Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pork Tenderloin, Starring....Huckleberries!

So this is my first kick at the can using my lovely huckleberry bounty, locally picked by yours truly. I wanted to do something different; muffins are so pedestrian! I whipped this pork tenderloin idea up on my own...divine inspiration out in the berry patch or something... My dad donated the tenderloins, of which there were two, and initially four were supposed to partake in the meal, but then plans fell apart, as they do once in a while. So, I knew there would be a ton of leftovers, I just didn't yet know if that was a good thing or not. Here's how it went.

For the rub:

1/3 cup brown sugar
ginger, cinnamon, allspice, garlic powder, salt & pepper - all to taste (I didn't measure)

For the filling:

1 package (140g) unripened goat's cheese (i.e. not feta), softened
a whole bunch of huckleberries
4 cups of spinach
3 cloves garlic
1tsp or so of the rub mixture

I was going to just put the spinach in raw, but decided against it. In fact, I wasn't going to put any spinach in at all, but I had so much left over from a salad I made that I decided what the hell. When my SIL does pork loin, she usually puts spinach in the stuffing and it's always awesome. Anyhoo, I sauteed the spinach because I wanted to cook the water out of it first. It was worth it to spend the extra few minutes to do this, I think. I sauteed the spinach in olive oil and the garlic.After the spinach was wilted, I added it to the goat's cheese & huckleberries. What I got was not particularly appetizing...But this was an experiment after all, right?Yeah, great colour, eh? At this point I was thinking, Hmmm...was this a good idea? But I soldiered on, and stuffed the tenderloins, after making a cut along the length in order to flatten them out and create a pocket for the filling.After that came the rub...I realized too late I should have rubbed first and filled second, but we live and learn, don't we?

Then, truss truss baby. You can see my blue silicone trussing thingies in this picture. Very cool gadget.Then into a 375F oven, covered with foil for about half an hour, then off with the foil and continue baking until an internal temperature of 180F was reached. And voila...While my meat rested (it took about an hour to cook, and I set my fancy-wancy thermometer with probe 180F so it would beep when the temp was reached) I made a sauce, using, what else? Well, yes, huckleberries, but also POM! The last of my POM (I have one coupon left). This was the one with blueberry juice in it as well.

Pomegranate Huckleberry Sauce

juices from the roasted pork loin
about 1/2 cup POM juice
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 cup brown sugar
a whole bunch of huckleberries

I dissolved the cornstarch in the POM as the drippings, brown sugar, and ginger came to a boil in a small saucepan. Once the drippings boiled, I added the huckleberries and the POM. I simmered for a few minutes... And forgot to take a pic of the sauce. Sorry. It looked like...blueberry syrup. Use your imagination.

Slicing the tenderloin proved difficult - it was very delicate and the filling so soft that it squished out the sides. This is what I got:Yeah...presentation-wise, I don't think this is a winner.The overall verdict, however: a hit! I loved it right away. Everything went really well together, from the rub on down. The sauce was great. The spinach, however, I could have lived without. It didn't really add any flavour and made the presentation less than stellar. I'd leave it out next time. Additionally, I would use feta cheese the next time, for a couple of reasons. A) I think the flavour contrast between saltiness of the feta and tart-sweet of the berries would be killer. B) It's a firmer cheese and would probably slice & present better than this goat's cheese.

My dad took a bit more convincing. He's not used to having sweet things mixed with his otherwise savoury dishes, and I get that. It's not everyone's cup of tea. He did, however, have seconds, and by the end of the meal, he was converted! He has half of the second loin we didn't even touch for leftovers, as do I. (I served this meal, by the way, with a barley & bean salad that will be the subject of an upcoming Magazine Monday post.)

Definitely a successful experiment! With a bit of tweaking, I might just make this my signature dish! And - I still have a ton of huckleberries frozen for future kitchen experiments!



Coleen's Recipes said...

You are a VERY adventurous cook!! The tenderloin loos ultra-moist and tasty!!

Denise said...

Great experiment. I love that you cook with no fear .

Pierce said...

Those blue trussy things are very cool. That looks good, the prok around here isn't as moist or fatty as I remember it as a child. Doug says the same. I hope you get better pork and tenderloins in Canada!

girlichef said...

Cool! It looks luscious...that last photo...omg!! I can't wait to see what you come up with in the future...how will your signature dish evolve!? :D

Bellini Valli said...

If only we had huckleberries grwoing wild here in the Okanagan...sigh.

Cathy said...

That's right up my alley! Wonder if it would work with blueberries or raspberries? I'm bookmarking this to try at a later date. I also got some of those truss thingy's (pink though)....best invention ever.

Bob said...

I love sweet and savory, good job! It does look... interesting though. :D

Wandering Coyote said...

Thanks everyone!

Cathy: Raspberries would be good, actually. Blueberries, too. Ideally, you want something slightly tart as opposed to really sweet.

How about rhubarb?????

Elra said...

Wow, what an impressive dish! Love the bluish color, it make it even more appetizing.

A Year on the Grill said...

Coyote, GREAT meal. I love Goat's cheese, and think you did an amazing job...

A hint about the presentation problem, as I had about the same issue a few recipes back with one of my spiral cut stuffed loins. Have an assistant hold both ends of the loin while you cut the slices, when all the slices are made, use a spatula to transfer them onto the serving plate. Use a big enough plate so you don't have to stack them.

If you don't have an assistant, butt one end of the loin against a tile backsplash, while you use one hand to hold the other end and the other to cut. Gentle pressure will keep the loin from separating and the goo coming out.

But, the key is getting all that terrific taste in every bite, and presentation issues or not, this will have terrific flavor!

Palidor said...

At first, I was taken aback by the purple color. I'm not used to seeing a hue like that on my food! But I like the mix of sweet and savoury, so can imagine how great this tasted.

sassy said...

I am so stealing this (with full credits to you and ReTorte of course).

As I no longer live in Huckleberry country I'll use something else. (apple? raspberry? I wonder how cranberry would be?)

Wandering Coyote said...

Sassy: Cranberries would be PERFECT! YES!!!!!

Take note, Cathy!

Reeni♥ said...

I am in love with the filling! Sweet and savory is the best. Looks delicious!

Jamie said...

Wow! It may not be picture perfect but I love the combo of ingredients! I love berries cooked with meat and the addition of tangy goat cheese is intriguing. I wouldn't say no to a plate of this!

Aqua Rae said...

I need to get my hands on some Huckleberries.


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