I grew up in a southern home. I was taught proper manners, I was made to work hard — and with my hands — for whatever I wanted, and had our house decorated with rustic Civil War era knick knacks. And mallard ducks for whatever reason.
Yes, I grew up in a ill-decorated southern home. In addition to the above, there were many other trademark southern-home aspects to my childhood, and one that stuck out most was the food. In our house, we had baked apple pies and chocolate cakes, we ate our mustard greens and collard greens with fervor, and fried just about anything we could, because we could.
One meal that seemed to go dance its way to our table fairly often was fried porkchops and applesauce; a truly southern dish that I truly could not care for. I loved the porkchops on its own, and I practically drink applesauce by the jugful, but putting those two together is a gastronomical catastrophe.
Ever since I was younger I have never enjoyed savory meats smothered in sweet sauces or sides, and I would snub my nose whenever it was offered. Since then I’ve come out of my sweet-meat snobbery a bit and will eat it if it’s put in front of me, but you will never find me over a hot stove cooking teriyaki chicken or honey-glazed ham. It’s just not happening.
Though the pork and apple gang tormented me endlessly when I was a boy, I look back on those family meals fondly. I wanted to prepare a dish that was reminiscent of the porkchop/applesauce combination that my family seemed to favor, and today’s dish does just that.
I made a pork tenderloin that was stuffed with a blend of crimini mushrooms, prociutto, swiss cheese, white wine, garlic, onion and — the nod to childhood dinners — a green apple.
Surprisingly, I actually L-O-V-E-D the pork and apple combination, and I was fully expecting to be disappointed. The tanginess of the apple was greatly complimented by the sweet white onion and balmy swiss. It was tart enough to satisfy those sugar-lovin’ taste buds craving activity, but not enough to overpower the expected savory.
Maybe I’m a convert now. Maybe I can now shout from the rooftops that I, Kerry Patrick, am a sweet meat lover. Probably not, though. I see this as a babystep toward introducing my adult taste buds to something a little different, and maybe it’ll catch on, maybe it won’t. Either way, it will still be a good, long while before you see me slathering apple sauce on anything other than the inside of my mouth.
PORK TENDERLOIN STUFFED WITH APPLES, PROCIUTTO AND SWISS CHEESE
Time: 20 minutes prep, 40 to 50 minutes cooking
- One pork tenderloin, preferably one that maintains the same thickness throughout
- 8 oz crimini mushrooms, brushed off and diced
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- three slices prociutto, cut into pieces
- 1/2 green apple, diced
- 1/2 white onion
- 3 to 4 slices Swiss cheese
- 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh parsley
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- 1/8 cup white wine
- olive oil for brushing
- salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
- butcher’s twine
- Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
- Take the tenderloin and make a cut longways roughly one-third or the way from the edge, and slice it leaving about 1/2 inch from the bottom. DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH TO THE BOTTOM. Then run a knife through the other 2/3 of the tenderloin exactly as you did the first, leaving 1/2 inch thickness between the cut and the end of the tenderloin. The idea is to be able to roll out the tenderloin so it is flat, and you will then be able to lay your stuffing onto it before rolling up.
- After rolling the tenderloin out, drizzle the white wine over the cut and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper and let it sit.
- Prepare the stuffing by adding the two tablespoons of olive oil to a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent. Then add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid and most of the liquid has reduced down to almost nothing. Leaving a very small amount of liquid, add your apples and cook for two minutes and remove the pan from heat.
- Add the prociutto pieces to the rolled out tenderloin so it is mostly covered, and then add the Swiss cheese until the tenderloin is mostly covered.
- Finally, add the mushroom, onion and apple mix and spread across so it is evenly covering the tenderloin. Be sure to not overfill as your tenderloin will end up overflowing and spilling out, which is just messy.
- Once the stuffing is in the tenderloin, take one side and start rolling toward the opposite end, being sure to make it rolled very tightly. You are then going to take your butcher’s twine and tie up the roast, first on both ends so no stuffing spills out, and then throughout the middle to keep it together when baking.
- Brush a baking sheet lightly with olive oil and put tenderloin in the center. Brush tenderloin lightly with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Place in oven and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until done. Be sure to not overcook and dry out your pork!
- Once done, let the tenderloin sit for 15 minutes before slicing.