By Jane Ward
Special to the Times
This roast pork tenderloin stuffed with glistening, colorful dried fruits fills all of my requirements for a holiday entree.
A holiday entrée must come together quickly, it should feed a crowd, it must work on fancy dinner plates at home and on a buffet table and, most importantly, it should be delicious. This roast hits every mark, a real winner.
After creating this roast that is filled with sweet prunes and dried apricots, you slather it with a mix of butter and thyme. Then apple cider is poured over it before baking and it is basted every 10 to 15 minutes. It really is as delicious as it sounds.
This mouthwatering roast will be a hit at your next holiday dinner, and you can even make a creamy gravy from the juices left in the pan. As if all that wasn’t enough, you may also serve the meat as soon as it comes out of the oven, warm, or room temperature.
Cold and sliced, you will have an excellent pork sandwich. Just spread a crusty roll with a little chutney or marmalade mayonnaise and tuck in a few arugula leaves. Leftovers don’t get much better than that.
11/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pork tenderloins, thin ends trimmed to make both same length
1 cup prunes
1 cup dried apricots
2 or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup unfiltered apple cider
1. Trim up the two tenderloins as described above. Using a sharp knife, cut a shallow pocket down the center of both pieces of meat, lengthwise. Open both and flatten a bit to “butterfly” the tenderloins.
2. Mix the two dried fruits together and place as much of it as you can along the top of one of the flattened pieces. Lift the second piece of meat and place it cut side down over the fruit to cover.
3. Take a length of kitchen twine and tie the roast well to hold the two pieces together and to keep the fruit safely sealed inside.
4. Place a small amount of olive oil in a large skillet and heat it over medium high heat. When hot, place the roast in the pan and sear both sides until deep brown, about 4 minutes per side. Move the roast to a cutting board and set aside.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
6. Blend the softened butter together with the thyme leaves, mix well. Slather this all over the surface of the roast.
7. Place the roast in a 13- by 9-inch roasting pan. Pour the cider over the top of the roast and place the pan in the oven.
8. Baste the top of the roast with the pan juice every 10 to 15 minutes until the roast is cooked through, about 40 to 45 minutes. Pork is cooked when a meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees. Remove the meat to a try or cutting board and cover with a piece of foil to let it rest before carving. If desired you may place the pan juices in a small saucepan and simmer to reduce by about one-third to make a sauce for the gravy boat.
Recipe courtesy of Amesbury food blogger and novelist Jane Ward, 2012.