Monday, May 26, 2008

Recipe: Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Chorizo, Spinach, Lemon, and Pancetta & Chorizo and Spinach Pilaf

I hit the Taste and Create mother lode this month.

Taste and Create is an event organized by For the Love of Food. In this event, food writers are paired with a randomly assigned partner, and asked to cook and review one recipe from their partner’s blog.

Taking part in Taste and Create can be a challenge. Participants come from very different backgrounds and have widely divergent interests. But the commitment you make when signing up for Taste and Create is to cook from your partner’s blog, whether or not their recipes are ones you’d otherwise make.

I like Taste and Create for the same reason I liked grab bags as a kid; you never know what you’ll get until you open the bag.

This month, Abby at
Eat the Right Stuff is my Taste and Create partner. The recipes on her blog, which was new to me, are wonderful; I wanted to make them all. The ingredients and seasonings she uses are the ones I love most. Abby’s writing is easy to understand and her photographs inspirational. Like I said, I hit the mother lode.

As soon as I read the description “pork stuffed with pork wrapped with pork,” I had to make Abby’s recipe for
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin. As Abby promised, the caramelized onion, chorizo, lemon, and spinach stuffing was fabulous, and the accompanying rice worth making on its own.

I did have to deal with the typical vagaries and ingredient difficulties that always exist when making a recipe created in another country. For example, the recipe calls for “2 picante (hot) chorizo sausages.” I don't know about London (where Abby lives), but in the US, chorizo comes in many sizes and forms, including fresh and dry-cured, and is imported from many different countries.

I ultimately decided the stuffing would be good with any of the multitude of available chorizos. I ended up using a
dry-cured chorizo seasoned with hot smoked paprika made in Spain by Palacios (and bought at Sagaya in Anchorage). For those who don’t have access to chorizo, hot Italian sausage would be a good substitute.

Spicy chorizo, earthy spinach, and bright-flavored lemon combine to make a delicious stuffing for mild-flavored pork tenderloin. The pork is finished with a crispy pancetta wrapping and served on a bed of surprisingly good Chorizo and Spinach Pilaf.

Photograph by Abby at Eat the Right Stuff

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Chorizo, Spinach, Lemon, and Pancetta & Chorizo and Spinach Pilaf
Serves 4 - 6

Adapted from Eat the Right Stuff
If you can’t find chorizo, substitute your favorite salami or fresh hot Italian sausage.

1 pork tenderloin (1 – 1 1/4 pounds)
1 8-ounce dry-cured hot chorizo sausage
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion, 1/4” dice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
9 ounces cleaned and roughly chopped spinach, divided
3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
16 slices of pancetta (see NOTE)
1 cup long-grain rice
2 cups chicken stock

Preat the oven to 400°F.

Wash the pork and dry it well. Cut the pork in half, lengthwise. Place the pork between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound it with a meat pounder (or rolling pin) to flatten it slightly.

Remove the casing from the chorizo and cut the meat into 1/4” dice.

Sauté the onion, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in olive oil until it softens and starts to turn golden. Add the diced chorizo and cook until the onions begin to caramelize. Remove half the onions and chorizo and most of the oil to a bowl and reserve it for making the pilaf.

Add half the spinach to the pan and cook, stirring regularly, until it wilts. Remove from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs, lemon peel, and lemon juice. Season well with black pepper. Taste and add salt or freshly ground black pepper, as needed.

Line up the slices of pancetta so they are slightly overlapping to form a pancetta rectangle. Top with half the pork tenderloin, then the stuffing, and then the remaining tenderloin. Wrap the pancetta around the tenderoin to fully encase it. Put the roll in a roasting pan, with the pancetta seam side down. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the pork is cooked through. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

While the tenderloin is roasting, make the pilaf: Put the reserved onion, chorizo, and oil in a pan and heat. When it starts sizzling, add the rice and stir well to coat the grains with oil. Cook for 1 minute, then stir in the stock and bring it to a boil. Cover, turn down the heat to low, and let the rice cook for 20 minutes. When the rice is done, stir in the remaining half of the spinach.

Serve slices of Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Chorizo, Spinach, Lemon, and Pancetta over a bed of Spinach and Chorizo Pilaf.

NOTE: The pancetta slices must be long enough to wrap all the way around the stuffed tenderloin; this size of pancetta is available only from deli counters and specialty stores in most of the US. Too often, the only readily available pancetta is sold in pre-sliced 3-ounce vacuum-packed plastic bags. These pieces of pancetta aren’t long enough to wrap the tenderloin; if this is the only kind available, buy two 3-ounce bags to make sure there is enough pancetta.


abby said...

laurie, i am so pleased you enjoyed choosing which dish to cook from eat the right stuff and that you liked the tenderloin. i had a great time choosing which of your dishes to make and "cooking as you." we should do it again!

oh, and as for the chorizo, i used raw uncooked chorizo.

