02 May 2015

IHCC - A Riff on Jacques Pepin's Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

This is the first major meal that I have cooked this week. Really. You see, life's been crazy busy of late.
The entire middle of the week was taken up with a group of quilters from my local guild. We packed up our machines, fabric, and tools and ran away to Waterville Valley, New Hampshire for three days of intense cutting, piecing, designing, sewing, ironing, sewing, sewing, and more sewing. I ended up completing  two quilt tops and finishing up a couple small household projects that have been sitting atop my 'to-do pile'. When we weren't sewing, we took walks, drank wine, ate really well, and shared a lot of fun chatter.

Then, I came home. What greens and produce that were hanging around the fridge were in less than stellar shape. Hence,  I hied myself to the market and picked up fresh spinach, mushrooms, some tomatoes and a cuke. Cruising by the meat cooler, I found a pork tenderloin and by the time I got home, I knew I'd repeat a stuffed pork tenderloin dish that I'd made (but failed to post on) during the first week of the IHCC's newest chef tribute ...

Jacques Pepin is the latest and greatest chef to make the cut with the club members at the I Heart Cooking Club. This pork tenderloin of his is usually surrounded by small roasted cherry tomatoes, but I loved the idea of the mushroom chunks sautéed in a bit of olive oil and finished with a splash of white wine to make a sauce. I also loved the idea of overstuffing the butterflied tenderloin and allowing it to finish in the oven topped with a sharp cheese. Kind of reminds me of a stuffed zucchini ... but with more pizzazz.

I didn't throw out the idea of the tomatoes completely. I just put them and a cuke into a rice-based salad that is a rip-off of classic tabouleh. The rice kept me gluten-free. What can I say? It gave me some carbs, but also supplied good vegetable content. Anyway ... it was a killer meal.

Had to fortify myself for a new quilt project ... yes, I am an obsessive quilter at this point.  To boot, I have discovered the kaleidoscope of batik fabrics. It could get dangerous, folks!

Here's the pork tenderloin recipe as I made it and the link to the Pepin original (which I made a few weeks ago and was totally wonderful too!)

Susan's Pork Tenderloin Riff

Makes dinner for 3


1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 lb.)
1/2 lb. fresh spinach leaves, rinsed, picked over, drained well
1 medium shallot, small dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c. grated Cheddar cheese, divided
2 tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil 
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
4 tbsp. olive oil
10 large Crimini mushrooms, stems trimmed, cut into thick slices
1/4 c. dry white wine

Needed: butcher's twine

Making the Dish:

1. Heat 2 tbsp. of the olive oil in a large fry pan. Add the shallots and salute until they glisten.
2. Add the garlic and continue the saute for about 30 seconds.
3. Add the spinach and toss to incorporate the shallots and garlic. Sprinkle a bit of Kosher salt and black pepper, cover the pan and lower the heat. Let the spinach wilt for a few minutes.
4. While the spinach wilts, wash and pat dry the pork tenderloin. Butterfly the meat cut to make a valley for the spinach stuffing.
5. Rub the bottom of a small roasting pan with olive oil and set it aside.
6. Position the tenderloin on a rimmed cookie sheet so you can work with it and not get juices all over you work surface. Lay the butch twine under one end of the meat and let the ends of the string come out away from the meat so they're out of the way when you stuff.
7. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the pork. Lay 1/2 of the wilted spinach mix down the center valley of the meat. Position the sun-dried tomatoes atop the spinach. Sprinkle half the grated cheese over them. Place the other 1/2 of the spinach atop all.
8. Now, gather the butcher twine up and bring the tenderloin up, leaving the spinach stuffing exposed. Tie a knot and then begin (gently) lifting the tenderloin and winding the twine over and around the meat, pulling the edges of the tenderloin up enough to make a 'trough' for the stuffing.  This is messy and you'll end up poking the stuffing back in here and there, as you flop the tenderloin around a bit.
9. Work the twine from one end of the meat to the other. Tuck the end of the twine in and form a little knot to hold things relatively snug.
10. Now, reheat the same pan you used for the spinach stuffing. Place 1 tbsp. of the olive oil measure in the pan and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Place the tenderloin in the hot pan and brown the bottom and edges of the tenderloin. Be gentle when you roll the tenderloin from side to side.
11. Use two spatulas to transfer the tenderloin into the prepared roasting pan. 
12. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle the other half of the cheese atop the tenderloin and roast for about 25 minutes.
13. While the pork finishes in the oven. Reheat the same fry pan you used earlier. Place the last tablespoon of oil in the pan and salute the mushroom slices. You can add a bit more oil (or butter) if things are too dry. Then, splash in the white wine when the mushrooms have browned up nicely.
14. Serve the roasted pork with the mushrooms surrounding it.
15. Snip the twine along the edges of the tenderloin, slice into thick slabs and serve piping hot from the oven.

Jacques Pepin's original recipe is here ... his recipe is much more concise ! LOL !!

I'm sharing this at this week's IHCC Potluck ... check out what everyone else is making!


  1. sew like the wind... sew like the wind... what a brilliant week, it sounds like heaven. I must dust down my sewing machine one of these days... and the poem is the perfect way to come home and celebrate. It looks gorgeous x

  2. Your quilting trip with the ladies sounds like a fabulous time! Sounds like you accomplished a lot while you were there! Good for you!

    This is such a pretty meal on the plate. I love how you gave the recipe your own touches. I think the mushrooms work beautifully in this dish as they are much more savory than tomatoes. I also love the idea of topping it all off with cheese. Cheese is always a welcome addition in my book! Extremely gorgeous meal!

  3. It does look like a killer meal! And the quilt fabric is amazing.So beautiful.
    I want to join in with I Heart Cooking Clubs, but I just can't find the time right now. I keep hoping tho.

  4. Such beautiful colours for a quilt Susan. My sister was quite an avid quilter for many years. She restarted a quilt about 6 months ago that she started when her first daughter was born 25years ago. It is never too late :-)

  5. Mmm! Gorgeous meal, (gorgeous fabrics too!). I love those mushrooms and that creamy cheesy sauce. ;-)

  6. This pork tenderloin is something I want to eat everyday. I like the way you made changes to Pepin's recipe. What a lovely dish! What I am most intrigued? The batik fabrics. Artful, colorful and tickles the imagination. They would make me dangerous too!

  7. Wow, quilting! That really can make your life crazy busy! I adore the look of this food!!! Everything looks fabulous. The mushrooms especially look totally amazing -- mine never look like that, I must try your ideas!

    Also loving your A to H in the sidebar!

  8. Yup, definitely looks like a killer meal! Looks really delicious and love the changes you made!
    Sounds like you had a wonderful time with your quilting friends!
    My unfinished quilt is still in the box after so many years! Feeling guilty each time I think about it! :)

  9. I rarely cook a pork tenderloin because it is often so hard to season. I can see where this one makes that impossible. Guess I need to go buy a tenderlon!!


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