Like most days, I knew pretty much what was for supper the other night - roasted fillet of pork tenderloin. Nothing fancy, just a good coating in seasoned flour and a quick roast. So there it was, the pork loin resting on the cutting board, looking simple and kinda lonely. So I asked it for inspiration, maybe it deserved to play a more interesting role in dinner plans. But, it just sat there, did nothing and said not a word. I looked at it and thought about a few things, some not worth mentioning. Then I did as I do so many times, I peered into the cabinets for my inspiration. After all, little pork loin wasn't helping one bit.
Taking inventory, I remembered an appetizer I enjoyed many, many years ago. A moist plump dried plum stuffed with cheese and wrapped in a thin strip of fried pork. Delectable is how I remember it. The sweet, almost tartness of the fruit played joyfully in contrast to the creamy sharp cheese, a buttery compliment to the savory fruit influenced by a slightly little salty character coming from the pork.
This is my vision of that - a sort of oversize version of that appetizer; entrée size if you will. Now I can think of many great cheeses to use here, Gorgonzola or any creamy young blue would be great giving that edge, even going toward a ripe brie or to the opposite and a milder tone like a buttery Amish or German Butterkase. But I used what I had on hand and the outcome was, well ... country delectable. Enjoy!
Fruit & Cheese Stuffed Pork Loin
about 2 pound pork loin
2 cups dried fruit - apricots & plums are my favorite
1/3 cup sherry or brandy
1 ounce cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon red currant jelly or orange marmalade
Place the fruit and sherry in a narrow bowl. Heat in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir and let set for about an hour until most of the liquid is adsorbed.
Mix the cream cheese and cheddar cheese together. Form into 1/2-inch balls. Refrigerate.
Prep the pork loin by cutting a whole horizontally into the thickest end. Insert a long fillet knife centered into the end plunging toward the opposite and to about an inch from the outer end. Without enlarging the opening, move the knife toward one side, again cutting only to about an inch to the outside and slowly work the knife along the side slicing toward the end piece of the incision. Roll knife over and slice opposite side.
Stuff the loin alternating with the two fruits and the cheese balls packing deep into the pocket. Continue until all fruit and cheese are inserted. Reserve any sherry from the fruit. You may have to hold the loin up on its end to achieve this but all of this will go into the meat if you cut properly. Close and secure the opening using two toothpicks inserted in an 'X' through the opening. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the entire loin rubbing it into the meat and dust with a coating of flour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Lightly cover the bottom of an oven-proof skillet or pan with the oil. Heat on medium high and when hot, sear the loin on all sides. Remove any oil and place fat side up in center of skillet. Place in the oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until instant read thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of meat. Be sure not to take a reading on the filling.
Remove loin to a warm platter, cover with foil and set aside.
Add any remaining sherry that the fruit soaked in to the skillet along with the butter and heat to deglaze pan cooking out the liquid. Stir in the flour, cook for a minute. stir in the broth and cream stirring to make a thin sauce. Season with salt and pepper if needed and if desired stir in a teaspoon of red currant jelly.
Slice pork loin after resting for about 15 minutes and serve with a good spoonful of sauce to the side.