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Stuffed Roasted Pork Tenderloins with Marsala-Prunes Sauce


Easy elegance! I’m all for that.


And with Valentine's day around the corner, look no further.


Now pork and prunes or slightly sweet-tart dry fruits go so well together. The Italians take it up several notches though – This is a marvelous technique of stuffing pork tenderloins with prunes that I learned at a cooking class in Bologna. Now if you know Italy at all, you know that Emilia Romagna is at the heart of great cuisine.


So it comes as no surprise that this fantastic take on the pork and prune classic comes from this region. The additional of Marsala wine which as you know hails from Sicily does exactly what other recipes that use port does – adds yet another layer of sweetness without that cloying after taste.


I do recommend using only sweet Marsala and not the dry variety. I love that this recipe comes together so quickly for a weeknight meal, no fuss-no muss. Once the tenderloins are stuffed in an oh! so clever manner with prunes, it‘s seared and roasted for a few minutes in the oven.


Meanwhile, the shallots are sauteed in the pan with thyme and a sauce comes together with prunes that mash up to make a lovely sauce with the Marsala wine and thickened ever so slightly with chilled butter at the end. Though it is not traditional to add a wee bit of cream at the end, I like to add just a tad to smooth out the flavors.


What a great meal for when friends are over with a lovely simple salad or roasted vegetables, and why wait for a special occasion when you can make it just as easily at the end of a workday.


Once sliced and plated and drizzled with the sauce, it has all the makings of a 5-star meal.


Here’s what I call champagne taste on a water budget – or should I Marsala taste?!


warmly,

Devaki



Recipe for

Stuffed Roasted Pork Tenderloins with Marsala-Prunes Sauce

Serves 4

Shopping list:

2 pork tenderloins (approx 1-1/4 lbs each)

16 prunes

1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine

2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 tbs olive oil

Sauce:

2 tbs olive oil

2 large shallots,  to yield 1/2 cup very finely chopped (minced)

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine

1-1/2 cup chicken or beef stock

2 tbs chilled butter

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbs chopped parsley for garnish if desired


Preparation: Preheat oven to 425 deg F.


Prunes: Slice in half and soak in 1/2 cup Marsala for at least 1 hour.

Shallots: Peel, discard skin and finely chop (mince)

Pork tenderloins: Cut each tenderloin into 2 pieces.

Using the knife sharpening rod, bore a hole through the center of the meat log, protruding out the other end.

Stuff each tenderloin piece with 5-6 prunes, stuffing from both ends. Liberally rub salt and pepper all over the tenderloins.


Method:


In a cast-iron pan, heat the olive oil until very hot. On high heat, sear each of the tenderloins all all sides until a nice golden brown.




Place the pan in the hot oven and roast the meat for about 10 minutes or until the internal temperature registers at 145 deg. F with a digital read thermometer.


Cook's note: Insert the thermometer, parallel into the meaty section and not in the center where the prunes are.


Remove the meat from the pan to a platter, cover the meat with foil and set aside while you prepare the sauce.


To the same cast iron pan, add the olive oil to heat on medium-high. Add 1/2 tsp salt and saute for 7-10 minutes until softened.


Add the thyme leaves and the Marsala along with the remaining prunes and Marsala. Simmer for about 5 minutes and add the stock. Bring to a simmer and allow to evaporate and slightly thicken for another 5 minutes.


Add salt and pepper and taste and adjust seasonings. Add the butter and whisk until the sauce thickens.


Place the meat on the cutting board and slice at a slight angle into 1/4" thick slices. Place attractively on a platter in 2 rows and drizzle the sauce down the center.

Serve additional sauce in a gravy boat on the table.


Enjoy!




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