A couple of weeks ago, my mother and I decided that we’d go a little off the beaten path when it came to Thanksgiving this year. We thought we’d mix it up with some new recipes.
That was the plan.
And then on Tuesday my father said he needed turkey on Thanksgiving. Well, that seemed reasonable. Then my mother and I said that we needed stuffing. My mother asked Jedd what dish he needed for Thanksgiving to feel like Thanksgiving, and he said mashed potatoes.
My mother and I looked at each other and burst out laughing.
A traditional Thanksgiving, it will be!
But way back when – on Monday – when I thought we’d be trying something new, this was going to be my suggestion.
Stuffed pork. Mmmm.
However, since I couldn’t make it for the holiday, I decided to make it just for us. Why not?
The most difficult thing about it was pounding the meat out evenly.
And any recipe where the most “difficult” thing is pounding out meat – isn’t really difficult at all. Also, it’s delicious and pretty.
I’m a sucker for pretty.
Spinach Stuffed Pork
1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 handful of fresh spinach
¼ of a small red onion, roughly chopped
2 deli slices of provolone, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon celery salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (1 lb.) pork tenderloin
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place the bell pepper, spinach and onion in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
Pulse 4 times. Add the provolone, lemon juice celery salt, kosher salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth.
The idea when slicing the tenderloin is to make it like an open book. That means cutting it slowly, so the knife doesn’t go through the back. Don’t be a hero, take a little time with this step. Again, it’s not difficult, you just need to be a gentle.
When you can lay the tenderloin flat, cover it in plastic wrap and pound the bejesus out of it. Ideally, you’d like it to be about ½ inch thick. (Remember when I said that was the hardest step of the recipe? That was my fault. I completely spaced that I was out of plastic wrap. So I had to use a large resealable bag. It was problematic to get the meat pounded thinly, when it kept butting up against the seal of the bag. Blerg.)
Once the meat is pounded out, spread the spinach mixture over the pork, leaving a ½ inch border.
Fold the meat over itself. Cut several pieces of twine into 5-inch pieces. Tie the pork off every inch and a half.Trim off the ends of the twine.
Pour oil into a large cast iron frying pan. Heat over medium heat until it shimmers, about 1 minute. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
Brown the pork until it releases easily from the pan, about 5 minutes.
Place the frying pan in the oven and bake the tenderloin until it registers…well what should it register as? Three years ago the USDA lowered the suggested “done” temperature of pork from 160 degrees to 145 degrees with a three minute rest time.
I’m old fashioned, so I still have the pork register 160 degrees. But, that’s up to you.
With the 160 degrees cooking time, I baked mine for 20 minutes.
Horseradish Cream Sauce
½ cup whipping cream
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Prepared horseradish (to taste)
Lemon juice (to taste)
Scallions (to taste)
Beat the whipping cream and salt with a hand held beater. (Be prepared to wear a little of it.) When the cream is stiff, and the beaters leave a track when pulled across the surface, it’s done. Gently fold in horseradish, lemon juice and scallions.
Serve the pork with horseradish cream.
(Photos by Launie K.)