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12.17.2012

Pork Roulade with Walnut Parsley Pesto

I've had this pork tenderloin in my freezer for ages.

It was taking up precious freezer real estate and making the neighboring rolls taste like hot dogs.  Not good.  It had to go.

But with no immediate plans for a fancy pork tenderloin-appropriate dinner in the works, what were my options on a hum-drum Sunday night?  I considered pulled pork tacos.  I considered pulled pork sandwiches.  I considered slow-roasted pork with apples and onions and then realized that at 4pm on a Sunday night it was too late for all of these things.

Thankfully, I came across a recipe for a beef roulade with a parsley pesto that looked amazing, so I decided to swap out the beef for my sad little pork tenderloin instead!  And the result was awesome.  Not only did the pork take almost no time to cook in the oven, the parsley pesto was a snap to make and filled the pork with a bright and unexpected pop of flavor.

Sure, we ate this in front of the TV on paper plates, but who says roasted pork tenderloin is only for special occasions?


Pork Tenderloin Roulade
with
Walnut Parsley Pesto
Adapted from SimplyRecipes.com
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1 c fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 c walnuts, chopped
1/4 c fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cloves garlic
Salt/pepper
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 lb pork tenderoin, trimmed

Preparation:
To make the pesto, add the parsley, walnuts, cheese, garlic, and salt/pepper to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse several times to combine and finely chop.  With the processor on, slowly pour the oil into the feed tube and let the mixture form a wet paste.  Turn off the processor and set the mixture aside.



Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 deg F.  Butterfly the pork by making a lengthwise, horizontal cut into one side of the tenderloin.  As you cut from one end of the loin to the other pull back the meatm and open the meat as you would a book until you have a flat surface.  Lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the butterflied pork, and use a meat mallet or tenderizer to pound the meat to about 1/2 inch in thickness.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Spread a thin layer of the pesto onto the meat, covering the entire tenderloin but leaving about a 1/2 inch border on all sides.

Roll up the tenderloin tightly, like rolling up a carpet.  Tie off the meat 3-4  lengths of string, each about an inch or so apart.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with a thin layer of vegetable oil.  When the pan is hot, sear the tied roulade in the pan on all sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.  You want to quickly brown the surface, not cook the inside of the roulade.


Put the roulade in a roasting pan on a rack, seam side down. I used a baking rack on top of a cookie sheet coated with foil. Roast the pork for 20-25 minutes, or until the interior of the meat is 130°F.


Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before removing the strings and slicing.  Serve with rice or roasted potatoes and your favorite vegetable for a complete meal.

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