Stuffed pork delights the eye

COOKING FOR TWO

Lean tenderloin, butterflied, does the job in style

January 19, 2003|By Bev Bennett | Bev Bennett,Special to the Sun

Ordinarily the tenderloin isn't stuffed. It's a lean, narrow piece of meat that's usually roasted and served with a light sauce. Stuffing a tenderloin takes patience but is well worth the effort.

Using a sharp knife, cut down the length of the tenderloin, not severing the meat in half. You should have about 1/2 inch of meat holding the two sides together. Pack no more than 1 cup of stuffing into the cavity, spreading it down the length of the meat. You won't be able to close the two halves once the tenderloin is stuffed. Instead, secure the opening as tightly as possible with toothpicks.

Because pork tenderloin is lean, you'll want a stuffing, such as bread crumbs and vegetables, that provides moisture. Add a coating along with the filling for added succulence. A thick layer of flavored bread crumbs prevents the meat from drying out as it cooks.

In this recipe for stuffed pork tenderloin, onion-flavored bread crumbs are mixed with olives and sun-dried tomatoes. When you slice the pork widthwise into thick slices, the red of tomatoes and the green of olives look mouthwatering.

Round out the meal with mashed sweet potatoes, seasoned with maple syrup and crushed red pepper flakes.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Makes 2 servings

1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (see Note)

1/4 cup finely chopped pimiento-stuffed olives

2 tablespoons finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil

one ( 3/4 -pound) pork tenderloin

1 tablespoon minced green onion

1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Combine 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs, olives and tomatoes in a bowl. Butterfly pork tenderloin by cutting down the center. Spread bread crumb mixture in center of butterflied tenderloin. Fold over to close and secure with toothpicks.

Combine remaining 1 cup bread crumbs, green onions and mustard in a bowl. Place pork on baking sheet. Spread bread crumb mixture over pork.

Roast pork in preheated 400-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes so filling firms up and meat is easier to cut. Cut into 1/2 -inch-thick slices and serve.

Note: Use sourdough, onion, rye or olive bread for better flavor.

Sweet Potatoes

Makes 2 servings

1 large sweet potato

salt

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Peel and cut sweet potato into 1-inch chunks. Place in small pan with lightly salted water to cover. Bring to boil and cook over medium heat 10 minutes or until tender. Drain well.

Return to pot. Add butter, maple syrup, crushed red pepper flakes and black pepper. Mash with back of fork and beat until potato is light and fluffy. Adjust salt to taste.

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