Happy New Year everyone!
Apologies for being delinquent in my posts of late. The holidays were a whirlwind of visiting family and friends, and, of course, eating lots of good food. All in all, it was a wonderful end to an amazing year for me. 2013 has been busy so far (need to get a vacation to a warm island on the calendar), but I did manage to make my traditional pork and sauerkraut for good luck, health and wealth on New Year’s Day. There’s no harm in being a bit superstitious…
Test this recipe out on a snowy weekend and consider adding it to your repertoire to start off next year– even my few anti-pork friends will cross religious or vegetarian grounds when I serve this. After all, no one wants to risk bad luck for the year ahead!
Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Apricots and Sausage
(Adapted from The New Basics by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins)
4 lb boneless pork tenderloin (preferably center cut and tied)
2 medium sized onions, diced
1 cup of apricots, coarsely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsps of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp of fresh thyme, chopped
1 lb of crumbled pork sausage (sweet or savory but not hot)
Zest of 2 oranges
2 cups of bitter orange marmalade (1 large jar)
1 cup of Madeira wine
Juice of 2 lemons
Freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tbsps of olive oil
Heat 1-2 tbsps of olive oil in medium-large saute pan over medium heat (enough so onions do not burn). Add onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and saute until translucent or about 5 minutes (add more oil if needed). Add sausage (just remove the casings if you can’t find bulk sausage). Break up with a fork or spatula as available. Cook until browned or about 5 minutes. Drain sausage and onion mixture and add to large bowl to cool.
Once cooled, add apricots, parsley, thyme, garlic, orange zest, sprinkle with salt and pepper to sausage mixture. Mix with hands to combine. (Can be done a day ahead and refrigerated.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut giant pocket through pork loin (use a large slim knife). Make sure the pocket goes all the way through and is large enough in the center so that you don’t end up with an absence of sausage in the middle. Keep loin tied if already tied, if not, consider tying to hold it together better. In a large rectangular roasting dish (I usually use a glass one), stuff loin with sausage mixture. The loin will plump with the stuffing, and if the middle isn’t as full, you’ll be able to tell.
Push mixture all the way inside, pushing down with your hands from both sides and/or the handle of a wooden spoon. (Any leftover stuffing can be cooked separately in a dish for the last half hour). If you have a rack that fits in the pan, you can put the loin on the rack, but it isn’t necessary. Sprinkle with additional salt, pepper and thyme as desired.
Once loin is stuffed, make the glaze. Combine the Madeira wine, orange marmalade and lemon juice. Stir to mix. Pour half the glaze over the loin. Then place in the middle of the oven. Bake for 45 minutes (if it starts to dry out, baste as needed.) Then add the remaining glaze to the loin and continue cooking until it reaches 150 degrees (or your desired level of doneness).
Let it rest for 5 minutes. Slice in thick pieces and spoon some glaze from the pan on top of each slice.
Serve with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut (if you like it) and something green to round out the meal. I also have applesauce on hand, a staple with pork in my family.
To drink: a crisp white, a wintery beer or just about anything. This dish is fine on its own.
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