There we were, thirty-dollar beef tenderloin in hand at the grocery store, excited by the idea of presenting our Valentine’s Day dinner guests with a juicy, tender cut of steak, but completely clueless about how to cook it and frankly, suffering a bit of sticker shock.
Naturally, we called Mark’s mother then and there, begging for advice. It was plain and simple: Make a pork tenderloin instead. Pork is more quickly and uniformly cooked, you have plenty of options for dressing it up, and it’s cheaper by about $25. Sold!
I started looking up recipes right away, and though the only meat I’ve ever stuffed involved skittishly throwing herbs and garlic into the butt of a chicken, I was intrigued by the possibility of stuffing a pork loin. I was nervous about how it would turn out, but, being armed with a fantastic stuffing recipe and a man who seemed to innately know how to butterfly a pork loin, we were off to a good start.
The end result was a delicious, moist tenderloin bursting with plump berries, herbs and fluffy stuffing, complimented by roasted potatoes, asparagus, and a glass of chardonnay. Easy on your nerves (“stuffing” the meat is not a stressful process), kitchen (little cleanup), and wallet (cheaper than a half tank of gas)!
If you just follow these simple steps, you won’t be disappointed.
Cranberry-Walnut Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
- 1.5 to 2 lb. boneless pork tenderloin
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 batch homemade Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing
- Prepare my recipe for Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing, or cook prepared stuffing mix as directed on package, then add 1 cup dried cranberries and 1 cup chopped walnuts. Set aside.
- "Butterfly" the pork loin in preparation for stuffing and rolling. Butterflying means cutting it so that the loin lays out flat in a rectangle instead of being in its usual cylindrical shape. Here is a website with excellent photos and instructions.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the stuffing all over the inside of the pork loin.
- Roll the pork loin and its contents all the way up. Secure the opening either with a long skewer (thread it along the edge like a needle) or tie it up tightly using kitchen string.
- Heat a skillet with 2 tbsp. of olive oil on medium/high heat. When the oil is very hot, sear the pork loin on all sides until it is brown and crispy. Transfer the seared pork loin to a baking sheet and finish baking until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees (about 45 min).
- When the stuffed loin is out of the oven, let it rest 10 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute into the meat. Slice the roll into 1-inch thick servings.