Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

Dinner party main: pork tenderloin stuffed with pecorino and basil

on June 4, 2011

Continuing with my posts on my birthday dinner party, here is the one on the main course of pork tenderloin stuffed with pecorino and basil with haselbeck potatoes and roasted asparagus. I liked this recipe, it was quite simple actually but it has big impact, plus you get to pound the meat with a rolling pin – always good for letting off some steam if you’re stressed about the dinner party or just feeling frustrated or a bit angry! The other great thing is, it can all just go in the oven together so whilst you’re having your starter it can be cooking away.

I found this in my trusty Italian recipes cook book. The whole menu is more or less Italian – in a very liberal sense – perhaps Italian fusion is more accurate! I think with a dinner party especially – you don’t want to be mixing continents too much otherwise it feels a bit confused. Again with this one, I more or less followed the recipe as it was a dinner party and I hadn’t made it before (not recommended, but I never really have the opportunity to try these things out in advance because I don’t normally make the food I’d make for a dinner party). You can buy my cookbook here – I’d say, its definitely a recipe book worth having – there’s so much in it from every day to special occasion and you can’t go wrong with it really.

I chose this recipe because my mother in law kindly turned up one day with a piece of pork tenderloin. I was going to cook it the bbq weekend but as we had the bbq I felt a bit ‘meated’ out and didn’t want to cook it. My piece was about 500g. The recipe calls for 2 pieces of pork tenderloin each about 300g, but this worked fine for 4 people. Also, you’re supposed to tie the rolled pork with string, but I didn’t have any so I made the roll several hours in advance (another reason why this is a good dinner party recipe – you can prep it in advance). Wrapped it tightly in cling film and stuck it in the fridge. When I got it out to brown it off, I put tooth picks in it to hold it together.

Interestingly, pork tenderloin, is not only the best bit of the pig, and the most lean, it’s also the only bit that you can cook a bit pink. I didn’t know this, but found it when looking for recipes for the meat, before I decided on this recipe. And if you’re wondering, haselbeck just means hedgehog style potatoes – they’re just roasted potatoes but they look way cooler!

Stuffed pork with pecorino and basil with haselbeck potatoes and roasted asparagus

Serves 4

  • 500g small potatoes (new, baby, salad – whatever)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 500g piece pork tenderloin
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 50g pecorino cheese, grated (use parmesan or manchego if you can’t find pecorino)
  • 40g fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 24 stalks of asparagus
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1 tsp gravy browning or marmite
  1. Heat the oven to 190 degrees celsius.
  2. Scrub your potatoes (leave the skin on) and then using a tablespoon and a small sharp knife, place a potato on the spoon and cut into it at 1cm intervals until the spoon stops you from carry on (you want the cuts to stop about 1-2 cm from the underneath of the potatoe).
  3. Place in a pan and drizzle about 2 tbsp of olive oil over them and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for about 45-50 minutes or until cooked.
  4. (Or do this first if prepping the meat in advance) Meanwhile, make a slit along lengthways down the side of the tenderloin and then going round the edges until you can lay both sides out flat. Place the tenderloin, laid out flat, between two pieces of baking paper. Using a rolling pin, bash it until even and flattened. Take it out of hte paper and place on a piece of clingfilm (or on a tray/plate if using the twine instead). Brush with about 1tbsp of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and then the chilli flakes. Sprinkle over the basil and the pecorino.
  5. Taking the end near the clinfilm, roll it tightly lengthways, and wrap tightly with the clingfilm. Place in the fridge until needed. Alternatively tie tightly with twine before placing in the fridge.
  6. Prepare the asparagus by snapping off the woody bits (put a thumb and finger either end of the asparagus and gently bend until it snaps – it automatically snaps at the point where the woody bit ends). Set aside.
  7. When you have about 25-30 minutes before you’re serving, move the potatoes to the bottom shelf of the oven. Take the meat out the fridge, remove the clingfilm and add some toothpicks to hold if not using twine. Put a dash of oil in a pan and brown the meat off on either side for a couple of minutes. Place in a roasting tin and place on the middle shelf of the oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until cooked.
  8. After the meat has roasted for about 10 minutes, place the asparagus around the meat drizzle with the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Return it to the oven for the remaining amount of time.
  9. When the meat is cooked, turn off the oven and leave the asparagus and potatoes to keep warm. Place the meat on a carving board and cover in tin foil to rest.
  10. Using the roasting tin, make the gravy. Add the flour to the fat drippings in the pan. Mix well to make a paste and cook over a low heat for a minute or two. Then add the wine a splash at a time, whisking the whole time to avoid getting lumps and scraping any bits off the bottom. If you need more liquid, add some water. Bring to the boil and simmer until you have gravy consistency. Add salt, pepper and browning as needed.
  11. Carve slices of the roll – I did about 2 medium slices per person. Serve with the potatoes, asparagus and gravy and a nice bottle of white wine.
  12. Enjoy!

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