The pi day last week made me realize that for a blog that is almost 6 years old, I have very few pies to share. Not the type of stuff we make that often, and of course, it reflects on their limited presence in the site. On the opposite side of the spectrum we have pork tenderloin, by far one of the types of meat I make the most. This version is a little more dressed-up than usual, and perfect for a weekend dinner. The recipe comes from Fine Cooking magazine, and for those who care to know nutritional details, it is Paleo-friendly (if you omit the cream sauce) and low-carb. It is also elegant, and flavorful, which is what really matters😉

(slightly modified from Fine Cooking)

5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3-1/2 oz. cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained and diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 oz. baby spinach (5 lightly packed cups)
1 large pork tenderloin (about 1-1/4 lb.)
zest of one large lemon
2 tsp of lemon juice
1 large shallot, finely diced
3/4 cup low-salt canned chicken broth
2-1/2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
2 Tbs. heavy cream

Set a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a heavy, ovenproof 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until browned and tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, sprinkle with salt, and cook, tossing well with tongs, until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a colander and set the skillet aside.

Butterfly the tenderloin by making a horizontal slice lengthwise through the meat almost all the way to the other side. Open the meat flat, like a book. Cover with plastic wrap, and using a meat mallet, a small, heavy skillet, or the heel of your hand, lightly pound the pork so that it’s 1/4 inch thick. Rub the pork all over with 1 Tbs. of the oil, the lemon juice, and sprinkle all over the zest of the lemon and about 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper.

Squeeze any excess liquid from the spinach and mushrooms. Spread over the pork, leaving bare a 2-inch border along one long edge. Starting with the long side that’s covered with filling, roll the stuffed tenderloin toward the bare-border side so that it forms a cylinder, and tie it with kitchen twine.

Wipe the skillet clean if necessary. Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Sear the pork on all three non-seam sides until well browned, about 6 minutes total. Flip onto the seam side, then transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast registers 140ºF, 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer the meat to a clean cutting board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, return the skillet to the stove over medium-high heat (be careful; the skillet’s handle will be hot). Add the shallots, season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring, until the shallots soften and brown, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth, sherry vinegar, and simmer briskly until the mixture reduces by a bit more than half, about 4 minutes. Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Slice the pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve with the sauce.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The only problem when cooking pork tenderloin is the delicate nature of this meat, and its tendency to dry during roasting because it has such low-fat content. By filling it with the sautéed mixture of veggies, you won’t run such risk.  I prepared the filling, rolled the meat, wrapped it in plastic and left it in the fridge for several hours, then finished it all up for our dinner on a Saturday evening, back in January.

You can serve it with any type of starchy side you’d like, pasta, rice, mashed root veggies, but in this particular dinner I went with a much lighter option, and enjoyed it with a side of grated carrots lightly seasoned with lemon juice & olive oil.  I like to keep it in the fridge for an hour or so, then add salt and pepper right before serving. It is amazing what a touch of lemon juice can do to grated carrots.  I first read about it on Leite’s Culinaria, after a tip from our friend Cindy. Try it sometime, nothing could be simpler, but you’ll find yourself making it again and again.



ONE YEAR AGO: Crispy Chickpea and Caper Spaghetti

TWO YEARS AGO: Spring has Sprung!

THREE YEARS AGO: Chickpea and Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

FOUR YEARS AGO: Double Asparagus Delight

FIVE YEARS AGO:  Sun-dried Tomato and Feta Cheese Torte


  1. I love this beautiful pork tenderloin and I think it might like the grated carrots just as much. What a beautiful plate of food.


  2. You did a great job butterflying that pork tenderloin. I’d like to try that with the one I’ve still got in the freezer. It’s only about 1 pound so should give me 3-4 lovely meals … once I decide what to fill it with since I really don’t want to go grocery shopping this weekend and the pickings are slim in the fridge.


  3. Holy moly this looks awesome. I’m not a huge fan of spinach.. do you think it would be OK without, or is the spinach an essential ingredient?


    • How about chard? Or kale? If you are not into any of these greens, double the mushrooms, maybe you could add some ricotta cheese, mozzarella, something along those lines. Pretty much anything you like could go well as a stuffing here.


  4. Claps all around: my ‘kind’ of food! But laughingly admit I love the carrots most – my ‘go-to’ side just before a major shop as carrots always at home . . . not only does it taste so good but one somehow feels ‘blessed’ after all that orange goodness🙂 !


    • I love carrots too, but was not too wild about raw carrots in salad form. This recipe changed my mind. Truly delicious, refreshing, and the texture changes with the acidity of the lemon. Puuuurfect!


    • HA! It is true, I could include some of my pizzas in the pi day! Since I will be re-visiting the issue next year, I will keep that in mind. I love Leite’s Culinaria, been following his site forever….


  5. Pingback: What’s for Dinner: April 2015 Meal Plan | The PinterTest Kitchen

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