Pork Tenderloin Cutlets

For some folks cutlets are the preferred way to enjoy tenderloins.  They cook up great in a skillet which allows you to build a nice pan sauce afterwards.  You will get four nice sized cutlets per tenderloin.  Since they typically come in a two pack you will have eight servings overall.  It takes about six minutes to cook the cutlets so if you figure you can fit three cutlets at a time into a skillet you are looking at a total cooking time of about 20-25 minutes.

Making the cutlets is pretty easy.  Cut the tenderloin into four equal pieces, place the pieces between sheets of parchment paper and flatten with a mallet or skillet until your desired thickness is reached.  Season the cutlets to your liking then lightly fry in a little butter over medium heat for about three minutes per side.  Place the finished cutlets on a plate layered with paper tools and keep them in a warm oven while the remaining cutlets finish.

I really don’t mess around with cutlets too much for no good reason other than the fact that I like grilling more than anything.  For two good recipes and techniques I will refer you to the videos below.  The first video is short and sweet, about three minutes, and is for cutlets with an apricot mustard glaze.


The second video is a little more “professional”.  It comes from the Whole Food series “The Secret Ingredient”.  This is for cutlets with lemons, capers and olives.

In his book How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittman has a recipe for cutlets with lemon and parsley which is very similar to the recipe in the Whole Foods video (minus the olives).

If you have some great cutlet recipes please share!

grilled pork tenderloin stuffed with spinach and feta

Stuffed pork tenderloin
Pork tenderloin stuffed with spinach and feta cheese

I love this dish because it is tasty, healthy, beautiful and fun.  I’m not sure of a total calorie count but it sure isn’t that much.  The spinach and feta is a classic combination only made better by being swathed in pork.

I start with a pork tenderloin that weighs a little over a pound and slice it lengthwise about three quarters of the way deep.  I place the meat between two sheets of parchment paper and start pounding it out with a wooden mallet.  Start at the middle and work your way out until the meat is a little over a quarter inch thick.  It took me about five to seven minutes of pounding to stretch this guy out to about a foot in diameter.

Pounded flat
Nice and flattened.
Sliced before pounding
Getting ready to pound it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the stuffing I used about 6 ounces of crumbled feta cheese, 10 oz of chopped spinach and five diced strips of cooked bacon.  The feta had been flavored with herbs and sun dried tomatoes; the previously frozen spinach was thawed in a microwave and pressed dry of excess water.

Stuffing for the tenderloin
Feta cheese, spinach and bacon

The stuffing was evenly spread on the flattened tenderloin leaving a little room around the edges.  The tenderloin was rolled and tied before receiving a light rub of salt, pepper and paprika.  I let the stuffed tenderloin rest in the refrigerator for a few hours before grilling.   I am not sure the resting period accomplishes anything.  It just seems like that piece of meat has just been through a lot and deserves a little break before being thrown on the grill.  Before I started grilling I removed the stuffed tenderloin from the refrigerator and let it warm on the counter for about 30 minutes.

Rolled up tenderloin
...then roll it all up.
Stuffing on the meat
Spread the stuffing out...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got my charcoal grill pretty hot, about 400F, and cooked the stuffed tenderloin with indirect heat for about 20 minutes.  The stuffed tenderloin is on the right while a non-stuffed tenderloin is on the left.  I like the side by side comparison as it lets you see how much the tenderloin stretches when you pound it flat.  I pulled the meat when it reached an internal temperature of 150F and let it rest for about 10 minutes before removing the strings and slicing.

 

Tenderloin on the grill
Stuffed tenderloin on the right.

I hate to make this bad pun but it’s unavoidable.  When you stuff these guys you really stretch out your servings.  The stuffed tenderloin sliced up to make about ten individual servings while the regular tenderloin only serves about six.

Sliced and ready to serve.
These make for great presentation!
Resting
Resting and waiting to be sliced

This dish looks impressive and could appropriately be served at any holiday table.  The stuffing I used was spinach and feta but there are many other combinations possible (pesto?).  If you wanted to do a Christmas theme you could take advantage of the second tenderloin in the pack and stuff it also.  For the stuffing you could make a rough puree of roasted red peppers and sun dried tomatoes in olive oil.  Add some provolone cheese (or whatever suits your mood).  You would have a platter of red and green pork pinwheels that would look and taste spectacular.

The only downside to this dish is that I don’t think it holds very well.  After the meat is sliced the pinwheels tend to cool off rather quickly.  Once they cool to room temperature you are going to end up with a mouthful of cold spinach that tastes like, well….cold spinach.