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!