Making Inroads

Shiitake-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Our fridge is absolutely stuffed to the gills after our most recent shopping trip. It’s quite a brain teaser just to figure out how to take something out to use—say, Greek yogurt—and then fit it back in again. I pulled out a jug of milk yesterday morning to have with breakfast, and there was a bag of fresh shiitakes from the farmer’s market scowling at me balefully for burying it. So last night I wanted to come up with a way to use them up before they shriveled entirely. I settled on a mushroom-stuffed pork tenderloin, and ran by the grocery store to get a few ingredients. (Little teetotaler me trying to find ruby port in the liquor aisle at Safeway is quite a comedy of errors, let me tell you. I did triumph eventually, having asked for the assistance of an elderly gentleman who seemed to know what he was looking for.)

The recipe itself was pretty straightforward. My shiitakes were indeed a bit withered and seemed lacking, so I soaked a handful of dried porcini for the filling and added the soaking liquid to the sauce reduction. I chopped one wilty leek leftover from my asparagus-leek-prosciutto risotto, which ended up being almost more than I needed, as I wound up with excess filling that I couldn’t stuff into the butterflied tenderloins. I briefly considered saving the remainder for omelet filling, but in the interest of fridge space, ended up somewhat guiltily chucking it. I was pretty pleased with my efforts at tying up the stuffed pork such that the filling didn’t all immediately escape, though it took both kitchen twine and toothpicks to do so. It took quite a bit longer than the recipe called for to get the pork up to temp, during which time I worked on the potatoes.

I just used small russets, scrubbed and quartered, and used my favorite new technique for cooking potatoes for mashers: steaming. When they were tender, I heated some milk, butter, and a few ounces of plain goat cheese until they all melted together, and riced the potatoes right into them, removing the peels in the process. I added a bit too much milk, but that turned out to be just fine, because the pork took so much longer than expected—the potatoes thickened up and didn’t dry out.

So how did it all taste? It was very tasty, and something I would consider making again despite the fussiness of it. The pork came out tender enough to cut with our forks, the filling was very flavorful and I think the addition of the porcini really punched it up. The potatoes were fine, though I couldn’t really taste the goat cheese, but the Port reduction was definitely worth the stress of trying to one bottle on a huge poorly labeled aisle. Of course, now I have most of a bottle of Port and a whole leftover tenderloin stuffed into the fridge with everything else, so maybe I didn’t do so well making inroads on the situation after all.

Shiitake-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

1 1/2 C low-sodium chicken broth (homemade or organic if possible)
1 1/2 C low-sodium beef broth (homemade or organic if possible)
1 C ruby Port
1 T minced garlic

5 T butter
1/4 C shallots, chopped
6 oz shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed, and coarsely chopped
1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted in 1 C hot water
1 1/2 C leek, rinsed and chopped (white and pale green parts only)
1/2 C whipping cream

2 1-lb pork tenderloins, trimmed
2 1/2 T chopped fresh marjoram or 2 1/2 tsp dried
1-2 T olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine broths, Port, porcini steeping liquid, and garlic in heavy small saucepan. Boil until sauce is reduced to 1 1/2 C, at least 20 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

Meanwhile, melt 2 T butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until translucent, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and leek and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in cream. Cook mixture until vegetables are soft and most of cream is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Butterfly pork, stuff with mushroom mixture, and tie closed. Rub tenderloins with marjoram. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add tenderloins to skillet and cook until brown on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer skillet to oven. Roast tenderloins until cooked through (160°F internal), about 20-25 minutes. Remove skillet from oven. Transfer tenderloins to platter; tent with foil to keep warm. Return skillet to stove and whisk in sauce. Bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Remove from heat. Whisk in 3 T butter. Cut tenderloins crosswise into slices. Drizzle sauce over and serve with goat cheese mashed potatoes. Makes 4 servings.

Variations to try: Adding some coarsely chopped dried figs to the sauce about 15 minutes before serving. Thyme could be used instead of marjoram, another red wine in place of port, or half-and-half in place of cream. Finishing the sauce with crème fraiche instead of butter.

Source: Adapted from Epicurious.

Goat Cheese Mashers

Steam unpeeled cubes of Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes until tender; meanwhile, heat some milk in a small skillet and add some plain goat cheese and a small pat of butter; stir through to melt cheese and butter. Rice the potatoes into the milk mixture, removing the skins in the process, and stir everything together. Add salt and pepper, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. I think this would be nice with garlic herb goat cheese also.

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