Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Chorizo & Spinach and Spinach-Chorizo Pilaf

Adapted from Eat the Right Stuff

If you can’t find chorizo, substitute your favorite salami or fresh hot Italian sausage.

  • 1 pork tenderloin (1 – 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 8-ounce dry-cured hot chorizo sausage
  • 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion, 1/4” dice
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 9 ounces cleaned and roughly chopped spinach, divided
  • 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 16 slices of pancetta (see NOTE)
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Wash pork and dry it well. Cut pork in half, lengthwise. Place pork between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound it with a meat pounder (or rolling pin) to flatten it slightly.

Remove casing from chorizo and cut meat into 1/4” dice.

Sauté onion, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in olive oil until it softens and starts to turn golden. Add diced chorizo and cook until onions begin to caramelize. Remove half the onions and chorizo and most of the oil to a bowl and reserve for making pilaf.

Add half the spinach to the pan with onions and chorizo. Cook, stirring regularly, until spinach wilts. Remove from  heat and stir in breadcrumbs, lemon peel, and lemon juice. Season well with black pepper. Taste and add salt or freshly ground black pepper, as needed.

Line up slices of pancetta so they’re slightly overlapping to form a pancetta rectangle. Top with half the pork tenderloin, then the stuffing, and then the remaining half tenderloin. Wrap pancetta around “tenderoin sandwich” to fully encase it. Put roll in roasting pan, with pancetta seam side down. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until pork is cooked through. Remove from oven and let rest 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

While tenderloin is roasting, make pilaf: Put reserved onion, chorizo, and oil in pan and heat. When it starts sizzling, add rice and stir well to coat grains with oil. Cook for 1 minute, then stir in stock and bring it to a boil. Cover, turn heat down to low, and let rice cook for 20 minutes. When rice is done, stir in remaining half of spinach.

Serve slices of Stuffed Pork Tenderloin over bed of Spinach-Chorizo Pilaf.

NOTE: The pancetta slices must be long enough to wrap all the way around the stuffed tenderloin; this size of pancetta is available only from deli counters and specialty stores in most of the US. Too often, the only readily available pancetta is sold in pre-sliced 3-ounce vacuum-packed plastic bags. These pieces of pancetta aren’t long enough to wrap the tenderloin; if this is the only kind available, buy two 3-ounce bags to make sure there is enough pancetta.

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