Nov 09 2011
I have this fascination with making fancy roasts, probably because I don’t think I can do it. There’s this image of a Betty Draper-esque housewife who is told at 2 pm that her husband is bringing home important people for dinner and she whips up something fabulous, inevitably a roast beast of some sort. I have a huge problem with most of that obedient housewife imagery but that roast–man, that one can stay. I just need to learn how to do it and do it well enough to impress the important people. That I invite over.
One roast that I think I handle is the pork tenderloin. We’ve made them a few times before on the grill with a basic rub or marinade–not the Important-Person-Dinner-Party kind. When I saw this one featured on the cover on Bon Appetit, I figured pork was a good place to start honing my mid-century modern hostess skills.
Apple, Mushroom and Kale-stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Adapted from Bon Appetit
- 1/2 ounce (1/2 cup) dried whole porcini mushrooms
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh apples (a tart variety that keeps its shape is best. Try Ida Red or Winesap)
- 1/3 pound kale, thick stems trimmed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 1/2 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2 tablespoons brandy or Calvados
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (trimmed) 1 to 1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more for seasoning
- 1-2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
- 4 medium apples, quartered
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry hard cider
- 1/4 cup low-salt chicken stock
Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl and add 1/2 cup boiling water; let soak for about 30 minutes then strain, reserving the liquid, and chop finely. Combine mushrooms and chopped apple and set aside.
While the mushrooms are soaking, blanch kale in boiling salted water just until wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer to a colander and strain.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until soft and lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and apples; cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, and rosemary; cook for 1 minute. Add brandy and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Stir in salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool completely.
To butterfly, put pork loin on a work surface with short end facing you. Holding a long, thin sharp knife parallel to work surface and beginning along one long side, cut 1/2″ above underside of roast. Continue slicing inward, pulling back the meat with your free hand and unrolling the roast like a carpet, until the entire loin is flat. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound to an even thickness.*
Uncover pork. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place kale leaves on top of loin in an even layer, overlapping as needed and leaving a 1″ border. Spread filling on top of kale. Roll pork into a tight cylinder. Wrap one layer of prosciutto around roast. Tie roast securely with kitchen twine in 1″ intervals.**
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place apple quarters in a roasting pan. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in a large skillet.*** Brown pork on all sides, about 5 minutes total, then set on top of apples in pan. Add cider and 1/2 cup water to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Pour mixture into roasting pan. Roast pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loin registers 140°F (it will be cooked medium but still slightly pink), about 1 hour 40 minutes. Let roast rest for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.
Put roast on a platter. Remove apples from roasting pan; spoon off fat from juices in pan. Place pan on top of stove over medium-high heat. Add chicken stock. Pour in reserved mushroom liquid, leaving any sediment behind, and cook, scraping bottom of pan to release any browned bits, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in remaining 1 tablespoon butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain sauce and serve with slice pork.
*We did not finesse this part in the methods of “unroll like a carpet” but it still worked. We cut into it and pounded the hell out of it until it was thin. Note that we don’t have a meat tenderizer so Greg used the battery pack from a big cordless drill which has both heft and a flat pounding surface. You make do with what you have and it will work out.
**Stuffing this thing is a bitch. Just get as much of it in there as you can then put the middle of the prosciutto slices on the seam so your loin seam and prosciutto seam are on opposite sides of the roast. Do it all on a big cutting board or cookie sheet so you can scoot the thing around while you tie it up. It will work.
Ok, I gotta tell you, Greg and I set this whole thing up on Saturday, wrapped it tightly with foil then cooked it the next day for a Sunday supper. No VIPs, just the two of us with leftover Butternut Squash and Potato Gratin. It took a good bit of work but it was delicious. It smelled heavenly–all those fall aromatics and the pork! Crisp from the prosciutto, tender from the, well, tenderloin and delicious all the way through.
Use your probe thermometer (we have one with two prongs which really helps you make the “Is it done or is it still a shade of pink that no food should be?” call with much more confidence) and you can’t cook it wrong.
The filling is awesome and you get different little bites each time–a little more apple, little more mushroom, lots of kale. It’s a stuffing adventure! The sauce was pretty good but a little sweet for Greg’s taste and our apples were just mush so they went in the trash. They make a neat little flavor-filled roasting rack but I wouldn’t eat them unless you have an apple variety that really holds its shape well.
And how accomplished did I feel when I sliced into that baby and saw all the beautiful colors and patterns in the filling of what I would call a very successful first attempt at a true roast beast! True, Greg and I just sliced it up with some leftovers but hopefully you can present it to some important people (even if that’s just your in-laws) at a dinner party or holiday event coming up. I myself am ready to take on bigger game…