Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Onion and Apricot


I hadn't made pork tenderloin in a long time and this past weekend I decided it was time to bring it out and prepare one of my own favorite stuffed pork tenderloin recipes. Yes, stuffed and you all know how much I like stuffed foods. Tenderloin can be pretty dry because of it's leanness but if you follow my steps, you will have the most juiciest and flavorful pork tenderloin ever. The stuffing consists of apricots soaked in orange liqueur, caramelized onion that are cooked down in brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and orange juice and liqueur. Drooling yet? Then the pork tenderloin is wrapped in bacon and roasted off to tender perfection. I am pretty sure you are drooling now! This recipe surpassed the Hubs flavor barometer with  very speedy requests for seconds. The best part is because I made two tenderloins at once, I had a meal for later in the week that because of the brine process allowed me to heat up it up without lost of moisture. This meal was superb!

2 pork tenderloins (1 pound each), brined (*See recipe note)
1/2  - 3/4 cups orange liqueur
1 cup dried apricots*
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large yellow onions. thinly sliced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 large oranges, zest grated and juiced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
24 slices of center cut or turkey bacon
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 teaspoon, fresh rosemary, minced
2 tablespoons of very cold butter, cut into small cubes*

Heat the orange liqueur and add in cup of dried apricots, taking care that they are
all covered. Set aside to soak while the onions cook.
Heat a large deep 12" oven-safe skillet (preferably stainless steel) over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the onions. Cook for 10-15 minutes or till tender and golden. Add the sugar, vinegar and orange juice and cook covered, over low heat for 20 minutes. Take apricots out of the liqueur and chop, add, along with liqueur, to the onions during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Remove lid and continue to cook until all liquid is evaporated. Remove from pan and allow to cool.

Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil, cloves, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside. Butterfly the tenderloins.  Here is a great "how to" video that takes you step-by-step  through the process . Once butterflied, place the pork between two pieces of plastic and using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound gently until roughly 3/8 of an inch thick. Rub both sides of the tenderloins with the olive oil mixture.

On the work surface overlap 12 slices of bacon, lengthwise, per tenderloin. Lay  tenderloin over bacon and spread half the apricot-onion mixture over each  tenderloin. Roll pork and bacon at the same time and then tie with kitchen twine (see video link shared above).

Heat over to 425 degrees F.

In the oven safe skillet used to cook onion, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and brown all sides of each tenderloin. Place in preheated oven and roast until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees (about 20 minutes +/-). remove from pan and tent with foil.
To the pan add the broth, wine and rosemary and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until liquid is reduced by half. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, one piece at a time. Allow one piece to melt before adding the next one. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.

Remove strings from pork and slice about 3/4 to 1 inch thick, drizzle slices with sauce.

Serve with buttery mashed potatoes and garlic-butter sauteed green beans. ENJOY!

*Recipe Notes:
I highly recommend that you brine your pork tenderloin.  It will keep it moist and flavorful during the cooking process.  See my post "To Brine or Not to Brine?  That Shouldn't Even Be a Question " on how to brine.
For the liqueur soaked apricots, if time permits, soak for a few hours prior, it really kicks up the flavor.
Place the cubed butter in the freezer to guarantee it is extra cold.
If you don't polish off the two tenderloins and have a whole one left over, carefully wrap in foil and store in fridge. On the day you want to eat, take it out of the fridge at least 1 hour before eating. Heat in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven, tightly wrapped in it's foil for about 20 minutes.

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