Appeasing a Dietitian and a Meat-Lover at the Same Time: Apple-Fennel Stuffed Tenderloin

9 Sep

As promised in my last post, a guest entry from E.  Disclaimer: I have nothing against meat.  -Lisa

Living with a dietitian can be tricky at times, especially when you’ve been given a nickname like ‘the living black hole’.  For those who don’t know me, I eat everything, and a lot of everything.  Even spinach.

While I do enjoy tickling my sweet and savory taste buds, nothing beats salivating over a perfectly cooked piece of meat, biting into its fleshy tenderness, spilling flavorful juices onto your tongue, and firing up all those umami taste buds.  This sensation is heightened to heaven when the meat is well marbled, with fat of course.

May I remind you that I live with a dietitian.  Apparently, too much animal fat in your diet is not good for the ticker or the physique.  So one must tread carefully when suggesting meal ideas that revolve around meat to a dietetic girlfriend.

I’ve learned that you have half a fighting chance when you talk up the dish and make it slightly more extravagant than just a slab of meat.  For instance, you can “butterfly a lean pork loin” and “stuff it with fennel and apples, roast it to perfection” as well as “serve it with a side of sautéed greens with garlic” (I’ve highlighted the words that you may want to stress when describing this dish).

This dish in theory should serve four relatively hungry adults.  It only lasted one evening between the two of us.  The meat came out tender and juicy and the fennel and apple added a natural and subtle sweetness to the dish.  Enjoy!

Apple and Fennel Stuffed Pork Tenderloin


Healthy Apple-Fennel Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
(lightly adapted from The Rachael Ray Show)

1 pork tenderloin, roughly 1.5 lbs (~700 g)
1 tbsp canola oil
Light sprinkling of salt and pepper
Half of a small fennel bulb, cored and julienned, plus a pinch of chopped fronds
Half of a firm apple, such as Gala or Honey Crisp, cored and julienned
1/2 cup apple juice or cider
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, preferably whole wheat
5 sprigs fresh thyme, stems discarded and leaves reserved
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a rimmed baking tray with aluminum foil and lightly grease with canola oil.  Set aside.
  2. Trim pork loin of silver skin.  Use a small paring knife for this job.
  3. To butterfly the pork loin, place the loin on its side so it naturally sits with the widest side on the cutting board.  With a sharp butcher’s knife, slice the loin lengthwise so you can open up the loin like a book, leaving about ½ an inch at the end of the loin.
  4. Cover the pork loin with Saran wrap and using a meat hammer (or the side of a pot), pound the loin out to ¼-inch thick.
  5. Place extra-virgin olive oil into a skillet over medium heat.  Add the fennel, apple, onion and garlic.  Sautee for 8 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper and thyme leaves.
  6. Add the apple juice and breadcrumbs into the skillet and mix well to make stuffing.  If stuffing is too dry, add additional apple juice as needed.
  7. Place stuffing onto the pork loin leaving about an inch of meat on each side uncovered.
  8. Roll the pork loin up and place seam side down on a baking tray.
  9. Rub 1 tbsp canola oil on the pork loin and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Transfer the pork loin into the oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  11. When the meat comes out of the oven, let rest before serving by covering it with aluminum foil for 10 minutes.

Makes 4(ish) servings.  Per serving: 345 kcal, 41 g protein, 10 g fat (2 g saturated), 20 g CHO, 2 g fibre, 405 mg sodium

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