Eight ingredients. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That's the philosophy behind our "8 & $20" feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.
Around the holidays, it’s always helpful to keep a few tricks up your sleeve for entertaining. This stuffed pork tenderloin looks impressive and elegant, but isn’t difficult to prepare, making it a dish that can either be dressed up for guests, or plated simply for a leisurely weeknight meal.
Butterflying a pork loin might look intimidating, but the meat is actually quite forgiving. As long as you’re careful to not slice all the way through the loin, all will be well. Once you have the technique down, you can play around with your choice of stuffing.
Mushrooms make for a classic savory filling. To keep things simple, I just used one type of mushroom for this recipe, but you can always jazz things up with a variety. Buying pre-sliced mushrooms will save you a few minutes of prep time.
An added bonus to cooking with mushrooms is that they are extremely wine-friendly. Their earthy, umami-filled flavor pairs with a wide selection of grape varieties from different regions. We sampled three reds with this dish, covering France, Italy and Spain: a Beaujolais from the cru of Fleurie, a Dolcetto d’Alba and a Rioja Reserva.
On its own, the Beaujolais was the simplest wine in the lineup, with a pleasant fruit character. However, it gained complexity with the food, as the dish brought out an earthy note in the wine. The Dolcetto had more complexity to start, but had the least acidity of the three wines, which meant it took a backseat to the food.
While there were no bad matches, the Rioja red was the definite winner. The Bodegas Montecillo Rioja Reserva 2009 is a traditional-style Rioja with cherry flavors and an elegant brightness. It held its own against the pork, while the mushrooms brought out tobacco and herb notes in the wine.
Though we picked a red-wine match, the recipe calls for the optional step of adding white wine to the mushroom sauce to give it a lighter, brighter flavor. If you're entertaining and are opening a white to start, this should be no problem—just set aside a quarter cup for later. However, you can also opt to use the red you're drinking for a darker, richer sauce. Otherwise, you can skip the wine addition altogether and use a little bit of stock or water instead.
Pair with an elegant, traditional-style Rioja, such as Bodegas Montecillo Rioja Reserva 2009 (89 points, $19)
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Prep time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Approximate food cost: $20
1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Sweat the shallots in a large saucepan or pot over medium-low heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. (If the shallots begin to brown, add a small amount of water to the pan to slow the browning process.) Once the shallots are nearly translucent, add the garlic and continue to sweat the mixture for another 1 to 2 minutes or until completely tender. Add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté over medium heat until fully cooked through, about 10 minutes.
2. Separate out one-quarter of the mushroom mixture (about 1 cup), draining off any excess liquid, and set aside.
3. To the mushrooms remaining in the pan, add the chicken stock and sprig of rosemary. Dissolve the Wondra flour in a small amount of water to create a slurry and add to the mushrooms. Bring the mushroom mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Allow the mixture to thicken and reduce, stirring occasionally.
4. To the separated mushrooms, add the tablespoon of chopped rosemary and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the mushrooms to a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Set aside.5. Arrange the pork tenderloin on a cutting board so the long sides do not face you. To butterfly the tenderloin, hold the knife parallel to the cutting board and begin to slice lengthwise halfway through the thickness of pork. Carefully begin to open the pork as if it was a book. Slice approximately three-quarters of the way through the pork, being very careful to not cut all the way through.
6. Open the tenderloin so that it lies flat. Use a meat mallet to pound the pork until it is approximately 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick.
7. Spread a thin layer of the chopped mushroom mixture on the pork. (If any chopped mushrooms are left over, they can be added back into the mushrooms in the pan.)
8. Carefully roll the pork back up lengthwise with the mushroom mix inside and secure by tying pieces of cooking twine around it, creating 4 to 5 sections. Rub the outside of the roll with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
9. Heat a greased, oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Transfer the pork to the hot pan. Lightly sear the pork on all sides, about 5 minutes. Move the pan to the oven and roast until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 145° F to 150° F, approximately 15 minutes. Remove the pork from the oven, transfer to a clean cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Allow the tenderloin to rest for 7 to 10 minutes. (The pork should come up to a temperature of 160° F as it rests.)
10. Deglaze the pan with white wine if using, scraping up any brown bits. (You can also use more stock or water.) Add the liquid to the saucy mushrooms. Stir and reduce until the liquid coats the back of a spoon. Remove the rosemary sprig and season with salt and pepper to taste.
11. Once the pork has had a chance to rest, slice into rounds. Serve with the mushroom sauce. Serves 4.