Video recipe of the week: Cherry-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Cherry-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
In classic European cooking, passed on to America, pork tenderloin was filled with dried prunes or apricots, perhaps because pork was slaughtered in autumn and fresh fruit wasn’t available, or because of the more intense flavor conveyed by the dried fruits.
The rich flavor of the dried cherry-and-peanut paste is incredible, and the mixture doesn’t tumble out when the pork is cut as whole prunes do.
The presentation is stunning.
As with any stuffed or sliced meat, resting after cooking is crucial. Slicing is much easier when the meat is roasted ahead, cooled before slicing, and reheated. It is also delightful served cold.
2 pork tenderloins (1 to 11/2 pounds each)
1 cup dried cherries
1 to 2 biscuits or slices of white bread, broken or torn
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup red wine
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oil, cook’s preference
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim the tenderloins of silver skin, fat and membrane, and pat dry.
Puree the cherries, biscuits or bread and peanuts using a food processor or a blender, adding sufficient wine to make a paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stuff the tenderloin (see instructions that follow). Once stuffed, heat the butter and oil in a large ovenproof pan or skillet sufficient to hold the two tenderloins when baking without touching but not so big as to have the juices burn. When sizzling, add the pork and cook one tenderloin at a time if necessary. Brown on one side, turn with tongs, and brown the other, using the tongs to brown all over.
Pour off excess fat if necessary; then move the pan with the two tenderloins to the oven. Bake until the thickest part of the meat registers 145 degrees on a meat thermometer (depending on preference), about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let stand at least 3 minutes as it rises in temperature before slicing. (Or cool completely and slice. To serve warm, cover with foil and reheat in a 350-degree oven.) Serve with the pan juices. The dish freezes well enough for family leftovers but not for company.
Stuffing a tenderloin
Hold the tenderloin to steady it, insert a knife halfway through the middle of the thick end of the tenderloin, and slide the knife down from the thick end to the thin end. Put enough of the mixture down the center next to the “fold” of the split tenderloin to make a nice presentation. Fold the two sides of the split tenderloin together and wrap with twine and proceed to bake as described previously.
Fig Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Combine 1 cup dry white wine or vermouth, 2 tablepoons fig or other brandy, 1 cup dried figs, and soak, preferably overnight. (To use fresh figs, split and saute or roast them until nearly caramelized before being pureed with a small amount of the wine and brandy mixture.)
When ready to use, remove the figs with a slotted spoon and puree in a food processor or blender, reserving the liquid for the sauce. Stuff this fig mixture into the prepared tenderloins and follow baking directions above. Slice the pork and serve with the sauce, or slice pork when cool, cover with foil and reheat in a 350-degree oven; reheat sauce and serve.
Nathalie Dupree is the author of 11 cookbooks, most recently “Southern Biscuits.” She lives in Charleston and may be reached through Nathaliedupree.com.