As I’m posting this recipe, I’m sipping on a big bowl of cold, kind of goopy avocado and celery soup. I’m on a detox, and while it’s not half bad, it’s definitely not as delicious as this stuffed pork tenderloin. I’m counting down the days until I can make this recipe again (five down, five to go…). Make it this weekend so I can live vicariously through you!
This dish is simple and straightforward, and the product is elegant and perfect for entertaining or for a fancy dinner for two, with leftovers for lunch the next day. I brined my pork ahead, which I definitely recommend if you have some lead time, it makes the meat so juicy and flavorful. You could throw it in the brine the morning of, and it will be ready by the time you’re ready to cook dinner.
For the brine:
2 cups apple cider
4 cups cold water (or enough to cover the pork)
1/4 cup sea salt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
6 sprigs thyme
For the pork:
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 cups swiss chard, cut into ribbons
1/2 cup dried figs, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the apple cider glaze:
1 cup apple cider
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder mixed with water
To make the brine: If you are brining the pork, combine apple cider, salt, garlic and thyme and bring to a boil in a medium saucepan until salt is dissolved. Add the water, cool completely, then submerge the pork in the brine. Brine in the refrigerator 8-12 hours.
To make the pork: Preheat the oven to 450F. Remove the pork and discard the brine. Pat dry and place on a flat surface covered with plastic wrap. Butterfly the tenderloin by cutting down the long edge about 2/3 of the way through, so that you can open it like a book. Place another piece of plastic wrap over the pork and pound with a meat mallet or a small cast iron skillet until 1/2 inch thick.
Remove the plastic wrap and fill down the center with the swiss chard, figs and blue cheese, leaving 1/2 inch border on each side. Roll up the pork from the long side and secure with kitchen twine every two inches. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle the outside with the salt and pepper and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
In the meantime, make the apple cider glaze: Combine the apple cider and maple syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir frequently until the mixture starts to thicken. If it needs further thickening, add in the arrowroot mixed with water and whisk until combined. Remove from the heat.
After 15-20 minutes, remove the pork and pour the glaze over it. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until a meat thermometer (inserted into the meat, not the filling) registers 145F. Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing into 1 inch slices, discarding the twine.