Right now we have the most beautiful pears showing up at the fruit stands. I never knew China grew so many different varietals of pears before I talked to the man selling produce and he explained that they all had very different tastes. I didn’t know what sort of pear I wanted, so I just described what I wanted to do with it, and he helped me choose one of three very different pears. Were I in the States, I would have used a Bosc pear, but I am in China, and so I used a small light green pear, which had brown freckles.
I made this dinner the first time when Walker came back from his first day at his new job. He got home much later than we would have ordinarily eat dinner, but I wanted to hear all about his day. He hardly stopped between bites to answer my questions! I stuffed a pork loin with Gorgonzola cheese and figs, and Walker in turn stuffed his face.
This time, I wanted to try a variation on that. I originally got the idea for this recipe from Rachel Ray, whose day time television show comes on right after I take the dog on a walk. She butterflied a pork loin, and plied the opened pork with a mixture of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese and shallots, and then served the finished product with a salad topped with figs.
Figs are no longer in season for us, and Gorgonzola can be hard to find for me, so I decided it was time to switch it up. Instead of figs I added diced pears, and I used a basic blue cheese instead of the fancier (read: more expensive) Gorgonzola. And to play to one of Walker’s greatest loves, I wrapped the whole thing in bacon before grilling.
Pork Loin Stuffed with Pear and Blue Cheese
Heavily adapted from Rachael Ray
Pork tenderloin trimmed of silver skin, about 1 1/2 pounds
Salt and pepper
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 pear, Bosc or another sweet pear, finely diced
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnut pieces, a generous handful
4 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for liberal drizzling
4-6 pieces of bacon, depending on the size of your pork loin
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1. In a small sauce pan, combine balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and let reduce until syrupy, about 8 minutes. Place in a container which you’re comfortable pouring from and set aside to cool.
2. Preheat grill pan, large griddle or outdoor grill to medium-high heat.
3. Cut into and across the tenderloins lengthwise to open them. Place the meat under parchment or plastic wrap and pound meat out to just shy of a half-inch thick, using a mallet or heavy small skillet. Season the pork with salt and pepper on the exposed side.
4. Combine the shallots with cheese, toasted nuts, pears and lemon zest. Evenly distribute half of the mixture onto the open pork loin. Roll the pork tenderloin up and place, seam side down to the side.
5. Lay out the bacon, each rasher slightly overlapping with the other, until your sheet of bacon is long enough to wrap around your pork loin. Place the pork tenderloin roll, still seam side down, in the middle of your sheet of bacon. Pull the sides of the bacon up around the top of the tenderloin, and tie the rolls with kitchen twine to hold their shape.
6. Generously coat the meat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
7. Grill 15-18 minutes on each side then let meat rest under loose foil for 10 minutes before slicing. Remove string, slice into 6 medallions and serve over a salad of mixed greens, garnished with the reduced balsamic vinegar. If your balsamic vinegar is too cold to pour well, heat for five to ten seconds in the microwave to soften, then drizzle over the meat.