Goat Cheese Stuffed Tenderloin
Steve made dinner on Valentine’s day. He had rushed home early to get a Green Apple salad started and in the fridge. This was a side dish to stuffed pork tenderloin. Unfortunately, Steve injured his hand on the hot skillet handle but the extra time we spent at the clinic was enough for this salad to marinate well before we ate it.
Steve’s original plan was to make a cranberry stuffed pork, but it had a few too many ingredients for his taste. Instead he found one on Food Network with goat cheese and lemon zest. Well, let me tell you, even cold, between the pork and salad, we raved through the whole dinner – it was absolutely delicious and we (he) must make it again, preferably soon! We loved this dinner so much – it was fantastic and we’re still talking about it. He also realized that he can make a gourmet meal and it wasn’t too hard …
The recipe recommended Primitivo, the Italian (old world) wine akin to the California Zinfandel (new world). We got a bottle of Itynera Primivita (2007) made in the Puglia region of Italy; for $14.95 it was okay, but not great but tasted great in the reduction.
BTW you need Butcher twine for this recipe (which is natural cotton).
Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
- Pork tenderloin, approximately 6″ long
- ¾ cup goat cheese (or a 4oz package)
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1 ½ Tbs fresh basil, chopped (or 1½ tsp dry)
- 1 Tbs olive oil
Red Wine Balsamic Cherry Sauce
- ½ cup red wine (we added the Primitivo that we had with dinner)
- ½ cup fresh cherries, pits removed and chopped (we used frozen cranberries instead)
- 1 tsp tablespoon balsamic vinegar (we used red wine vinegar because I had it on hand)
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Use a sharp knife to “butterfly” the pork tenderloin (Steve looked it up online). Leave the loin uncut at least ½” uncut at the thin-end of the base. Steve used the back edge of the knife to flatten the surface. Do not pound the meat because it will affect the texture of the pork.
In a medium sized bowl mix together the goat cheese, lemon zest and basil with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil and 1 tsp of freshly cracked pepper. Mix gently until evenly combined (ensuring that the basil does not bruise if using fresh leaves).
Season both sides of the loins with salt and cracked pepper. Spoon the goat cheese mixture evenly over the centre leaving a ¾” edge. Roll it up to make a nice compact even roll. Using butcher string, make even ties on every inch of the loin, ensuring the roll stays intact. Cut the excess strings, then rub a thin layer of olive oil all over the pork loins.
Set a large oven proof skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil and allow to heat 30 seconds. The pan should be hot but not smoking. Place the pork loin in the skillet and allow them to cook until a deep golden brown caramelized crust forms (we didn’t get this happen. It just stuck to the bottom and the cheese leaked out). Turn and repeat until both sides of the loin are golden brown. Place the skillet in the preheated oven and cook for another 12-15 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven. IT IS CRITICAL TO REMEMBER THE HANDLE IS HOT!
Place the loins on a plate and cover with foil while you make the reduction. This will allow the meat to rest and give the filling a chance to firm up.
Red Wine Balsamic Cherry Sauce
Place the empty/uncleaned skillet over medium high heat. Add the red wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the crisp caramelized bits remaining in the bottom of the pan. Add half of the cherries and the balsamic vinegar and allow the mixture to cook for 5 minutes. Add the remaining cherries and cook for 1 minute. The sauce should be slightly reduced and the cherries warmed through.
To serve, slice the pork using a sharp knife. Serve immediately and drizzle with the cherry sauce.