The Literate Chef

Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page

‘You can go to heaven if you want. I’d rather stay in Bermuda.’

In General Articles on September 28, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Some wonderful photos of Bermuda taken by a masterful photographer. I think that they provide an excellent counterpoint to my article: On Tour with The Literate Chef – Bermuda, Part I. The title is a quote from Mark Twain.

An Experiment in Stuffing a Roast

In General Articles on September 16, 2012 at 7:10 PM

Pork Tenderloins are a great boon to home chefs. They are pre-packaged, usually as a pair of 1 to 1.5 lb. pieces in the pack, easy to find in supermarkets and ready to cook. Sold either seasoned, with a variety of spices or marinades, or plain, i.e., unseasoned, they are tender, relatively low in fat and high in protein, and with them you can put dinner on the table in less than an hour.

We have roasted them in the oven, cooked them on the grill and cut them into medallions, but until recently, never stuffed them. Stuffing chicken or veal cutlets is pretty simple; stuffing larger pieces of meat, like pork tenderloin is a bit more complex and challenging. You need a sharp knife, a meat mallet, wax paper and butcher’s twine.

With our friends Steve and Barbara coming to dinner last week and with a package of seasoned pork tenderloins sitting in the freezer, we decided to try stuffing and roasting them. The tenderloins were seasoned with black pepper and mushrooms, so we thought that a simple, Italian-based stuffing would work well. Nothing is simpler and more favorable than the tri-colored combination of the flag of Italy, green, white and red; in this case,  fresh basil, fresh mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes. And since the tenderloins are low in fat and hence would be dry, a white wine reduction gravy would also work well.

Having identified the ingredients all that was left was devising a plan. After slicing the tenderloins lengthwise, flattening them would be necessary as they would be too thick to stuff. And, because they are so lean, we didn’t think they would properly brown in the oven, even at a high setting of 450 degrees. So searing them in a sauté pan before stuffing seemed to make sense. That would give us the added benefit of providing a base of fond with which to make the gravy.

The process went quite smoothly and was completed, with the exception of the final roasting step, long before our guests arrived. As a result, we were able to enjoy their company with drinks and appetizers and then sit down to a delicious dinner of Roasted Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with a minimum of last minute work in the kitchen.

Roasted Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

In Meat, Pork, Recipes on September 16, 2012 at 7:08 PM

Roasted and Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

(Serves 4: preparation time 1 hour, cooking time 30 minutes)

2 Pork Tenderloins (they usually come two in a package) about 2.5 to 3 lbs.
1 medium sized fresh mozzarella, diced into small pieces
1 small jar (7 or 8 oz.) sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 & ¼ cup dry white wine
2 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Special items you will need:
10 lengths of butcher’s twine – each 15 inches in length
Meat mallet

1.    Cut a deep, lengthwise, slice into each tenderloin; taking care not to cut all the way through.
2.    Cover each sliced tenderloin with wax paper and flatten as much as possible with meat mallet.
3.    Add olive oil to sauté pan and sear the outside of each tenderloin (one at a time) for about 2 minutes on medium heat. Remove meat to plate and let cool, retain the drippings in the pan.
4.    In the meantime make the stuffing: first add the basil leaves to a food processor and pulse chop, then add the sun-dried tomatoes and pulse chop again, finally add the diced mozzarella and pulse chop. Add pepper, blend and set aside.
5.    Re-heat the drippings from the tenderloins in the sauté pan, add the wine and bring to a boil, de-glazing the pan. Reduce the wine by about one-third  and add about 3 tbsps. of the stuffing to the gravy. You should have about ¾ to 1 cup of gravy. Set it aside.
6.    Once the pork has cooled, lay out 5 pieces of cut butcher’s twine on a cutting board, place one tenderloin over the strings, browned side down.

Flattened and ready for tying

7.    Spoon approximately ½ of the stuffing onto the tenderloin and close it up, tying off the strings, snip any excess string length after knotting.
8.    Repeat for the second tenderloin.
9.    At this point the stuffed tenderloins can be placed in the refrigerator until ready to be finished cooking the same day.

Ready for the Oven

10.    When ready, pre-heat oven to 450 degrees, place the stuffed tenderloins directly on a low-sided roasting pan and roast for about 25 to 30 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
11.    Heat the gravy in a small sauce pot.
12.    When the meat is ready, remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.
13.    Cut the strings and slice each tenderloin into 2 inch thick pieces, add any spilled stuffing to the gravy and pour the gravy over the slices. Serve immediately with sides of Rosemary Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli. Serve with a fine Valpolicella such as a 2009 Corte Figaretto.

Please see: An Experiment in Stuffing a Roast

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