One of my favourite foods to order in a restaurant used to be pork tenderloin with some lovely potato croquettes. It’s not a very common thing here in Ireland though and I haven’t eaten it in over 2 years so I decided to just make it at home and to try something I had never done before: butterfly and stuff the pork myself.
I ended up filming it as well, to show people that if I can do it, so can you! It really was a lot easier than I thought it would be, it’s just a matter of making a cut at the top of the meat, at a distance from the top that’s the same as the thickness you want for your pork (don’t make it too thin or too thick) and then fold it open and keep slicing it along the bottom, making shallow cuts and rolling the pork open as you go. I did end up using a meat tenderiser too to make it thinner and bigger after butterflying the pork.
It took me a while to decide on the type of filling I wanted to use. There were just so many options but I decided to go with the seasons and go for some lovely mediterranean filling: buffalo mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, pine nuts and some basil. The result was smashing! I loved my filling so much I ended up saving some for my lunch to go on a sandwich with some chicken. It’ll go well with potatoes and pasta’s too so if you ended up with leftovers: no worries, there’s plenty of options!
Once I had butterflied and stuffed the pork, I used some kitchen string to tie it up. Unfortunately my pork tenderloin had a slit in it already, which I noticed while rolling it. So I ended up adding more string along the areas where it seemed it might spill. I didn’t film the knot I tied at the end in my video, mostly because I hadn’t a clue what I was going to do with it and didn’t have any scissors nearby. Which ever knot you end up going for doesn’t matter, as long as the end is secured tightly, same as the beginning, as we don’t want to have our filling pour out of it.
- 500g pork tenderloin
- 1 buffalo mozzarella
- 90g of spinach
- 100g pine nuts
- 200g sun-dried tomatoes
- a few fresh basil leaves
- fresh Irish thyme
- olive oil
Needed: Kitchen string
Let’s first start by making our easy stuffing. Heat up some oil in a frying pan and add spinach. Cook until the spinach has wilted, drain as much water as you can and add it to a blender or food processor. Add your mozzarella and pine nuts and mix until you get a smooth thick mixture.
Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and butterfly your pork tenderloin. If you’ve never butterflied or stuffed pork tenderloin before, don’t worry: I filmed my attempt to make it easier to understand. All you have to do is first remove any excess fat and then make a shallow slit at the top of your pork, about 1 cm / 0,5 inch away from the top and don’t cut it all the way through either. Where you stop cutting will determine the thickness of your pork as well. I would recommend not making it any thicker than 1 cm, as you want to be able to roll it up a few times.
Once your initial cut is made, fold over the pork and keep slicing your knife along the bottom of the pork and rolling open each time you’ve made a new cut. Keep in mind the thickness you wanted and keep going until the end of your tenderloin.
Spread the stuffing out over the entire tenderloin, but stop before you reach the edge. Add sun-dried tomatoes on one side of the pork, and add some fresh basil leaves on top. Now it’s time to roll up our tenderloin. Don’t press down too hard when rolling as it may end up pushing all your stuffing out. Once it’s rolled up, take a long piece of kitchen string and make a secure and tight knot on one side of the pork, then continue to tie it around your roll until you reach the end. Make another tight and secure knot there and add more string to any areas that might look like the stuffing will pour out of it. Braid some fresh thyme around the string on all sides, about 9 sprigs of thyme should be enough.
Heat up some olive oil in a frying pan and season the pork with pepper. Fry the pork on all sides, then transfer to an oven dish. If you’re using an ovenproof pan you can of course just keep your pork in the pan. Drizzle more olive oil on top and place in the oven at 190°C for about 45 minutes, turn it over half way through (while doing so, scoop the olive oil on top of it to add more moist) and keep an eye on it during the lat 15 minutes. We want the outer skin to be crispy but still juicy too and not dry.
Remove the string, slice up your pork and enjoy! I would recommend eating it with some sweet potato rösti, potato croquettes or a fresh summer salad.