to 170°-185° Another recipe said 140°-145°. I know from my days in the restaurant business that 185° is about six degrees of separation from a charcoal briquette. At 140° the color of the pork may scare some people who were brought up being told by their mother that undercooked pork would give you trichinosis.
From the Pork, Be Inspired website. To check doneness, use a digital cooking thermometer. The National Pork Board follows the guidance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which recommends cooking roasts, tenderloins, and chops to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F., followed by a 3 minute rest time, resulting in a flavorful, tender and juicy eating experience.
When you stuff a tenderloin getting an accurate reading is a little harder. The stuffing may read a different temperature than the pork. Insert your spot thermometer all the way though the tenderloin through the thickest part all the way to the roasting pan. Check the reading. Then start to pull the thermometer out stoping every inch to see what the temperature is. If the coolest spot is at least 140° you’ll be good to go. The tenderloin above was cooked at it’s hottest spot 150° and turned out beautifully moist and tender. In the photo it’s looks pinker than it actually was. I believe any temperature over 165 is going to make your meat dry and tough.
I served the dish with ginger ale glazed carrots and rice. The tenderloin was so lean there wasn’t much in the way of pan drippings to make a gravy. I took the saved deglazed pan juice from the browning of the tenderloin (before baking) added some bouillon, apple juice and port and reduced. Adding some heavy cream and reduced a little more. It was delicious but most people were done eating their pork by the time I had finished. It was great on the rice. I’ll plan ahead next time.