Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Maple-Caramelized Onion and Bacon

Some flavors just naturally go together. Rich, sugary maple syrup and smoky bacon, for instance. Add the slightly sweet, buttery taste of caramelized onions and you’ve got a luscious combination for stuffing lean pork tenderloin—all with a few ingredients and simple preparation.

Caramelizing onions is easy to do—a little oil and butter and a low temperature do the work. Slowly cooking down thin strips of the onion brings out its natural sweetness and juices, turning it golden and caramelized in only 15-20 minutes.

For this recipe, I added chopped bacon and maple syrup to the caramelized onion to make a sweet, smoky stuffing for the tenderloin.

While the pork rests, make a simple sauce with wine, mustard, and more maple syrup to spoon over the sliced tenderloin.

Note: Butterflying a pork tenderloin is easy, especially when you’re working with a small one-and-a-quarter-pound piece, as here. Larger pieces may take a series of cuts to “roll” the meat open, but for this recipe, one vertical cut does the trick. Just remember: You’re not cutting the meat in half—you’re making only a side-cut to allow the loin to open and lie flat (like a well-read book).
Serves 4

  • 1-1/4-lb pork tenderloin, silver skin trimmed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow or white onion, cut crosswise in half, each half cut into thin vertical strips
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup, divided
  • 2 thick-cut bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
Pork Tenderloin before Trim 
Trimmed Tenderloin 
Stuffing Ingredients
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a shallow baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Lay the pork on a piece of wax paper. Using a very sharp knife, start at one end and make a lengthwise cut in the meat that goes almost to but not through the other side. Open the tenderloin and lay flat.
  3. Place another piece of wax paper on top and use a meat mallet to gently pound the tenderloin to an even 1/3-inch thickness. (Gently is the key word here—we’re not hammering nails.)
Slice the Tenderloin 
Open the Tenderloin
Place Wax Paper on Top 
Tenderloin Ready to Stuff
  1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat and add the oil and butter, swirling to coat. When the butter has melted, add the onion and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook slowly until the onion is tender and caramelized, 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the strips.
  3. Stir in 3 tablespoons maple syrup, bacon, and rosemary. Increase the heat to medium and cook uncovered until slightly thickened, 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool 5 minutes. (The maple syrup will begin to stick to the bacon and onions as it cools.)
Onion Beginning to Caramelize
Caramelized Onion
Maple Mixture Added
Cooked Maple Mixture
  1. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Leaving excess bacon fat in the skillet (use a slotted spoon), spread the cooled caramelized onion mixture on top of the tenderloin.
  2. Beginning with 1 long edge, roll the pork as tightly as possible, jellyroll style. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place the stuffed tenderloin on the baking pan and roast until tender and just cooked through, 20-25 minutes depending on thickness of the tenderloin. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. 
Tenderloin with Stuffing
Stuffed Tenderloin Ready to Roast 
Roasted Tenderloin
Sliced Tenderloin
  1. Meanwhile, remove excess bacon fat from the skillet. Reheat over low heat and add the wine, scraping up brown bits. 
  2. Stir in the mustard and remaining 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently to dissolve the mustard, 4-5 minutes.
White Wine Sauce
To serve, cut the pork tenderloin into 12 equal slices and divide among 4 plates. Spoon the pan sauce on top and serve right away.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Maple-Caramelized Onion and Bacon

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