As I mentioned last week, I am getting excited by fall flavors. Running with that theme, I have stuffed this pork tenderloin with pears and pancetta – which is the Italian version of unsmoked bacon. Seriously, what’s better than pork stuffed with more pork?! Some spinach and Gruyère cheese round out the filling.
This one takes a little bit of prep work, but it’s not that difficult – plus there is the added bonus of getting a little aggression out by pounding the meat flat. To save time in the evening, the prep can be done ahead in the morning or even the day before. Just store it covered in the fridge and when dinnertime rolls around, just remove it from the fridge while you fire up the grill and it’s ready to eat in under 30 minutes!
Pear & Pancetta Rolled Pork Tenderloin
4 ounces pancetta or unsmoked bacon, 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup diced yellow onion, 1/4-inch dice
1 Bosc pear, peeled and 1/4-inch dice
2 cup spinach chopped
2 ounces grated Gruyère (or Swiss) cheese
One 1-1/2 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium skillet, saute pancetta until cooked but not crisp. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon leaving the rendered fat. Return skillet to the heat and saute the diced onions and pear for 3 minutes until soft. Add in the spinach and saute until wilted. Remove from heat, stir in the pancetta and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Once completely cooled, stir in the grated cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt if necessary.
Butterfly the tenderloin by cutting a slit lengthwise, but not all the the way through, down the center of the meat. Unfold the tenderloin so it lies flat. Repeat on each half so that you have four lengths that are still attached. unfold these as well.
Lay a piece of plastic wrap a little longer that the tenderloin on the cutting board. Place the tenderloin on top, cut-side up, and cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or a small heavy pan, flatten to 1/4-in. thickness.
Remove plastic wrap. Evenly distribute the filling over the tenderloin and press down gently. Starting with a long side, roll up the tenderloin like a jellyroll. Secure the roast with kitchen string by tying every 1-1/2 to 2-inches. Season all sides with salt and pepper.
Set up grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Brush and oil grate when ready to start cooking. Place pork seam-side down on the grill. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes on each side (four sides) for a total of 20 to 25 minutes or until internal temperature registers a minimum of 140˚F (medium rare) and up to 155˚F (medium). Transfer to a cutting, loosely tent with foil and let the tenderloin rest for 5 minutes; the internal temperature will increase another 5˚F.
Remove strings and cut into 1-inch slices. Serve hot or on a buffet table at room temperature.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!