Back on a visit to Whole Foods in November, I found a recipe card for Cranberry and Apple Stuffed Roasted Pork. I knew turkey was on the menu for Thanksgiving, so I saved the card knowing it would make the perfect Christmas dinner. When I offered to host my first family Christmas, I knew what my main dish would be.I have to start by giving my mom a HUGE shout out for helping me prepare my first pork tenderloin. Let’s say I was a bit overwhelmed with the idea of stuffing a 7.5lb piece of meat! She’s a rock star!
Here’s the original recipe on Whole Foods website. Since I was cooking for twenty, here are the changes I made to the ingredients list:
- 2 cups finely chopped apples (originally called for 1/2 cup. used gala apples.)
- a squeeze of half a lemon for juice (added by me to keep the apples from browning)
- 1 1/2 cup dried cranberries (originally called for 1/2 cup.)
- 3 good sprinklings of nutmeg (originally called for a pinch.)
- 1 heaping tablespoon black pepper (originally called for 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1/4 gallon of apple cider (added by Mama LaVecchia)
- approx. 3 tablespoons of margarine (added by Mama LaVecchia)
- a 7.5lb pork loin roast, butterflied and tied with kitchen twine (originally called for 2- to 3-pound)
- a liberal sprinkling of salt (originally called for 1 teaspoon fine sea salt)
We followed the method of the recipe, except:
- in adding about a 1/2 cup of the apple cider to the “stuffing” to give it some moisture
- adding apple cider to the roasting pan to give the meat extra moisture.
- distributing the margarine along the top of the meat for “extra flavor” as my mom put it.
- we covered the roast in foil first, then took the foil off for the last 15 minutes to brown the meat.
Here’s a picture of the final product:
Okay, so coming out of the oven, it looks like a bit of a hot mess. I promise you however that this dish was fantastic. The apple and cranberry combo paired excellently with the pork. The sweetness of the pork was a nice contrast to all the super hearty, savory dishes we had. I think we would have been okay without the extra apple cider, but the pork was extra moist. In retrospect, we probably had TOO much stuffing, as it didn’t really stay stuffed in the pork. Howevere, whenever I can get an extra serving of fruit in my day, I will take it! The recipe was very easy – the hardest part being the actually stuffing of the roast – Mama LaVecchia took the reigns and worked that kitchen twine!
Here’s a picture of the full dinner spread for our Christmas dinner.
My contributions were the pork dish and my baked ziti.
We distributed the meal parts among everyone attending. My mom brought her famous chicken marsala and red roasted potatoes. Other family members took the side dishes (corn, green beans, beets, sweet potatoes) and desserts. It made hosting a party for so many people so easy! A big thank you to all my aunt and uncles who also brought dishes that evening!
And yes, with that much food, we had leftovers. I’m also happy to report that the pork reheated very well. In fact, the time in the fridge allowed the flavors to deepen and “soaked” into the pork for an even better taste. I highly recommend this dish. In fact, pork tenderloin is incredibly easy to make. Don’t let it intimidate you!
SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO ON THE BLOG: We went to Lolita – Michael Symon’s original Cleveland restaurant – last night for my celebration dinner for getting a new job! A full report sometime this week is in store! (Let’s say it’s a good thing I like pork and lamb!)