Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Bacon and Apple-Reisling Sauce: Part 2.

Ah, the aftermath. My favorite part of a big event because it means that it’s over and I have a story to tell.

I got home from work a little later than planned and KB was waiting for me on the front steps. We dashed inside, tied on aprons- which turned out to be a VERY good idea- and got to work on the pork tenderloin. KB got to tenderizin’ and I threw together the stuffing. Then I jumped in the car, leaving KB to peel potatoes for the boursin mashed, and went to pick up some folks from the Metro. Those who arrived while I was out were put to work. When I got back the stuffing had “rested” so RM added the chevre and declared the stuffing to be sufficiently tasty to be our entire meal.

Everything was going well: we did our demos, had a slight power struggle over how to prepare the pork since we weren’t grilling it as the recipe demanded (always ask- WWTFND?*), and sampled the various drinks everyone had brought including a blood orange soda. Then both ovens and the stovetop stopped working. No showers of sparks, no whimpers of distress, just a quiet dying of the (pilot) light.

Long, epic and rather involved recipe after the jump…

Luckily at that point the pork was mostly cooked, the potatoes had already been mashed and mixed, and the sauce had gone through its initial boil, so in truth even this little catastrophe was easily fixable. Despite everyone assuring me that the mashed potatoes and salad would make a fabulous meal, I refused to accept defeat. I will admit that I did kick one of the kitchen cabinets in frustration (luckily I was wearing work clothes and my cute little boots didn’t so much as scratch the wood).

I called as many neighbors as I could, tried my folks to see if they could tell me where the fuses were, etc., and in the end ran across the street to the neighbor’s. The parents were out but the sons were home and they were happy to crank up the ovens and let KB and I cook the two giant, stuffed pork loins for 30 minutes. Love me some convection ovens! (The irony is I think that the family might be Jewish but not kosher and the pork loins were a pigapalooza- stuffed with sausage and topped with bacon.)

The only casualty of this mess was the pan full of little improvised appetizers RM had made that never really cooked properly- some of the leftover bacon wrapped around the remainder of the stuffing. They had to be nuked and weren’t as good as they might have been.

We scampered back across the street and finished cooking the food- the mashed potatoes went in the still warm oven, the mini quiches went in the toaster oven, and the sauce (after the apples were pureed) went into the microwave. Through this, I was entirely calm, which for me was kind of new and interesting and very very good.

KB: “I feel like I’m back at college.”

Me: “Henh.” (Thinking of last “dinner party” I threw in college- box mac’n’cheese, chicken kiev and Death By Chocolate all prepared in a dorm kitchen.) “Har.”

At 8:30 on the dot we scampered back across the street, camera in hand, to pull out the pork loins. Wow, that sounds really dirty- should I change my blog title to “Kitchen Wench” (oop, no, that’s taken) or “Kitchen Slut”? Hmmm… They looked STUNNING! And they were done through with a hint of pink. (Unfortunately my pictures are rotten! Foo~! REALLY need to get over the angst of paying $500+ for lessons on using my $375 digital camera and just sign up!) Also, I tripped going down the front steps and nearly dropped one of the pork loins, greasing up my pants and apron in the process. Drama, I tell you! DRAMA!!!

Back at the manse I threw together a salad of Roma tomatoes, Romaine lettuce and the leftover Ginger Lime dressing (the syrup I made last week with soy and vinegar added), poured the apple-Reisling sauce over the pork loins, and we were off to the races.

Being my own toughest critic I am usually the first one to say if something is off. Maybe it was the wine, the gathering of friends, or KB’s help (she not only tenderized the meat but after I placed the stuffing she tied the thing up with string and cut it in half which eliminated a rather frustrating task from my plate), but this recipe was good and it turned out well.

In fact it was delicious! The meat was cooked through, tender and flavorful. The Apple- Reisling sauce enhanced and intensified the flavor and the meat was complemented by the boursin potatoes and gingery salad. Also, we managed to serve everyone while the food was still hot, which is something I typically have trouble with. The string was a pain in the arse- rather than waste time trying to undo her very skillful Girl Scout knots, KB and I decided to leave everyone to their own devices which lead to flossing jokes and some comment about old meat that I won’t repeat here. Yikes!

After an hour or two of conversation, and sampling a very good Spanish dessert wine from 1995 that PS brought (which is probably turning to vinegar on my countertop as I type this) and which went very well with the flourless chocolate cake KB made, folks rolled out at the early hour of 10:30p.m. Definitely one for the books and if I can get my mother to let me, I will try and make this for my family at New Year’s.

