Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Any way you slice it, you’re going to love this pork tenderloin stuffed with an earthy filling of spinach, mushrooms, bacon, and Parmesan cheese.
Is it just me, or does food that has been stuffed take on a little more pizzaz? I’ve mentioned before that pork in general is one of my favorite meats, and more specifically pork tenderloins. They are one of my favorite cuts of pork to have on hand for quick, easy meals like Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin or Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin.
But when you add a savory stuffing mix to this versatile little cut of meat, it turns it into a meal that both your family and guests alike will thoroughly enjoy!
I served it and Parmesan Roasted Potatoes the other night when a family friend visited, to the rave review, “this is restaurant quality!” And the best part, is that it’s really pretty simple to put together.
Are Pork Tenderloin And Pork Loin The Same?
Before we get started on the recipe, I want to make sure that I point out that there is a difference between pork tenderloin and pork loin.
Pork tenderloin is a long, skinny, cut of meat that comes from the muscle that runs along the back of the pig. It’s very lean and generally weighs between 3/4 to 1 1/2 pounds.
Pork loin roast is a wider cut that’s located between the shoulder and the start of the leg. It’s sold bone-in or boneless, is more fatty than the tenderloin, and weighs 2 – 4 pounds.
They can both be prepped similarly, but cooking methods and times are generally different. Make sure that you purchase the tenderloin for this recipe as the ingredient amounts and times will not work for a pork loin roast.
How To Make Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Making a stuffed pork tenderloin may seem a little complicated, but it really is just four simple steps:
- Prepare the stuffing mix
- Butterfly the tenderloin
- Stuff the tenderloin
- Cook the tenderloin
Ingredients For Pork Tenderloin Stuffing
This earthy stuffing has 5 ingredients:
- Bacon – if you want, you could substitute pre-cooked bacon pieces for fresh bacon. Add the pre-cooked bits after the stuffing mixture has been made and transferred to the bowl to cool.
- Onion – white or yellow work for this recipe. Red tends to be a little too sharp even after cooking.
- Garlic – the reliable flavor-adder.
- Mushrooms – the recipe calls for white button mushrooms, but you could substitute cremini or shiitake if you prefer.
- Spinach – I like to use fresh baby spinach for its delicate flavor, if you prefer to use frozen, make sure that you squeeze all of the moisture out before adding it to the stuffing mix. A 10 ounce package of frozen spinach is equivalent to 1 pound of fresh spinach. For this recipe you would only need 1/4 cup of frozen spinach.
Start by sautéing the bacon and onion in an oven-proof skillet until the bacon just starts to brown and the onions become translucent and soft. This can take anywhere from 5 – 7 minutes over medium-high heat. NOTE: if you’re using the pre-cooked bacon, sauté the onions and add the bits after the mixture has been transferred to the bowl for cooling
The garlic is added and cooked just until you detect the sweet, garlicky aroma. This happens fast. Like within 30 seconds to a minute. Garlic can burn quickly, so just be mindful of the time.
The mushrooms are added to the skillet next. After 3 – 5 minutes, they should start to brown around the edges. Once you see this happening, add in the spinach and stir until is has wilted. NOTE: if using frozen spinach, add at this point and stir until it is has just been combined with the rest of the mixture.
Transfer the mixture from the skillet to a bowl to allow to cool slightly while you prepare the tenderloin to be stuffed.
How To Prepare A Pork Tenderloin For Stuffing
Start by removing any excess fat and the silverskin from the tenderloin. If you’ve never done this before, refer to this step-by-step tutorial. For this recipe, you don’t need to tuck the thin end under.
Cut through the tenderloin lengthwise and open it up like a book. Using a meat mallet, rolling pin, or heavy skillet, pound the tenderloin to an even thickness, about 1/2-inch.
Season the interior of the tenderloin with salt, pepper, and thyme.
Stuffing Pork Tenderloin
With one long end facing you, spread the stuffing mixture over the tenderloin from edge-to-edge of the longest edge nearest you and the two short edges. Leave about 1/2-inch bare on the third long edge. This is the edge that is furthest away from you.
Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top of the filling.
Start rolling from the long edge nearest you toward the bare long edge so that you end up with a long cylinder.
Using kitchen twine, secure the roll. This can be done by tying small pieces of kitchen twine every 2-inches or by trussing.
How To Cook A Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
In the same oven-proof skillet that you cooked the stuffing in – you may need to wipe it out – heat the oil over medium-high heat and sear the three non-seam sides of the tenderloin. Two to three minutes per side is a good rule of thumb.
Arrange the pork tenderloin with the seam-side down in the skillet and finish cooking in an over that has been pre-heated to 425˚F.
Cooking times for doneness are as follows:
- Medium-rare – 145 – 150˚F
- Medium – 150 – 155˚F
- Medium-well – 155- 160˚F
- Well – 160˚F
Begin testing for doneness with an instant read thermometer after about 15 minutes of cook time. Make sure that the probe is in the thickest part of the meat and no further than the center of the roll.
Any way you slice it, you’re going to love this pork tenderloin stuffed with an earthy filling of spinach, mushrooms and bacon and Parmesan cheese.
- 4 slices bacon, chopped or 4 Tbsp. bacon bits
- 1 small onion, diced, about 1/2 cup
- 1 and 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp. pepper, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 oz. white button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 and 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach, about 2.5 oz. or 1/4 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of moisture
- 1 large pork tenderloin, about 1 and 1/4 – 1 and 1/2 lbs.
- 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 425˚F.
Heat an oven proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and onions and cook until the bacon is just starting the brown and the onion have become transparent, about 5 – 7 minutes.
NOTE: if you’re using the bacon bits, sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon of oil until they just become transparent. Add the bacon bits after the mixture has been transferred to the bowl in Step 5.
Add the garlic and cook until it becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the mushrooms, season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, stir and cook until the mushrooms start brown around the edges, about 3 – 5 minutes.
Add the spinach, stirring until it has wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, set aside.
NOTE: if using frozen spinach, stir until it’s evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
Remove any excess fat and the silverskin from the pork.
Butterfly the tenderloin by slicing lengthwise and open it up like a book. Be careful not to cut all the way through.
With a meat mallet, rolling pin, or a heavy skillet, pound the meat to an even thickness, about 1/2-inch.
Season the inside of the tenderloin with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and the thyme.
Spread the spinach filling over the pork edge to edge, leaving about 1-inch bare on one long side. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the filling.
Starting at the long edge with the filling, roll the tenderloin toward the bare long edge. Secure with cooking twine.
Heat the oil in the oven-proof skillet. Brown the three non-seam sides of the tenderloin, 2 – 3 minutes per side.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until an instant read thermometer reads 145˚F when inserted into the center of the pork tenderloin.
Allow to rest 3 – 5 minutes, slice and serve.