Saturday, January 17, 2009

Love Me Tender -- Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onion, Almond, and Apricot Stuffing that is!

I’m in love again. Head over heals in love and I’m announcing it weeks before Valentine’s Day. From the first moment my eyes gazed longingly upon the new object of my desire, the love spell was cast. The pitter patter of my heart raced with anticipation. Would everything of our first get together be as wonderful as I hoped? Would it be all that I longed for?

Okay, okay ... there’s no need to get all a twitter. I’m talking about tasting my new recipe for stuffed pork tenderloin! Gee whiz, what did you think I meant? hehe

Remember how you felt the first time you tried a new recipe and found it to be a real keeper? I mean, seriously, how many times do you really close your eyes and let out a moan when you take the first bite? This recipe is THAT good. I’ve never made anything like it and I’m just so pleased with it. The stuffing is just sooooo yummilicious, and the pork itself was perfect. Really folks, you MUST try this. It’s the stuff of legends. Well, okay, maybe not legends, but it’s 'love at first sight' good. The original recipe (Better Homes and Gardens) actually calls for it to be made with turkey tenderloins and served as an appetizer. I adapted it to be a main entrée and used that other white meat – pork. It is rather messy to assemble, but, oh baby, it is worth it. Come on, join me as we make ...

Love Me Tender
Pork Tenderloin with Onion Apricot Cream Stuffing

1 tablespoon butter
1 sweet onion – sliced into thin half rounds
¼ teaspoon black pepper
dash of cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoons brandy
6 dried apricots – diced
½ of an 8 oz brick of cream cheese – softened
1 pork tenderloin – trimmed of any exterior fat or sliver skin
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon pistachios
drizzle of olive oil
Garlic Salt
5-6 long pieces of cotton kitchen string

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onion. Toss gently and cook until the onion is tender and has turned a lovely golden color. Stir in the peppers. Remove from heat, and add the brandy, stirring to scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan.Add the diced dried apricots, cover, and let stand off the heat for about 15 minutes. Stir in the cream cheese until it’s melted and everything is combined.

Heat the oven to 400F. Place a rack on a foil lined baking pan. In a small pan, over medium heat, toast the almonds and pistachios. It won’t take but a couple of minutes.After the nuts have toasted, chop the nuts as you would for baking. Now it’s time to butterfly the pork. This is the messy part. Very carefully, with a sharp knife, butterfly slice your tenderloin so that it lays flat in a rectangle shape. I actually used both a knife and kitchen shears. I wish I could have taken a picture for you, but my hands were really, well, gross. Anyway, pat your pork dry. Using a meat mallet, pound the pork until it is uniform in thickness. Really pound away. Now take your cream cheese mixture and spread it to within 1 inch of the edges. Take your chopped nuts, and sprinkle them on top of the cream cheese. Now roll your pork up lengthwise, jelly roll style. Try to make a tight roll. Tie at about 1-1/2 to 2” intervals with string. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with garlic salt. Place on the rack, and bake for 35-40 minutes.You can see that the stuffed loin reached from end to end on this rack.
See how much it shrinks when it cooks? Isn’t that incredible? That’s okay, I forgave it.I mean look at this!Isn’t this gorgeous? Remove from the oven, and allow to sit for about 10 minutes before slicing.Remove the string. It just peels away super easily.

Slice. Serve. Fall in love. Hum Love Me Tender(loin). This is so flavorful. You’ve got the wonderful pork paired with the creamy filling.The creamy filling, or stuffing I should say, is surprisingly light. The onion takes center stage, but the apricots and nuts definitely let it be known that they are at the party. This stuffing would go great rolled up in thin chicken breasts, plus it would be super easy to do with just regular pork chops.My youngest child loved this. Which reminds me, this is a GLUTEN FREE recipe, all the way, baby!

