Fresh From Nancy's Garden

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Pork on Pork? This Little Piggy DIDN’T Go To The Market

What’s pork on pork, you ask? It’s a bacon-wrapped, garlic-stuffed, mustard/thyme-rubbed pork tenderloin–and boy is it good! 

People always ask me where I get my ideas. Like most people who love to cook I read old cookbooks for inspiration and I watch cooking shows on TV, but sometimes it’s just serendipity. Like this pork on pork, or as I like to say–this little piggy DIDN’T go to the market. 

It was a few days after Christmas, Jake was home from college, I was tired of all the holiday eating and I needed to go to the market, but quite frankly didn’t feel like running out at 6 o’clock. I wanted to make something good for him since college food is…well…dreadful. What to do?

I stared into my post-Christmas, half-empty fridge and saw pork (bacon) and more pork (tenderloin) and half a red onion. Not a lot to work with. 

Besides having so few ingredients on hand, Jake always says pork tenderloin has no flavor. So I had my challenge–cook the pork in a way to make it both tender and tasty with only a few ingredients. I was up for the task and went to work like I was a contestant on one of those cooking shows I love to watch on The Food Network.

How’d I do? The judge (Jake) loved it. So did I–it was delicious. Try it tonight. Your family, and your taste buds, will thank you. And best yet, it’s quick and easy.

1 pork tenderloin
1-2 cloves of garlic, sliced into slivers
6-7 slices of bacon
1/4 red onion, sliced thin
1-2 springs fresh thyme, left whole
1-3 TBS olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Kitchen twine

For the rub
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup grainy mustard 
1 TBS fresh thyme, chopped

First make the rub. Mix mustard, garlic and thyme in a small bowl. Let flavors blend while you prepare the pork.

Insert a thin-bladed knife into the pork and slide garlic slivers into the meat. It should go in easily if you use the knife as a “shoe-horn.” Add a lot or a little, depending on how much you love garlic. I add a lot.

Rub pork with the mustard spread and massage into the meat. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Lay out the strips of bacon and top with the red onion slices. Next time at this point I’ll lay pieces of twine lengthwise under each strip of bacon. It will be easier to tie when you’ve rolled it. Don’t roll the twine up with the bacon, just have it ready.

Roll it up. This is the fun part.

Now for the hard part–tying it up. That’s why it’s best to have twine already under the bacon so you don’t have to struggle with it like I did. After you tie it place the whole thyme sprigs on the meat and tie one last time. Or you could try tucking it into the twine.

I wrapped it in Saran Wrap and refrigerated it for about a half hour, but you can skip this step if you’re in a hurry.

Heat an oven-proof heavy pan and add olive oil. I used my cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one, make sure you put that on your wish list. If I could only have 3 pots I would pick my cast iron skillet, my large Le Crueset and and a Teflon-coated frying pan for eggs.

Sear meat on medium high heat on the stove top. Brown nicely on all sides–the bacon should be crispy. Put pan into preheated 350 degree oven. Bake until meat thermometer reaches 170 degrees, about 20 minutes.

Remove and let rest for at least 5-10 minutes. This will help keep the meat juicy. 

Slice and remove the twine and thyme stems. And most important, enjoy.

Next time I’m going to deglaze the pan with either white wine or chicken broth and make a nice au jus for the pork. I didn’t think of it until we already sat down to dinner. And at that point I couldn’t stop eating to make a sauce–it was just too good!

Hope you like it as much as Jake and I did. 

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2 replies

  1. Now you're cooking, MAN FOOD!

  2. Nancy – you posted this recipe at the perfect time. I had just bought port loin to cook for friends up at the mountains, so I cooked it your way – – wow, it was devine! I made a sauce by deglazing the pan with beef broth and red wine, since that was what I had on hand, and it was pure heaven. I served it with Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage and Trader Joe's Harvest Grains. A great meal Thanks so much.

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