A few years ago, my husband and I went to France to celebrate our anniversary. It was an amazing adventure and I am forever grateful to everyone that helped coordinate taking over our daily chaos so we could get away. We loved the wine and the micro-brews, but what we found most delectable was the food and how the regional influences changed the flavors depending where we were located. It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise– from coast to coast, America certainly offers different flavors and flare when it comes to regional cooking, too!
So I’m going to create two dishes in my crock pot that mirror some of our favorite dinners that we experienced. Unfortunately, I can’t run over to the boulangerie and grab a baguette for dinner and some croissants for breakfast, but I’m still pretty certain that I can recreate some of the tastes while building new memories as well.
France Revisited Recipe #1: Crock Pot Pork and Prunes
(you can also do this with a turkey tenderloin, if you prefer)
As it turns out, I’m not sure that the combination of pork and prunes is really particular to France. I think that Italy, Scandinavia and other places in Europe also do this dish well and vary the ingredients just enough to claim it’s origin!
The most challenging part of this recipe is preparing the pork. So let’s go step-by-step through it. First of all, rinse of the tenderloin and pat it dry. This isn’t a marbled cut of meat, most of the fat is attached to the outside, including a membrane that might appear cloudy. Remove the membrane (go on and grab it and pull it off) and cut off any excess fat.
In order to stuff the tenderloin, you need a hole through it. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is with an apple corer. Not kidding! Lay the tenderloin flat and cut my tenderloin in half. Skewer the meat with the apple corer and pull out the perfectly cylindrical meat tube. YES– this is totally gross, but totally easy. You might need to core the meat from both ends in order to have a complete tunnel. I couldn’t get a picture of doing this, because both my hands were covered with raw meat and I couldn’t grab my phone.
Next step… get over the fact that you just handled all that flesh. Moving on…
It seems like there isn’t enough liquid in this recipe, but it’s ok. The meat, the prunes and the onions all release enough liquid to keep moisture in the pot. If your crock pot tends to cook hot, then be cautious before going over 4 hours– you don’t want the meat to dry out.
Crock Pot Pork with Prunes
2 lb. pork tenderloin
1/4 sweet onion, minced
12 pitted prunes, diced
1 T. Herbs de Provence
Prep tenderloin by removing membrane and excess fat and then slicing a tunnel through the meat with an apple corer (see directions above). In a bowl, mix prunes, onions, and seasonings. Stuff mixture inside tenderloin. Place tenderloin on rack inside crock pot and top meat with any remaining bits of the mixture. Cook on low for 4 hours or until meat is cooked through. Remove rack from crock pot and let meat stand for 5 minutes before slicing.