And, if you are in the mood to listen to some love songs while you savor your stuffed pork tenderloin, here is a list of the top 20 love songs of all time courtesy of the internet. Of course, I’m sure this list changes daily. Check it out and see how many of these you know!

1 WHITNEY HOUSTON -I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU
2 ELVIS PRESLEY -LOVE ME TENDER
3 CELINE DION -MY HEART WILL GO ON
4 JOURNEY -OPEN ARMS
5 PAUL MCCARTNEY & WINGS -MAYBE I’M AMAZED
6 RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS -UNCHAINED MELODY
7 LIONEL RICHIE/DIANA ROSS -ENDLESS LOVE
8 ELTON JOHN -YOUR SONG
9 JACKSON 5 -I’LL BE THERE
10 AEROSMITH -I DON’T WANNA MISS A THING
11 ETTA JAMES -AT LAST
12 BEE GEES -HOW DEEP IS YOUR LOVE
13 SINEAD O’CONNOR -NOTHING COMPARES 2 U
14 OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN -I HONESTLY LOVE YOU
15 BILLY JOEL -SHE’S GOT A WAY
16 FRANK SINATRA -FLY ME TO THE MOON
17 FAITH HILL -BREATHE
18 PETER GABRIEL -IN YOUR EYES
19 CHICAGO -IF YOU LEAVE ME NOW
20 SONNY & CHER -I GOT YOU BABE

20 comments:

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i love the look of this. butchers usually roll up pork in this way with your choice of filling, but i'd prefer to make it myself

Cheryl said...

Girl, that looks freaking amazing, I love pork and what a delicious combo! You are too clever!

noble pig said...

Just the word cream in the stuffing makes me want this. It sounds delcious!

Manggy said...

Oh, with such a glowing recommendation, how can I refuse? :) It looks like it can serve maybe fifty, though! O_o

prairierunner said...

...and I just happen to have all the ingrediants too!!! Thanks Paula, it looks soooo good!

Bellini Valli said...

Pork is so popular back East that I long for a nice tenderloin.

Grace said...

the other white meat never looked so good--terrific stuffing!
and sadly, i don't even know all those songs. i guess that tells you how much of a romantic i am. :)

Pam said...

Yes, I know and love that feeling. That success of an amazing recipe! I will definitely mark this one to try.

Esi said...

I'm in love with pork tenderloin lately. This looks like a great recipe!

Katherine Aucoin said...

Nothing like savory a recipe while you're falling in love with it. This looks wonderful, I'm always look for new ways to prepare pork tenderloin!

Aggie said...

Oh, this looks and sounds delicious Paula! I haven't made a stuffed tenderloin in ages...what a great combo of flavors!!!

Your pictures are making my mouth water....at 9am!

Pam said...

Oh yum. I love apricots and pistachios together. This stuffed pork looks FANTASTIC!/

Lo said...

Great flavor combination... and I'm on such a kick with caramelizing onions that I really should put this on my list of recipes to make! :)

Bridgett said...

Aw, your little one is darling! Look at those gorgeous eyes.
Speaking of lovely, this pork tenderloin looks amazing. I am finally coming around to eating more pork and this definitely needs to go on the list. The stuffing sounds amazing.

Marjie said...

You're really into the apricots this week, and I think that's a good thing. I can eat a pound of them a day, I think...OK, maybe not quite, but still!

The Blonde Duck said...

Another winner! I love the title. :)

Jan said...

Wow, Paula, I'm not surprised you're in lurve, that looks amazing! Fabulous job. Isn't it great when you find one of those recipes?

My husband is in love with my thighs at the mo. My chicken thighs that is, cooked in garlic and rosemary. :-)

Darius T. Williams said...

Looks good - I have a pork loin and I still don't know how I'm going to use it - lol.

Peter M said...

Paula, that is the longest pork tenderloin I've seen ever!

The stuffing well, I'd fall in love with it too...almonds, apricots...any leftovers?

Kevin said...

I really like the sound of the apricot stuffing!