Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with a Leek and Apricot Risotto

Ok, it's official: I am BACK in the kitchen! Between my mother in law's recent (and delicious) visit and my garlic rosemary bacon bits creation, I think I'm cured of my first trimester "mad food disease."

So, here I am....pregnant and in the kitchen. I'm pretty sure I was barefoot too. But, I worked a full workday, dang whateva. :) We have a good sense of humor in our house, so you better believe we  beat this joke into the ground. 

Confession time: I wanted to hug my Le Creuset, but resisted because I didn't want to come on too strong. I just missed it so much.

I came up with this meal on the fly. Brian was trying to insist on making dinner. Bless his heart, after spending the last two months cooking every night, he was fully prepared to keep on cookin'. So, I said I was really in the mood for something "light and bright." Do you ever have one of those moments where you literally don't have a clue how to respond to a question to the point where you are silent beyond the socially acceptable amount of time? That was Brian in that moment. So, I casually mentioned that I was interested in cooking. Girl, you have never seen a husband go from "normal" to "ecstatic" so fast!

I had secretly been wanting leeks, so I knew that would be a primary component. Then we weren't two steps into Safeway when I spied the most beautiful dried apricots....and they were calling my name! Done and done. Here's how it all went down.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with a Leek and Apricot Risotto

Pork Ingredients

·         1 heaping Tbsp Mustard Dijon
·         4 dried apricots. Chopped.
·         Small handful of dried cranberries
·         4 Tbsp olive oil
·         1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
·         Splash of balsamic vinegar
·         1 pork tenderloin
·         Salt and pepper 
Preheat oven to 375 F. Butterfly pork tenderloin. Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper. Pound gently so that it is an even thickness throughout. 

In a bowl, combine Dijon, apricots, cranberries, 2 tbsp EVOO, rosemary and balsamic. Stir until combined.

Spread mixture on pork tenderloin.

Roll tenderloin, and secure with kitchen twine.

Heat 2 tbsp EVOO in a large dutch oven (you will be using the same pan / pot) to make your risotto, so plan accordingly) over medium-high heat. Add pork tenderloin to hot pan, and brown on all sides, about 10-12 minutes in total. Remove tenderloin and place in a baking dish, and place in oven with a meat thermometer set to your desired temperature. Normally I would set my temp to 140 F for pork, as we prefer our pork medium rare. But, since I am preggers, I upped the temp to 150 F (when you factor in resting time, the pork comes in at a nice medium well).

While your pork is in the oven, immediately begin your risotto.

Risotto Ingredients

·         3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon
·         1.5 cups Arborio rice
·         3 large leeks, chopped
·         A pinch of ground nutmeg
·         4 cups chicken stock
·         2 cups water
·         8 dried apricots, chopped
·         Equal amount of golden raises
·         ½ cup marcona almonds
·         1/4  cup balsamic vinegar
·         ½ cup grated parmesan 
Reduce heat to medium and add 3 tablespoons of butter to your pot. Once melted, add the leeks and sauté about 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile, heat chicken stock in a separate pot over medium heat.

In a another pot, heat 2 cups of water over high heat until boiling. Once boiling, add apricots and raisins to the water, and turn off heat. Leave apricots in the hot water.

Add a pinch of nutmeg to the leeks, and sauté for an additional minute.

Add rice to leeks and sauté for about 2-3 minutes, or until the edges of the rice grains are uniformly translucent. 

Add two ladles' full of warm chicken stock to the pot, stirring frequently and scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue stirring until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding chicken stock, two ladles' full at a time and stirring frequently, until all of the chicken stock has been added and absorbed.

Then, pour the apricots, raisins and the water they steeped in into the pot, stirring frequently, until the liquid has been mostly absorbed and the risotto is a smooth, creamy consistency. Make sure you taste your risotto -- if your rice isn't completely creamy, add more chicken stock.

Add your marcona almonds to a small pan, and heat over low heat, tossing occasionally to ensure even toasty-ness. If you can't find marcona almonds, regular almonds or pine nuts would work fine. I just love marcona almonds. :)

While your almonds are toasting, add your balsamic vinegar to a small pan and heat over medium heat. Heat until the balsamic thickens to your liking. 

Once your almonds are toasty, chop them up and add them along with the parmesan to the risotto.

Serve the pork atop the risotto, garnished with the balsamic reduction and a few additional chopped apricots. Enjoy!! This one's a winner!!


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