What a thorn in my side (however, a delicious thorn!) this recipe was. I say this because I had been working on this recipe and tweaking it for about a week. Saturday I decided was finally the day to give it a go. I gathered all the ingredients (ahem… I mean, Mike so kindly went to the store to gather the ingredients for me), I figured out the game plan, my timing and was ready to go when it came time. So fast forward to Saturday afternoon… a sleepy Maddy and a sleepy Mommy are nestled in bed. After a long day they are taking a much-needed late afternoon snooze to recharge the batteries. Ugh! Wake up and see that it’s much later than it should be and I’ve got to get cooking if we intend to eat tonight! We were just so cozy and I couldn’t bear to move.
Well, after we peeled ourselves out of our cuddle I got down to business. Now I’ve never attempted a stuffed pork tenderloin before so I knew full well this could go either way but I’m always up for a challenge. So I set about pounding out the tenderloin nice and thin… not quite thin enough, but refusing to let the pork beat me, I brought in the big guns and Mike stepped in to finish the job. I combined a smoked cheddar with vibrant spinach, minced shallots and amazing chorizo. I chopped a ton of garlic and spread that on the pork, topped with the chorizo mixture and I saw perfection coming together… That is, until I tried to roll it. This should be a seemingly simple task. Roll meat, keep everything tucked inside, tie meat up… Viola! Um, somehow it didn’t work out exactly that way… stuff was falling out, the meat seemed resistant to take on its new shape and so the battle with the pork continued.
I googled and found information that said just to leave a 1-inch border and “simply” fold in the short ends as you roll… Ha! “Simply!” And so that is how I came to have 3 small, personal size pork tenderloins instead of 1 large one. Not to be defeated by the swine, I cut the large loin into smaller loins and this created a better shape for rolling (at least in my case… Hopefully, y’all have better luck with the rolling of the pork than I did!). Either way, it all tastes the same even if the presentation was slightly smaller that originally intended. In the end, this meal was a definite success despite the bumps in the road. We did eventually eat however, it was about an hour later than my morning “game plan” outlined but it was well worth eating later cause I was loving my long afternoon cuddle with Maddy.
Oh and did I mention the amount of dishes I am able to create for any given meal? The aftermath of my Battle of the Tenderloin…
Oh and did I also mention, we don’t have a dishwasher? Poor Mike, I cook and he does dishes… yet he’s still smiling but he just can’t bear to look. Flash forward, 10 minutes in and it’s not such a happy picture.
**…Your Mouth Will Thank You!
Now onto the good stuff!!
10-ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 c. smoked cheddar, shredded
1/2 c. chorizo
1/2 tsp salt
6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin
Additional salt and pepper
*Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
*Combine the spinach, shallots, cheddar and chorizo in a large bowl. Set aside.
*Combine half the minced garlic with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl. Set aside.
*Butterfly the pork tenderloin. Pound it very thin!! Get some of that stress out!
*Spread the other half of the minced garlic over the pork. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
*Spread the spinach mixture in the center of the pork, leaving a 1-inch border all the way around.
*Roll the pork, long side to long side. Secure the pork with kitchen string about every 2 inches.
*Over medium heat, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Brown the pork on all sides.
*Spread the reserved minced garlic and olive oil mixture all over the pork loin. Sprinkle a little pepper over the top and transfer the pan to the oven.
*Roast the pork for 15-20 minutes in the oven. Rest the meat for 5 minutes and slice.
*Adapted from Eating Well.