Learning about food, photography, and writing. Sharing what I find.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Something Savory, Perhaps? Subtitle: Porkfest

Let's release our clutch on the block of chocolate today. Instead, let us embrace the pork loin.

Pork loin are underrated dinner proteins (I'm going to use "loin" as the plural, even if that's not correct. Saying "pork loins" messes with my head). Consider the evidence:
  1. It cooks up really quickly
  2. When cooked correctly, it has loads of flavor (Don't overcook it! Please!)
  3. It is relatively cheap to buy, especially when compared to its less-healthy competitor, beef (not ground)
  4. And, as I said, it's a chicken-alternative that tastes better and is virtually the same in terms of healthfulness (I'm being serious. Seriously.).
I would have to say that my favorite way to prepare a pork loin is to coat it with a dry-rub and throw it on the charcoal grill. Maybe that's because I don't do the grilling (clutz + fire = nothing good), so all I have to do is eat it. But, I did hear about a really interesting twist on pork-prep that I just had to try.

Pork Wellington (The following recipe is an adaptation of Alton Brown's creation as seen on The Food Network):

*Side Note: Let's add puff pastry to the list of Things that Make Everything Better. Now we have:

  Buffalo Mozzarella
  Puff Pastry

Back to the ingredients.

1 whole egg
1 Tbs. water
1 oz. dried apple rings (or your favorite dried fruit. I used a combination of dried apples and dried pears . . . Mmmmm)
1 whole pork tenderloin, approx. 1 pound
4 1/2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto ham (I used bacon because that's what I had in the house. I would love to hear how it tastes with the prosciutto. Let me know if you try it!)
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary (Alton used thyme, your choice)
1 tsp. all-purpose flour
1 sheet puff pastry
1 Tbs. whole-grain mustard


Move a rack to the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400º.
Whisk the Egg and Water in a small bowl and set aside.
Place the Apple Rings into the bowl of a mini food processor and process for 30-45 seconds or until they are the size of a medium dice. Set aside.
Trim the Pork Tenderloin of any excess fat and silver skin (Very important! No one wants to chew through silver skin . . . gross).
Slice tenderloin down the middle lengthwise (Many come already sliced in half in their packages, so you may be able to skip this step, as I did).
Lay the tenderloin pieces next to each other head to tail, so when laid back together they are the same thickness at both ends (This is because most pork loin cuts naturally taper at one end. To ensure even cooking within the pastry, it makes sense to even out this thickness).
Lay out a piece of parchment paper or foil on your counter.
Arrange the pieces of Prosciutto (or Bacon) in the center, overlapping them enough to create a solid layer that is as long as the tenderloin and wide enough to eventually wrap around the entire loin.
Top with a second piece of parchment or foil and roll over the layers with a rolling pin so as to adhere the pieces to one another.
Remove the parchment or foil and sprinkle the layers with the Salt, Pepper, and Thyme.

Set both halves of the tenderloin down, side by side, in the middle of the prosciutto.
Spread the dried apples along the top of one of the loin halves.

Lay the second half of the loin atop the half that is now covered in dried apples and press firmly to secure the apples between the halves.
Using the parchment paper or foil to assist, wrap the prosciutto around the tenderloin to enclose in a tight parcel.

Sprinkle the counter with the Flour and roll out the Puff Pastry to 12 by 14 inches.
Spread the Mustard thinly in the center of the pastry dough.
Lay the prosciutto-wrapped tenderloin in the center of the pastry, over top the mustard.
In the same fashion as the prosciutto, fold the puff pastry up and over the top of the tenderloin, brushing the edges of the pastry with the egg wash in order to seal.
Do the same with the ends of the pastry dough, pinching it closed to ensure you leave no unsealed corners, all the while using the egg wash to seal your edges.
Turn the tenderloin over so the side with the double thickness of pastry is underneath.
Brush the entire pastry with the egg wash.
Place the tenderloin on a lined sheet pan and bake until the pork reaches an internal temperature around 140º (Temperature is the most important thing to consider when cooking meat. It's hard to base it on timing because thicknesses vary so much. Now's the time to invest in a really good meat thermometer. Alton suggests one like this: Meat Thermometer).
Remove the tenderloin from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving (I wish I had taken a picture of the carved Wellington because the layers were so cool! But, when there are guests waiting to enjoy a hot meal, it's a little awkward to ask if I can photograph their plates. Plus, I didn't carve it myself . . . again, knives + hot items + clutz = nothing good).

NOTE: I had a slight moisture problem when I made this. It was delicious, but the bottom of the pastry got a little soggy. Maybe you can cook it raised up in a roasting pan instead and make a gravy from the drippings? Or, at least raise it towards the end to re-crisp the bottom? Let me know if you come up with a solution. ALSO, while the bacon added fantastic flavor, it does not have as nice of a texture as prosciutto does when cooked in this way. Most people I served just pushed the bacon to the side, a totally acceptable practice. I ate the whole darn thing.


  1. Any leftovers? And can I eat them??

  2. For some reason I haven't gotten any alerts that you posted your last three posts... This site and I have never been friends, for some reason (remember it wouldn't let me comment on your Italy blog???), but truthfully, reading them all at once made for a lovely (although mis-ordered [that is a word, right???]) 3-course epicurean journey! Pizza for an app, the main course, of course, and then, cookies to satiate the ROARING sweet tooth that fantastic meal created! I feel like I actually ate! Now THAT'S a successful food blog... P.S. Since we didn't get to see the pork plated, what did you serve for sides? Veg? Mash? Just epicurious... ;)

  3. Oops, I said for some reason twice in a row. Bad girl.

  4. Laura, I made this a while back, but I want to try it again with the changes I talked about at the end . . . some weekend maybe?? Really cheap and easy to make.

    G'retty, I wonder if your problems relate to your not having a gmail account? I dunno. The security features on this site are really intense! The sides with the Wellington were: Mashed potato and cheese casserole, broccoli, and a lovely tossed salad. I love to double-up on veggies, especially when they are both delicious!