stuffed pork loin with dates
photo by Jennifer Johnson
A simple stuffing sweetened with dates pairs perfectly with pork. Serve this with mashed potatoes to soak up the gravy or with your favorite roasted vegetable.
- Butcher’s twine
- Cooking spray, for greasing
- 6 tablespoons vegetable (or canola) oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, plus extra for garnish
- 1 cup pitted dried dates, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 2 pork tenderloins
- 1/2 cup orange marmalade
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 cups homemade (or low-sodium) vegetable stock, divided
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut 5 pieces of butcher’s twine about 12 inches in length. Set aside.
- Coat a small baking dish (or loaf pan) with cooking spray and set aside.
- Make stuffing. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and rosemary and cook for another minute. Transfer onion mixture to a bowl. Add dates, breadcrumbs, and about 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Stir until combined (mixture should hold together well; if not, add more oil).
- Pat pork tenderloins completely dry. Line up butcher’s twine on a cutting board, vertically, evenly spaced (a couple of inches or so between each one). Place one tenderloin horizontally over twine, flattest side up. Adjust butcher’s twine if needed so that you have even intervals under tenderloin. Add an even layer of stuffing on top of tenderloin (about 1/3 of it) and gently press into pork, adhering it as best you can. Place flat side of second tenderloin on top, pressing to adhere everything together. Note that each tenderloin has a thicker end and a thinner end, so make sure when you put them together that you place thinner side over thicker side of bottom one. Add back any stuffing that may have fallen out. Place remaining stuffing in prepared baking dish (or loaf pan).
- Tie pork at 5 different intervals with your butcher’s twine, just tight enough to hold pork and stuffing together.
- Place stuffed tenderloin on a roasting rack set inside aroasting pan.
- In a bowl, combine orange marmalade, mustard, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and season with salt and pepper. Spoon over pork. Add 1 cup stock to pan, whisking in any marmalade that has dripped off pork and into bottom of pan. Transfer pan to oven and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, cover dish of stuffing with aluminum foil and place in oven, alongside pork. Continue cooking both until pork has an interior temperature of 140°F (be sure thermometer does not touch stuffing when testing for doneness), about 20-30 more minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and transfer pork loin to a cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
- Carefully remove rack from pan and place roasting pan over medium heat. Add remaining stock and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low and allow sauce to thicken slightly. Transfer about 2 tablespoons of pan sauce to a bowl and stir in flour. Stir flour mixture back into pan and cook sauce until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Remove twine from pork and discard. Cut pork into slices and transfer to a serving platter, alongside additional stuffing. Serve warm with sauce.
cook’s note: You want to make sure the dates and onions are pretty small, as the smaller they are the easier the stuffing will sit on the pork loin. It’s also important to pay attention to the kind of marmalade you use, as some are very sweet, causing the gravy to be overly sweet.