stuffed pork tenderloin


traditionally, pork and i have not been great friends. i love proper bacon and have learnt to cook pork belly to perfection. i also love various salamis, chorizo and hams. however, that has been the limit of my interest in pork.

until now that is. on a whim i bought a pork tenderloin and it has been sitting in my freezer for several weeks while i mumbled under my breath about the silliness of such a purchase. pork? dry and flavourless - what a waste of a meal!

on the advice of a friend i decided that the best approach would be to wrap it in pancetta and stuff it so that there was an extra layer of flavour. i used a caramelised onion, chorizo, lemon and spinach stuffing and it was fabulous. the pancetta did a fantastic job at keeping the pork moist and the lemony stuffing added a wonderful range and depth of flavour to the dish, which we ate with a spinach and chorizo pilaf.

i’m so pleased that i’ve learnt how to use a new cut of meat and am really looking forward to experimenting a little more with pork. decent crackling on a roast is probably the next thing i need to try... any foolproof tips welcome!

pork tenderloin stuffed with caramelised onion, chorizo, lemon and spinach stuffing, with spinach and chorizo pilaf (serves 4)

1 pork tenderloin

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 red onion, thinly sliced

2 picante chorizo sausages, finely diced

300g baby leaf spinach

a handful of breadcrumbs (1-2 slices bread)

zest and juice of half a lemon

black pepper

12 rashers pancetta

150g basmati rice

400ml vegetable stock

preheat the oven to 200c.

cut the pork in half, lengthways. bash each piece of meat with a rolling pin (place the meat between a couple of layers of cling film or in a plastic bag) to flatten it a little.

heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions until they begin to soften. add the chorizo and fry until the meat is cooked and the onions have begun to caramelise. remove half the mixture from the pan, (including most of the oil that has been released by the chorizo) and set aside. add half the spinach to the pan and cook until it wilts, placing a lid on the pan to make this easier. remove from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and juice. season well with black pepper.

place the pancetta rashers in a line, on a board, slightly overlapping. top this with one half of the pork tenderloin and cover this with the chorizo, spinach and lemon stuffing. top with the other half of the tenderloin and wrap the pancetta around it, sealing in the stuffing. place, seal side down, on a lightly-oiled baking tray and roast for 25-30 minutes, until the pork is cooked through. leave to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

meanwhile, place the onion/chorizo that was set aside back into the pan. warm through and add the rice. stir well to coat the grains with the oil and cook for a minute. add the stock, cover and leave to simmer until the stock is absorbed and the rice cooked (you may need to add extra liquid). wilt the remaining spinach into the rice.

serve slices of stuffed pork with the rice and green vegetables. we had purple sprouting broccoli.