Monday, September 24, 2012

Spinach and Apricot Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Since I was a small girl, my mother has always ENCOURAGED me to write in my cookbooks.  Yep.  You heard me.  Browsing through through her cookbooks (and now mine) becomes like a walk down the proverbial "memory lane."  There are dates, occasions, people present, cooking partners, recipe changes, etc. lining the margins next to the recipes. I can even find recipes that I made for old boyfriends back in high school!  In short, the well-used books themselves become treasures of our history, chronicles of wonderful life memories.  On the other end of the spectrum, these little notes have a way of reaching up and slapping you... "Geez you are getting so old!"  As I looked back at this recipe, I was a little take aback that I've been making this now for 11 years! Wow!  The inspiration for this recipe comes from a cookbook Come On In, Recipes from the Junior League of Jackson, MS.

Looking at the title, and remembering that I have picky eaters may have you scratching your head.  Well, I can explain.  One of the great things about pork tenderloin, aside from being really lean, but still tender and juicy, is that they usually come 2-to-a-pack.  That's fortunate, because I can stuff one and leave the other one plain.  Doesn't that work out nicely? 

In my opinion, the stuffing of this pork really brings it to life.  It's sweet and savory at the same time, beautiful to look at, and gives you a wonderful textural component to the bite.  This version is done on the grill.  The other option is for the oven.  We've done it both ways. 

Click for Printable Recipe 
Ingredients: 
  • 1/2 pound fresh baby spinach, washed and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup dried apricots, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (2 tsp dried)
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 pork tenderloin (2 lb), pounded out to 3/4" thickness
optional  sauce - 
  • 1 cup beef stock/broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup apple jelly
  • 1/2 cup creamed honey (or plain)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Step-by-step
Sauce:
Just start this going as you are prepping the meat and veggies for the grilled version.  The longer you cook it down, the silkier and yummier it is.  Combine broth, wine, jelly, honey and Worcestershire in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to about medium heat.  Reduce sauce down until thickened to desired amount.


1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup apple jelly
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
1/4-1/2 cup honey
Here's the sauce, in the process of reducing.

Grilled Method:  (faster)

Saute spinach and garlic briefly in butter.  Mix in the sliced apricots and chopped rosemary and season with salt and pepper.  Spread the apricot stuffing over the flattened tenderloin.  Roll up the pork and secure with kitchen twine (I usually add a few toothpicks as well).  Grill until internal meat temperature reaches 150-160 degrees F, depending on your preference.  Tent the grilled meat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  If you don't let it rest, all the juices will run out of the meat, leaving it dry.  So just don't!  Slice tenderloin and serve with sauce if desired.

Filling -
Saute garlic briefly in butter

Wash and remove stems if desired from baby spinach and chop.
Add the spinach to the garlic and let it wilt briefly. Only a couple of minutes.  Careful, don't let the garlic burn.
Add chopped rosemary


Add chopped apricots
Salt and Pepper to taste
 Meat Prep -


Start on one "side" of the pork and slice down, leaving a border on the side and at the bottom.
When you get to the bottom "border," turn the knife and continue to cut to the side.  You can essentially make a border the whole way around.  Pull the meat open as you go.

Here is the cut pork.

I'm not that great at making it perfectly uniform, so I am pounding it to a uniform thickness.  Be careful to not tear the meat or make it too thin.

Add the apricot filling in the middle.

Roll it up.
Pin it and tie it up.

I left this in the capable hands of my husband, while I attended to something else.
Grill on each side until it reaches the desired temp.  Isn't it pretty? 160 degrees is probably around the average goal temp.
 
Don't forget to remove the toothpicks and string!

Allow to rest 10 minutes (tented under aluminum foil) before cutting!!!!!

Just beautiful!!!

Oven Method:  (a bit more flavorful in my opinion)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  After you get the tenderloin stuffed and tied up, brown it on all sides in oil, in a Dutch oven on the stove top.  Add the wine, Worcestershire, and jelly to the pot and then put in the oven (uncovered) for 20 minutes per pound, or until an internal meat thermometer reads 150 degrees.  Remove the meat to rest on a plate (covered) while you put the pot back on the stove.  Add the beef broth to the pot and scrape down all the browned bits (fond) from the bottom of the pot.  This is where you get tons of flavor for the sauce.  Add in the honey and cook until the sauce is reduced and thickened.  Slice the tenderloin and serve with the sauce. 

Grilled Method:  (faster)

Saute spinach and garlic briefly in butter.  Mix in the sliced apricots and chopped rosemary and season with salt and pepper.  Spread the apricot stuffing over the flattened tenderloin.  Roll up the pork and secure with kitchen twine (I usually add a few toothpicks as well).  Grill until internal meat temperature reaches 150-160 degrees F, depending on your preference.  Tent the grilled meat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  If you don't let it rest, all the juices will run out of the meat, leaving it dry.  So just don't!  Slice tenderloin and serve with sauce if desired.

Sauce:
Just start this going as you are prepping the meat and veggies for the grilled version.  Combine broth, wine, jelly, honey and Worcestershire in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to about medium heat.  Reduce sauce down until thickened to desired amount.

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2 comments:

  1. Lovely work, Julie May! Would you be happy to link it in to the current Food on Friday over at Carole's Chatter which is creating a collection of recipes using apricots or nectarines? I do hope to see you there. There are already quite a lot of links for you to check out. Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe- we had it for the first time for Easter dinner last night and it was delicious!

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