Caramelized onion and blue cheese stuffed pork tenderloin is a meal bursting with rich flavors that is perfect for a special occasion or holiday meal.
I wanted to create a Christmas dinner menu that was fit for a celebration, but easy to prepare. The focus of the holidays should be spending time with your loved ones, not slaving away in the kitchen. I chose to create this recipe for caramelized onion stuffed pork tenderloin for it’s ease of preparation, and delicious tender final result.
To create this meal, pork tenderloin is filled with caramelized onions and a touch of blue cheese, and then tied up, coated with a garlic mustard rub, and seared. Once the meat has browned, you add sautéed onions, white wine, and some chicken broth. The pork goes into the oven to finish cooking for 15 minutes.
The total cook time for the pork is under 20 minutes! While the pork is resting, simmer the wine, broth, and mushroom mixture and let it thicken into a gravy.
I love pork tenderloin because it is inexpensive and cooks quickly. An individual pork tenderloin is enough to serve 4, and you can certainly cook 2 or 3 at a time in a large dutch oven.
I recommend caramelizing the onions in advance, this is the most time consuming part of preparation process. I caramelized the onions while I was baking Christmas Tree Cookies – the onions need to cook slow and slow, and I like to do this while I am already working in the kitchen.
If you want to prepare this meal before guests arrive, follow the instructions below, but instead of taking the pork out of the oven and reducing the sauce, turn the heat of the oven down to 225 degrees. You can leave the pork in the oven at this temperature for up to 90 minutes and it will just become even more tender.
When it comes to choosing a mustard, whole grain mustard is my favorite, but you could use many mustard that you like.
I served this meal to my parents. My family convinced me to stay in Maine for an extra 10 days after Thanksgiving so that I could attend Christmas Prelude, Kennebunkport’s annual Christmas festival. My sister’s guest house was empty, so I moved over there and used the space as a studio for the week. My parents were the happy recipients of all of the food I cooked.
My parents loved this meal – they told all their friends about it.. The funny thing is that a rarely cook for my parents, usually I am only home for the holidays, and my Mom is doing the cooking. Although… I have a feeling I might be cooking this stuffed pork tenderloin when I am home for Christmas.
How to make Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Stuffed Pork Tenderloin:
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 large White Onion
- 1 Pork Tenderloin (1.5-2 pounds)
- 1/4 cup Crumbled Blue Cheese
- 2 cloves of Garlic, crushed
- 3 tablespoons Mustard (I like Whole Grain)
- 3 tablespoons Butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon Thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon Tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt, plus more for the mushrooms
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper, plus more for the mushrooms
- 3 cups of Sliced Mushrooms
- 1/2 cup White Wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
- 1/2 cup Chicken Broth
- Butcher's Twine
First you want to caramelize the onion. Slice the onion into long thin half-round pieces. Then heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and toss it around to evenly coat it in the olive oil. Continue cooking the onions over medium-low heat until they are soft and translucent. Then reduce the heat to low and let the onions slowly simmer until they are a deep golden brown. Stir every 5 minutes or so. This is the rule for caramelizing onions: the higher the temperature, they more attention you need to give them. I like to keep the temp real low, and to work on other things in the kitchen and give the onions minimal attention.
Either let the onions cool enough so that you can handle them, or if you are making them in advance, store in a container in the fridge until you need them.
You want to sauté the mushrooms before you prepare the pork. Using a dutch oven with a lid, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the mushrooms, season with a dusting of salt and pepper, and sauté until lightly browned. Then remove from the pan and set aside. There is no need to wash the pot, you will be using it again for the pork.
Next, prepare the pork. Heat your oven to 400 degrees. To butterfly the pork, slice through the middle - not all the way. Then I fold it open and use a mallet to pound out the pork making it bigger and thinner.
Now, spread the onions and blue cheese on top of the pork. Lightly press the cheese and onions down, this helps them to stay in place. Tie up the pork tenderloin with butcher's twine. Add another piece of twine every two inches or so, this helps prevent any of the stuffing from falling out.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, 2 tablespoons of butter, thyme, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Blot your pork with a paper towel and then spread this rub mixture all over the pork. (Blotting the moisture off the pork helps the rub to stay in place).
Heat the same dutch oven over high heat, and add the pork tenderloin. Brown on all sides, then reduce the heat to medium and return the mushrooms to the pot and add the white wine and chicken broth. Once the liquid comes to a simmer, place the lid on the pot, and place the pork tenderloin in the oven.
Roast the pork tenderloin for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven. Make sure it has reached 145 degrees. Cook for longer if necessary. Remove the pork from the pan and let it rest on a cutting board while you finish the sauce.
Bring all of the juices in the pan to a steady simmer and let reduce and thicken for 3-5 minutes.
Slice the pork and serve with the mushroom sauce drizzled over the top.
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Several of the photos in this post are by my friend Paul Corgan, a photographer and travel blogger based in New Hampshire.