Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, White Bean Puree, and Lemon-Braised Artichokes

Backing up to last Sunday night so that I can post first the recipe for the Lemon-Braised Artichokes that I then used in my raviolis on Monday, since people have been asking. I make pork tenderloin a lot because it’s quick and easy. Sometimes I stuff it, sometimes I don’t. The stuffing does add some time and is a little more difficult so when I’m really in a hurry I just make a spice rub for the outside and it’s delicious that way. But since I have more time these days, I stuffed it. Here’s a link to a post I did a few years ago about that.

I often serve pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes, but then sometimes I get tired of that and look for something different. Years ago, I made a recipe from Michael Chiarello that paired a pork tenderloin with a white bean puree and lemon-braised artichokes. It was so good that I have made it many times since then. The recipe calls for dried beans, but you can use canned as well. I like using dried, since I can cook them quickly in my pressure cooker, but also always have a jar or two on hand. What really makes these beans special is the addition of a couple of those delicious artichokes. You can do a lot of this ahead, for example you can make the artichokes one day (I made an extra big batch so that I would have enough for my ravioli the next day), you can also make the stuffing for the pork ahead and refrigerate it, as well as the bean puree. Once you have all of the components, the final meal comes together fairly quickly.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:

  • 1 leek, rinsed and chopped (or 1/2 an onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 zucchini, small dice
  • 1 red pepper, small dice
  • ¼ lb fontina cheese, small dice
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup marsala
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp cold butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 500 (485 convection).

Saute the vegetables in some olive oil. Remove to bowl. Combine with fontina, 1/2 of the parsley, salt & pepper. This can be done ahead, and then stuff the pork when ready to cook.

Make an opening in center of the short end of the tenderloin with a boning knife and/or sharpening steel. If using a knife, be careful that you don’t cut through the sides of the tenderloin. I usually use a knife to start, and then use the steel to get all the way through.  Then I use my fingers to make sure the hole is big enough to accommodate the stuffing.  Stuff with veggie mixture and close ends with toothpicks. This part can be a little tricky and messy. Make sure to get the stuffing all the way to the center. You can stuff from both ends. Take your time – patience is the key with this step.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in ovenproof pan (not nonstick) and brown pork on all sides.

Put in oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, until a thermometer reads 145.

Remove pork and tent with foil.

Add marsala to pan to deglaze, reduce for a few minutes. Add stock and reduce for about 5 minutes. Swirl in butter.

Slice pork and drizzle sauce over.

White Bean Puree

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried white beans such as Great Northern beans or navy beans
  • 1 carrot, cut into a few pieces
  • 1 rib celery, cut into a few pieces
  • 1 onion, cut into quarters
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups water

Directions:
Pick over the beans to remove any small stones. Soak for 8 hours, or overnight.

Drain the soaked beans, rinse, and put in a large pot with the carrot, celery, onion, bay leaf, and thyme. Add the water, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer until the beans are tender, about an hour (or, cook in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste only during the last half of the cooking time, or at the end if using a pressure cooker. (Early salting toughens the skins of the beans and lengthens cooking time.)

When the beans are cooked, drain and reserve the cooking liquid. Puree the beans in a food processor with 2 of the braised artichoke hearts (see recipe below), or pass beans through a food mill and then add the artichokes. This will remove the skins of the beans and make a creamy puree. Unless you prefer a smooth puree, leave some texture. Thin with the remaining liquid from the braised artichokes and some of the bean stock, if necessary. The puree should be the texture of soft mashed potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm. (The recipe can be made to this point, covered, and refrigerated for 1 to 2 days. Reheat, covered, in a microwave oven.)

Lemon-Braised Artichokes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 thymr sprigs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Small pinch freshly ground pepper
  • 4 medium or large artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 lemon

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium non-reactive saucepan. Mix well and set aside while preparing the artichokes. For a great video on preparing the artichokes, check out the master of technique, Jacques Pepin.

As each artichoke heart quarter is completed, immediately turn it in the marinade to coat completely. When all the artichokes are trimmed, put the pan over high heat and bring to a boil. (This step may be omitted, but it gets the cooking process off to a rapid start.)

Pour the artichokes and marinade into a baking dish (or cook them in the saucepan if it is ovenproof), cover, and cook until the artichokes test tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the cooking liquid.

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