I imagine my weekly schedule is much like most moms. Work, school, extra curricular activities, and trying to fit family time in all of that? It’s difficult to say the least. Dinner is always a thought process that often ends with something easy but not always healthy. When the weekend rolls around sometimes I have that hankering to make something a bit more sophisticated but want to keep it easy and of course healthy.
When I was young, many of the dinners my mom cooked consisted of basically a protein, a starch and a vegetable. Don’t get me wrong, my mom is a great cook! I just associate dinner with those three items quite often. I suppose it’s not bad, since they are all part of a balanced diet but I think the initial concepts can get skewed a bit. I like mac and cheese as much as the rest of you, but its not exactly in the healthy range.
The other night I wanted that “I just paid $30 for this plate” experience, but didn’t want to go out to get it. And I didn’t want to pay $30 per plate either. I was craving that bite smothered in creamy mashed potatoes. You know that feeling. (All I’m picturing is those commercials for chain restaurants where people slow motion eat a forkful of food and smile like they just won the lottery….. you know what I mean.)
After I decided on my dish I went about working on putting it together. My daughter thinks I’m weird. I decided to stuff the pork tenderloin with dried figs, so I had the pork butterflied and was up to my wrists in figs, thyme leaves and mustard. Juliet walks up, takes one look at the smorgasborg in front of me and says “gross”. Then walks away. Teenagers…
I would like to point out other than the figs which she carefully picked out, she licked her plate clean. What is it with kids and odd foods? She can be so picky at one moment then randomly love something new then next. Ugg, it makes my head hurt just thinking about it.
Anyways, pairing that pork tenderloin with mashed sweet potatoes was a good call. I definitely got that perfect pork and potato bite, but I needed a sauce. Well that was easy too, what goes better with pork then apples? And I threw in some sauteed spinach for good measure since I love that stuff. Yep. Problem solved. Perfect bite – fig stuffed pork, sweet potato, sauteed spinach and a swoosh through that apple sauce. Mmm there’s that lottery winning smile.
- 3 dried figs, chopped small
- ½ cup hot water
- 1 lb pork tenderloin
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon spicy smooth mustard
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped small
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon chinese five spice
- ½ teaspoon butter
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 bunch baby spinach, rinsed well and drained
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix figs and hot water in a bowl, let sit for 10 minutes to rehydrate a bit. Cut the tenderloin two thirds of the way down the long way along the meat. Stuff with figs and thyme, tie shut with string and brush all over with mustard. Place it in a large baking pan. Toss the sweet potatoes in a bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Surround the pork with the sweet potatoes and roast for 25-30 minutes or until the pork is 140 degrees internal temperature and the potatoes are soft.
- About 15 minutes before the pork is done, in a small stockpot over medium heat, mix the apples, chicken stock and chinese five spice. Simmer until apples are soft about 10 minutes. Puree in a blender or in the pot with an immersion blender until smooth.
- Remove the potatoes from the baking pan into a bowl and leave the pork to rest. Add butter, milk, salt and pepper to the potatoes and mash to desired smoothness. Remove the string from the pork.
- For the spinach, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan. Add the spinach and toss until wilted, about 3 minutes.
- Serve slices of pork on top of sweet potatoes and spinach, topped with apple spiced sauce.