SPINACH AND MUSHROOM STUFFED PORK TENDERLOIN

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 ūüėČ

StuffedPorkTenderloinSPINACH AND MUSHROOM STUFFED PORK TENDERLOIN
(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¬įF. 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 140¬ļF,¬†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.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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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 saut√©ed 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.

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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

TUSCAN GRILLED CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE SKEWERS

Talk about being slow to blog about stuff.  This recipe was made last August, so it will appeal a lot more now to the lucky folks who live in places such as Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, are enjoying the best time of their lives, aka SUMMER!  I was slow to blog, but even slower to give it a try, as the recipe is from Fine Cooking, year 2006.  Eight years and a few months ago.

You will need to prepare in advance a delicious rosemary-infused olive oil, and there will be leftovers. I confess that this was probably the reason why I dragged my foot for so long before making this recipe. I am not big on preparing infused oils and sauces and dressings that can be used later. They sit in the fridge making me feel guilty as the days go by and their expiration date approaches.  Still this rosemary concoction would be great in a simple spaghetti aglio & olio or drizzled over your favorite pizza topping.  Very flavorful stuff, the smell as it simmers will make you wanna dance. Not a dancer? It will make you wanna sing. Not a singer either? I will settle for a smile. Make it a big one, though.

Tuscan Chicken Sausage Skewers

TUSCAN GRILLED CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE SKEWERS
(from Fine Cooking magazine, issue #80)

2-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and cut in half
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. Rosemary-Garlic Oil (recipe follows)
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 2-inch pieces
24 large fresh sage leaves

Up to a day ahead and at least a couple of hours before serving, toss the chicken in a medium bowl with 2 Tbs. of the infused oil, the fresh rosemary, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.

Heat a grill to medium heat. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup oil into two small bowls (one for grilling and one for serving, if desired). Alternately thread three pieces of sausage, three pieces of chicken, and four sage leaves onto each of six 12-inch metal skewers.

Grill the skewers, covered, until one side is browned and has good grill marks, about 4 min. Brush with some of the rosemary-garlic oil, flip, and cook the other side until it, too, has good grill marks, about 4 min. Brush with more oil and flip again. Continue cooking, flipping, and brushing with oil until the sausage and chicken are both cooked through, about 10 min. more.

Let cool for a couple of minutes and then arrange on a platter, and serve with additional oil, if so desired.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

RosemaryOil
ROSEMARY-GARLIC OIL
(slightly modified from Fine Cooking magazine, issue #80)

1-1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
3 sprigs fresh rosemary

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic starts to bubble steadily, 3 to 4 min. Add the rosemary, remove from the heat, and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a clean glass jar or other storage container, cover, and refrigerate. Use within five days.

ENJOY!

to print the infused oil recipe, click here

skewers

Comments:¬† This was a pretty nice recipe! I did not baste the skewers¬†often while grilling, only once, but that did not hurt¬†them a¬†bit. Vegetarians forgive me, but the¬†mixture of chicken with sausage is a winner, and the sage leaves add a lot of flavor and visual appeal. ¬†If you want to add veggies to the skewers, I think eggplant cubes could work well, they would stand to the cooking and be done more or less at the same time as the meat. Of course, onion would be another great option. Something to consider when summer is finally back bringing with it my beloved flip-flops, shorts, and t-shirts. By now I am even looking forward to golf… ¬† ūüėČ

Note added after publication: I was kindly reminded by my readers in Florida that they are currently all happy under a 70 F sunny weather.  It is a bit like sticking the knife and twisting, so yes, go ahead Floridians, and make this recipe.  Think about me as you do it, and send me some of your warm weather ASAP.

