"True wine enthusiasts don’t collect wines.
They collect memories of wines shared with friends and family."

-Dario Zucconi

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Honey Mustard and Goat Cheese

(Roasted Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Honey, Goat Cheese, Dijon Mustard and Parsley)
As a current employment litigator, there are days when I go to work and I have a fairly good sense of what the day will be like - long, adversarial, stressful, and at times unpleasant. To help ensure that the day ends on a happy and uplifting note, I usually try to prepare dinner ahead of time (in the morning) so I can look forward to enjoying a delicious home-cooked meal with my family when I get home. Today was one of those days. So, before I went to work, I decided to stuff some beautiful pork tenderloin with goat cheese and dried raisins, and a rub that consists of whole grain Dijon mustard, honey, and fresh parsley.

The picture I took with me to work this morning was me sitting around the dinner table tonight, enjoying a succulent and juicy pork tenderloin that was bursting with delicious flavors, and sharing stories and laughing with the kids. It made such a huge difference in my attitude and how I reacted to people and "stuff" during the day. At the end of the day, I found myself doing exactly what I had pictured . . . sharing stories with the kids and having a blast laughing just about everything (from the kids reading comics out loud from the Captain Underpants Book Series, to playing hide and go seek, to talking about my daughter's expanders that she just got to fix a cross-bite and prepare for braces, to what they were like when they were in my tummy). They helped me forget that the past 10 hours even existed. To me, that's what makes me whole!

So, if you are ever looking for a great and easy (10-ingredient) pork recipe that you can prepare ahead of time, that's versatile, and that stores very well, check out this one that I created. I hope you enjoy this with your loved ones!

2 pork tenderloins 
1/4 cup of Dijon Mustard (whole grain)
1 Tablespoon of honey
2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
About 8 ounces of goat cheese (crumbled)
1/2 a cup of golden raisin
1 cup of dry white wine (like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio) or whatever wine you have on hand
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon on extra virgin olive oil 
Soak the raisin in the white wine for about 20-30 minutes if you have time so they can plump up. Drain and chop finely. [NOTE: I started soaking mine before I took a shower in the morning, so by the time I am dressed, they are ready.]

Rinse the pork under luke-warm water and pat dry with paper towel. Use a sharp knife to make a pocket (lengthwise) down the middle of the tenderloin (don't pierce it through). Season generously with salt and pepper (inside and out).

In a small bowl, combine the mustard, honey, and 1 Tablespoon of the parsley. Mix well to combine. 

In another small bowl, combine the goat cheese, chopped raisin, and the other 1 Tablespoon of parsley. Mix well to combine. 

Stuff the pork with the goat cheese mixture. Tie with kitchen strings if you have some - or use toothpicks to seal the opening so the cheese mixture doesn't fall out when cooking. Then rub the mustard mixture all over the pork. 

If making ahead, store the pork in a tightly covered container for up to 24 hours. (I stuffed and marinated the pork in the morning before I went to work and stored it in the Fridge until I got home). 

When you are ready to cook it, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Sear the pork on all sides until you have a light golden brown color (about 8-10 minutes). Be careful not to burn them or let the cheese fall out too much. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Transfer the pork to the lined baking sheet. 

Roast the pork in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 145 degrees.  [To check the temperature, insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. Once it reaches 145, it's done. Here is useful USDA guide: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Roasting_Those_Other_Holiday_Meats.pdf

Take the pork out of the oven and transfer them to a platter. Cover the meat with some aluminum foil. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Slice and serve with your favorite side dish (like potatoes, rice, orzo pasta) and/or a salad.  

If you are looking for a nice well-balanced wine to go with the pork, I would recommend a Syrah or Zinfandel as these would go well with the whole grain mustard and the goat cheese. But, I think even a white wine (like a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay) would go well with it too because of the touch of honey and sweet golden raisins.  For us, we enjoyed a glass of the 2007 Arrowood Syrah (unfiltered and unrefined), which is medium bodied and well balanced wine, with soft tannins. It has flavors of dark cherries and ripe blackberries with a hint of peppercorns. 

(Roasted pineapple chunks with brown sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon, served with vanilla ice cream)

For a little sweet ending to your evening, and something the kids will enjoy, how about some pineapple chunks roasted in brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla for about 30 minutes with a side of vanilla ice cream? It's the perfect ending to what may have been a rough day. . . .

Until next time  . . . Cheers!


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