FoodJunkie said...

I wish it wasn't so hot here so I could cook this! I will save the recipe for winter though...

Peter G said...

Pork, chorizo, more pork and chorizo! my kind of recipe Laurie. Great stuffing for the tenderloin and a good matching pilaf too. You've done the dish more than justice with your own individual touch.

Elly said...

Wow, Laurie. It's 9:30 a.m. and I have a serious hankering for some pork stufded with pork wrapped pork. :) This looks SO good. I don't know how I missed it in Abby's blog. Yours looks fantastic.

Kalyn said...

Really does sound delicious!

Maryann said...

wow! I like this! :)

Peter M said...

Laurie, no one can say pork has no taste here...pancetta and chorizo and it looks very appetizing. He-man food indeed!

Ivy said...

I love this recipe and it looks delicious.

Laurie Constantino said...

Abby, good to know about the chorizo! As for cooking off your blog, I'm definitely doing it again - I love your food sensibilities.

Junkie - you're right - this isn't hot weather fare!

Thanks Peter. As for the pilaf, I can see it become a standard for me - very easy to make and packed with flavor.

Elly, I think Abby posted it after your month (I forgot to mention the Greek roll Abby was on - so far she's been paired with you, me, and Bellini Valli - lucky girl!)

Kalyn, definitely delicious and pretty easy to make as well.

Mayann, thanks!

PeterM - it's not just you macho guys who have a pork jones...

Ivy, it really tasted good/ And I'd bet it's equally good made with loukaniko and bacon!

manju said...

Elly nailed it with her description of this, and for an Okinawan pork-lover like me, this is going to be hard to pass up. We ate our quota of meat for a month this past weekend, though, so this is bookmarked for future. Meanwhile, I've almost gotten up enough courage to try to make gnocchi again after drooling over your Devil's Club version. What a fascinating and intimidating green--it must be REALLY good to inspire such wonderful creativity in you! I'll be on the lookout for your cookbook on cooking with wild greens when I can start harvesting too...

Núria said...

It does sound and looks delicious Laurie! Chorizos are all over the world... that amazes me!!! Would you like to know what chorizo also means in Spanish? Thief :D

katiez said...

All of those flavors together... In one dish (slurp, drool, slobber...)
Yep, I think that would be good!


this is definitely the kind of food i'd want someone serving up for me at a restaurant - so appealing to the eye, and that pork looks so tender!

Kevin said...

A pork loin with chorizo sausage all wrapped in pancetta sounds great!

Cakelaw said...

Yum!! I have some leftover prok neck and chorizo languishing in my freezer - perhaps this is something I can try with them.

Laurie Constantino said...

Manju, I hope you do make the gnocchi! I always think it's harder than it is, but once I start making them, I always wonder what my mental hangup is about them - probably the fiddliness of making the ridges (altho that isn't even mandatory).

Nuria, that's interesing. I wonder how the term came to be used for sausages??

Katie, yep, Abby's recipe combines so many wonderful flavors...I think I'd better have the last of the leftovers for lunch!

Maria, yes, the pork was moist and tender - kept that way by the pancetta.

Kevin, you're a man after my own heart. Let them eat pork!

Cakelaw - better get to work!

Sam Sotiropoulos said...

Pork stuffed and wrapped with pork! Amazing, simply amazing... I am calling for my wife to come and have a look at this one. :)

Rosa said...

Pork, pork, and pork - and oh, a little spinach - sounds like paradise! Glad you chose this recipe.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Oh me oh my that sounds (and looks) delicious! Makes me wish I had pork in the fridge this evening...

Cheryl said...

My kind of pork...spicy!

Bellini Valli said...

Excellent choice Laurie!!!!! I love to showcase other sites so love this event:D

Bijoux said...

hi Laurie - your picture of the stuffed pork looks so pretty and tantalizing. Although I no longer eat red meat, I must say I miss pork meat the most.

Cris said...

This would make a great Christmas dish... love the recipe!

Lannae said...

That looks just delicious! I want to eat that plate of food!

Sophie said...

I'm Sophie, Key Ingredient's Chief Blogger. We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks :)


myfrenchkitchen said...

I can't tell you how glorious this looks! It is defintly on my favourite list!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

That sounds and looks fantastically tasty...

We Are Never Full said...

Love this! Pork stuffed in pork is tops. MMMMM.

maninas said...


you've been away for a while. I hope all's well!