ONE YEAR AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with Pork Tenderloin & Apples

TWO YEARS AGO: Salmon Wellington

THREE YEARS AGO: The Green Chip Alternative

FOUR YEARS AGO: Weekend Pita Project

FIVE YEARS AGO: Let it snow, let it snow, eggs in snow

 

 

A TASTE OF YELLOW TO HONOR BARBARA

Long before I started my own site, I already followed Barbara’s blog, Winos end Foodies.¬† For a while I was unaware of her health problems, until one day I clicked on the “About” page and learned that she started blogging right after being diagnosed with cancer, in 2004.¬† She used Winos and Foodies to get her mind away from her illness, and through the years of blogging she touched many people’s lives.¬† A lot has been written about Barbara, you can read a particularly touching tribute¬† here¬†

A few months after I started the Bewitching, I wrote Barbara an email and was amazed by how kind and thoughtful she was, sending me advice and encouragement. She read, left comments, dropped me private emails, it was hard to imagine that she could do it all while fighting one of the toughest battles a person can face.  I feel fortunate to have known her, at least virtually.

If you’ve never stopped by Winos and Foodies, please do so. She wrote about art, photography, food, her relationship with her husband of so many years, and occasionally about her tough times with cancer.¬†¬† You will notice that¬† contrary to what most bloggers do (myself included), she didn’t post a blogroll of websites she enjoyed.¬† Instead, she created a page called Blog Friends, and listed everyone by name.¬† A special, sweet gesture, so typical of her.

In 2007, fascinated by the performances of Lance Armstrong 0n the Tour de France, she launched the event “A Taste of Yellow”¬† ,¬† to coincide with LIVEstrong Day, and to raise awareness about cancer in the community of food bloggers.¬† Barbara passed away on June 29th, so this year’s event, hosted by Jeanne (Cook Sister), is dedicated to her.

For my participation in this series of Taste of Yellow, I chose to cook with beautiful ears of corn.

COUSCOUS WITH CORN AND SCALLIONS IN BROWN BUTTER
(adapted from Fine Cooking, Aug/Sep 2012)

1 + 1/2 Tbs butter
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
kernels of 2 ears of corn
2 scallions, finely sliced (white and light green parts)
3/4 cup couscous
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
1 cup boiling water

Melt the butter on medium-low heat and cook stirring occasionally,  until the butter gets a hint of golden color. Do not let it turn brown at this point because it will still cook a little further.  Add the thyme, and cook until fragrant.

Add the corn kernels, salt and pepper, cook for 2 minutes, increasing the heat slightly so they brown up.  Add the scallions, cook until they soften, another minute or so.  Add the boiling water all at once, close the pan and remove from the heat.  Let it rest 5 minutes, fluff with a fork, and serve.

to print the recipe, click here

My deepest condolences go to Barbara’s husband Bryan, their two sons,¬† family and friends in this difficult time. She will be missed.

(Comments are shutdown for this post)

GOT BEEFSTEAK TOMATOES?

Got 10 minutes to spare?¬† Here’s a side dish to awe your taste buds.¬† The latest¬† Fine Cooking magazine has a full article about tomatoes, perfectly timed when farmers markets are overflowing with those in all shapes and sizes.¬† Normally I don’t buy beefsteaks, favoring smaller types¬† like Campari, grape, and cherry.¬† But this recipe called my name loudly.
GRATIN OF BEEFSTEAK TOMATOES
(slightly modified from Fine Cooking, August 2011)

3 beefsteak tomatoes
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
2 Tbs fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
slight drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the tomatoes in 1/4 inch thick slices, and place them with a little overlap on a broiler-safe type of dish.

Mix the bread crumbs with the cheese and the herbs and sprinkle all over the tomatoes.  Season them with salt and pepper (Asiago cheese is salty, use less salt than you normally would);  drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the tomatoes (use a spray bottle if you prefer), place the dish under the broiler for 3 minutes or until it starts to get golden on top.    Serve right away.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  This recipe may very well change my mind about keeping beefsteak tomatoes around the house.  They stand up to the broiler nicely, and the salty/cheese crust on top is a nice complement to the juiciness of the tomatoes underneath.   Phil  said that he could imagine this dish on the menu of an American steakhouse, next to a substantial T-bone steak, grilled medium rare.   We took a more humble route, and served them with flank steak, and grilled zucchini slices.   Summer dining: simple, light, and quick to put together.

ONE YEAR AGO: Tour de France Final Stage: PARIS

TWO YEARS AGO: Snickerdoodles with a Twist

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