Monday, March 7, 2011

Herbed Apple Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

The recipe comes from The Healthy Irishman, Gavan Murphy. This is the second recipe of his that I've cooked and just like the first it was very tasty. Using fresh herbs gives the pork such a lovely aroma and flavor.

As far as degree of difficulty I would rate it somewhere in the middle. Not as easy as opening a can of tuna but not as hard boeuf bourguignon (never made it but it sounds tricky). If you have an extra pair of hands in the kitchen it will make this recipe a breeze. Hubby was my sous chef last night and ended up cooking the majority of the meal after I had a small run in with my chef's knife. Remember kids to always tuck your fingers under whenever you are chopping something with a large and very sharp knife. Let's just say this blog isn't the easiest to type today.

Injuries aside this recipe was really fun to make and would be a fantastic recipe for a dinner party because it looks beautiful and more complicated than it actually is.  This recipe serves 3 in our household so if cooking for a larger group use a 3 lb tenderloin and double the recipe.


  • 1 1/2 lb lean pork tenderloin
  • 1 red apple, small dice
  • 1 celery rib, small dice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/4 cup sage, chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup apple brandy (could not find apple brandy on short notice, used apricot brandy instead)
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • sea salt and pepper
  • olive oil
Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet and preheat on medium for one minute.

Add apples and celery and saute stirring for one minute. Add a pinch of salt and garlic and saute an additional three minutes.

Once the apples and celery have softened very carefully add the apple brandy to the skillet. If you have a gas stove very slowly tilt your pan until the flame ignites the brandy. If you have an electric stove use a lighter to ignite the brandy. The alcohol will burn and the apples and celery will be infused with the flavor of the brandy.

{Flames should recede after 15 seconds or so}

Once the flames die down remove the mixture to a mixing bowl to let cool.

Preheat oven to 350.

Butterfly the pork loin. Do this by slicing the tenderloin down the middle. Do NOT cut in half. Cut it about 2/3 the way through and then open it like a book. Cover it with plastic wrap and give it a few hits with a mallet or a heavy saucepan to flatten it out just a little bit. We used a rolling pin.

Salt and pepper both sides of the pork loin.

Cut 5 to 6 ten inch pieces of cooking twine and lay them under the pork tenderloin about an inch apart.

Once apple mixture is cool add sage, parsley and lemon zest and mix thoroughly.

Heap the apple mixture onto the pork and distribute evenly.

Grab each end of your top string and tie it in a tight knot around the tenderloin folding it up like a book. Try to keep as much of the mixture in as possible, but don't be upset when some of it falls out as this will happen.

Next tie your bottom string. By tying the top and bottom strings first you will have better success at keeping your mixture from falling out. Continue to tie the rest of the strings.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on high in a skillet large enough to fit your tenderloin for about a minute. Sear all three sides of your tenderloin for one to two minutes or until golden brown. Do not try to sear the side with the opening, your mixture will fall out.

Remove pork tenderloin from pan and place on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet, dish or roasting pan.

{Notice the lack of aluminum foil in my pan.  This was a poor choice.}

Add chicken stock or water to the bottom of the pan. Lean pork tenderloin can tend to dry out easily so by adding the stock or water you will ensure a much more tender and juicier result.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Internal temperature of the pork should be around 160. I like mine on the medium side so a temp of about 170 should be well done.  This tenderloin was about 175 and was more done than I would have liked, but still tasted fantastic.

Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes before carving. This enables the juices to redistribute back into the meat. If you carve the pork immediately it will be dry and you will lose the majority of the juices.

{This is why you use aluminum foil.  That stuff is not easy to remove once baked into the pan.}

To carve simply remove the strings and cut every inch to two inches depending on how large you want your slices.

I served this over roasted asparagus and cauliflower because they were in my fridge and I needed to use them.

To do this I simply chopped up the veggies, coated them with a little bit of olive oil, s & p, and paprika and roasted them for 15 minutes at 400. I also broiled them for a couple of minutes at the end to get a nice brown color on top.

While everything tasted lovely together I feel the dish was a little too green and off-white and needed a bit more color. Next time I serve this I will use some more colorful veggie combinations like butternut squash and cauliflower, or carrots and pearl onions, or beets and artichokes. Whatever veggies you use I would suggest a simple roasting recipe like the one I used. The pork has a lot of flavors and you want to make sure that your veggies compliment yet don't distract from the star of the plate.

This recipe definitely goes in the list of favorites for The Hamiltons.

Hope you enjoy!

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