I’ve never cooked pork tenderloin before. I rarely even cook pork. Mostly due to lack of availability of good quality pork in the local convenience shop after work, but also partly because it’s kind of intimidating to me – because I never cook it! So here’s to braving the pork tenderloin. I have to admit I wasn’t filled with much confidence on googling recipes to find out how long to cook one for. I found recipes that varied from 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1 1/2 hours and even 2 1/2 hours (yes, really!). Common sense told me to go with the lowest and just check the meat. Oh my I’m glad I did! This meat does not need long at all! And I realised it’s a pretty bloody simple cut of meat. It’s a lean meat, so treat it similarly to how you would treat a chicken breast. Don’t overcook it. Give it a moist stuffing. Rest it nicely. Save the juices. Perhaps make a sauce or gravy if you can be bothered, or a little mustard if you can’t. It really only needs a max of 25 minutes in a heated grill if you flatten it out as instructed below – check the meat a little earlier than this and get it out of there if it’s done!
As for the filling, I chose the classic pairing of chestnuts, onion and sage but opted to blend half of this into a paste for added moisture/smoothness. I’d definitely recommend giving this a go for lean meat stuffings – the contrast in texture was welcome and a pleasure to eat.
You will need:
1 free range pork tenderloin, around 450g, at room temperature
175g cooked and peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 white onion, diced
Bunch of sage leaves, picked
Knob of butter
White pepper, salt
You’ll also need 6 or so soaked toothpicks or string, to hold the pork together
1 – Preheat your grill to a high-medium heat.
2 – Heat a little oil and the butter in a frying pan and add the sage, followed shortly by the onions. Cook gently til softened and tip in the chestnuts. Fry for a further minute or two then season with salt and white pepper.
3 – Take half the chestnut mix and blend in with enough water to make a spread.
4 – Take your pork and cut it almost in half lengthways – make sure you don’t cut all the way through – and open it up like a book. Use a rolling pin to flatten out the pork a little. You’ll need it to be a maximum of 1.5cm thick.
5 – Massage a little oil into the pork along with some salt and white pepper. Spread the chestnut paste along the top half of the pork (ie on one side) then top with the remaining whole chestnuts and onions.
6 – Roll up the pork and secure using toothpicks or string.
7 – Place the pork on a lightly oiled tray and pop under the grill for 25 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. You want to make sure you don’t overcook the pork as it’s quite lean and will dry out.
8 – Rest the pork for 5 minutes before removing the picks or string and carving into thick slices. Serve with the juices poured over.