I love playing in the kitchen.

(* What Would The Food Network Do?” Aside, of course, from hiring Rachael “Devil Cheerleader” Ray.)

Liz and KB’s version of (insert trumpet flourishes here):
Stuffed Pork Tenderloins with Bacon and Apple-Riesling Sauce
Serves 4, but we tripled the recipe and had more than enough for 10.

Prep and cooking time is about 1 hr 30 mins. Longer if you have friends and wine around you.

NOTE: We didn’t grill, so I’ve included the baking directions, which I found on The Food Network website. I’m sure it’s delicious grilled, but in my humble opinion a dish like this doesn’t really need the added distraction or work.

Also, you’ll need kitchen twine. Trust me.

STUFFING:
1 tablespoon EVOO
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 pound pork breakfast sausage
1 Granny Smith apple—peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
1/2 teaspoon chopped sage
1/2 cup finely chopped collard greens
4 ounces room temp fresh goat cheese
Kosher salt (HA!- it’s PORK!) and freshly ground pepper

PORK:
Two 1-pound pork tenderloins
6 slices of bacon

SAUCE:
1 tablespoon EVOO
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Granny Smith apple—peeled and diced
3/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup dry Riesling
1/4 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 teaspoon chopped sage
1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

CRANK UP THE OVEN:
Turn on the heat to 450F and/or “Bake”.

PREPARE THE STUFFING:
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering.
Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 3 minutes.
Add the apple, garlic, thyme and sage and cook until the apple just begins to soften, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the collard greens and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and let cool to room temperature.
Mix in the goat cheese and season the stuffing with salt and pepper.

PREPARE THE PORK:
Using a long, thin knife, trim the excess fat from the pork loin.
Then cut the pork loin in half lengthwise, and lay it open flat like a book. (Tenderizing is not a bad idea here.)
Spoon the stuffing onto the pork loin, then close the pork loin around the stuffing- tying it together with kitchen twine.
Cover the pork loin with the strips of bacon, covering any exposed stuffing.
Fill the pork tenderloins with the stuffing, poking it in with the wooden spoon. Season the tenderloins with salt and pepper and wrap the bacon strips securely around them; try to cover any exposed stuffing with the bacon.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes so that the internal temp is roughly 150F.
Turn the oven down to 350F and bake for the remaining 35 minutes.

MAKE THE SAUCE:
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil.
Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the apple, cider, Riesling, chicken stock, sage and thyme and simmer until the apple softens, about 7 minutes.
Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender and puree until smooth (for ours, since the amount was 3 times greater I strained the apples out of the sauce and pureed them only).
Pour the puree back into the saucepan (rather than straining them out as the recipe suggests- partially me not paying attention and partially me loving apples and seeing no need to get rid of them).
Strain the sauce back into the saucepan and boil until it coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. (I nuked the sauce for 35 minutes and it worked just fine.)
Season with salt and pepper. Mmmm… salt.

(If you are lucky enough to have an amazing, techie, troublefree kitchen, then ignore the above and follow these directions instead:
2. (after “Prepare the Stuffing:”) Light a grill. Using a long, thin knife and beginning at a thick end, cut a 1-inch-wide pocket through the center of each pork tenderloin; use the handle of a wooden spoon to widen the pocket if necessary. Fill the pork tenderloins with the stuffing, poking it in with the wooden spoon. Season the tenderloins with salt and pepper and wrap the bacon strips securely around them; try to cover any exposed stuffing with the bacon.
3. Grill the pork tenderloins over moderately high heat, turning four times, until browned on every side, about 25 minutes, or the internal temperature reaches 140. Transfer the pork tenderloins to a cutting board, cover tightly with foil and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE SAUCE: In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the apple, cider, Riesling, chicken stock, sage and thyme and simmer until the apple softens, about 7 minutes. Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain the sauce back into the saucepan and boil until it coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. The sauce is then spooned over the pork before serving.)

TO SERVE:
Pour the sauce over the pork loin then transfer pork loin to cutting board.
Slice the pork tenderloins crosswise about 1 inch thick and arrange on plates.

MAKE AHEAD:
The bacon-wrapped, stuffed tenderloins and finished apple-riesling sauce can be refrigerated separately overnight. Bring the tenderloins to room temperature before grilling/baking.

(Food&Wine October 2006)

Now, would it be more polite to give the leftover slice to the neighbors or chow down again tonight?

 

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