‘Tis the season for merry and bright. And laughter, food and good friends.
I love to host an annual wine party. And the whole point is the laughter, food, good friends and oh, of course, wine.
Each person brings two bottles of wine—one to taste and one wrapped as gift. We begin by disguising the wines to taste in brown paper bags so we can taste a variety of wines and not get stuck with preconceived notions on what wines we like. Then, we have a “gift exchange” (kind of like a white elephant gift exchange or dirty Santa) where we “steal” and trade to get the wrapped wines we like best. This year we added wine Bingo and did several rounds of wine trivia, just to be sure we all laughed a lot.
I fill our dining room table with appetizers and sweets. I love to plan the menu and prepare the foods. Each year I try to add a few new ones so the menu never gets old and boring.
A new recipe? This Fontina and Sage Stuffed Pork Tenderloin was a hit. I will be making it again and again as this festive dish is perfect to serve as either appetizer or main dish.
Here is a picture of the table while I was finishing up. The centerpiece is beautiful, but it is just wrapped empty boxes.
Got to thank both of my daughters for helping with all of this! It is really a family affair!
Now, the pork tenderloin recipe. It really looks stunning, but is easy and is so very good.
Fontina and Sage Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
¼ cup browned butter* (see instructions below–it is easy to make)
1 pork tenderloin (about 1¼ pounds)
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 to 10 sage leaves
4 to 5 thin slices prosciutto
4 ounces Fontina cheese, cut into thin strips about ½ to 1-inch wide
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons Marsala
1/3 cup chopped sun dried, oil packed tomatoes, drained
Preheat oven to 425º F.
*To make the browned butter, heat the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, until butter is melted. Continue to heat the butter, watching closely, until it becomes an amber color. Pour the melted butter into a cup, leaving the residues and milk solids behind in the pan. (or alternately, pour the melted butter though a strainer to clarify.) Set browned butter aside.
Cut the pork tenderloin in half lengthwise, not quite cutting through one side and gently open it (like a book) so it lays flat. Cover with plastic wrap. Pound the meat with the flat side of a meat pounder until the meat is even, thin and about ½ inch thick.
Season the meat with salt and pepper. Arrange the sage leaves over the meat. Arrange the prosciutto evenly over the meat, then arrange cheese in a single layer in the center of the meat. Roll the meat from the longer side, jelly-roll fashion, covering the cheese and prosciutto with the pork; tie tightly closed in several spots with string. (Take care that the cheese is not visible and is tucked inside the pork.) Using about 1 tablespoon olive oil, rub meat lightly with oil.
Heat the remaining oil in an oven proof skillet over medium high heat. Add meat and cook until browned on all sides, turning to brown evenly.
Place the hot skillet with the meat in it into the oven. Roast uncovered 20 minutes, or until meat is slightly pink. (We generally recommend using a meat thermometer and pork should register at least 145º F. , but this time, the rolls of meat and cheese make it difficult to get a true temperature reading.)
Remove the skillet from the oven and place meat on a board; cover with aluminum foil. Allow meat to rest 5 to 10 minutes. Reserve juices in the skillet. Place the skillet over medium high heat. Add Marsala wine and heat until boiling and scrape up any residue. Simmer until the wine is reduced to about half, about 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in browned butter, whisking until smooth and slightly thickened. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes. Reduce heat to very low and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.
Slice meat crosswise in thin slices. Spoon the sauce over the meat.
Makes 4 main dish servings or 6 to 8 appetizer servings.