When it comes to entertaining, "secretly simple" is my mantra. Of course you want to wow your guests, but that doesn't have to mean trying out a brand new dish that requires a lot of complicated techniques and hours of your precious time. Put that turducken recipe back in the cupboard ASAP! When I'm having people over, I choose recipes that check the following boxes: tried and true (aka you've made them before and they've been successful), make ahead, and sure to impress. The simpler the better (as long as you’re using quality ingredients). This prosciutto wrapped pork tenderloin is an ideal “secretly simple” buffet centerpiece: it uses minimal ingredients, can be assembled ahead, and is both delish and stunning. Served up with an apple cranberry compote, it makes for a festive holiday offering- and puts the traditional turkey to shame, in my humble opinion. The hardest part of this process is the prosciutto wrap, and really it’s not tricky. You want to make sure to use as many slices of prosciutto as will cover the length of your tenderloin, and remember to tuck that little tail under so that the meat roasts evenly. Kitchen twine helps keep everything secure as the pork roasts. Pork tenderloin is a lean cut that is easily over cooked, so be sure to test with a meat thermometer after 20 minutes. You don’t want the tenderloins anywhere above 140° (the temperature will rise as they rest, and PS- it’s totally safe to eat your pork a little pink in the center). A lot of us are doing scaled back Thanksgivings this year, and instead of roasting a whole turkey, why not give this tasty alternative a go? It serves a small gathering perfectly! Or if you are planning to go big with the turkey, try just the compote alongside- it’s yummy on just about anything that clucks, gobbles or oinks! When it comes to holiday party food, keeping it simple is key- no one has to know how little effort you exerted. I’ll keep your secret if you keep mine!
prep time: ~20 min. cook time: ~25 min. serves: 6-8
2 pork tenderloins, trimmed of silver skin, about 1.5 lbs each
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp minced fresh sage leaves
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
thinly sliced prosciutto or speck, about 10 long slices
APPLE CRANBERRY COMPOTE
1 granny smith apple, cored and diced into 1" cubes
1 lb fresh or frozen cranberries
zest and juice of a large navel orange
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp bourbon (optional)
Make the compote by combine all ingredients except the bourbon in a medium sauce pan set over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened. Off the heat, stir in the bourbon if using. Transfer to a serving dish and let cool to room temperature, or place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days before serving.
For the pork tenderloins, preheat the oven to 450° with the rack set in the middle. Place the olive oil, mustard, sage, thyme, 2-1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. Slather the mixture over the two tenderloins, coating each one evenly. Season the pork with a bit more salt and pepper all over and set aside.
On a large cutting board, lay about 5 slices of the prosciutto out so that they overlap slightly at the edges. Place one of the tenderloins in the middle of the prosciutto, tuck the tail part of the tenderloin under so that it is an even width, and carefully pull the prosciutto up and over the pork to wrap it completely. Flip the tenderloin over and use pieces of kitchen twine to tie the pork in increments down it's length. Repeat the same process with the second tenderloin. *This can be done earlier in the day- just remove the tenderloins from the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking to come to room temperature.
Set both of the wrapped tenderloins on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the hot oven to roast 20-25 minutes, or until the meat registers 140° on a thermometer. Remove the tenderloins to a carving board to rest at least 10 minutes before slicing into thick pieces with a sharp knife. Transfer to a platter with the apple cranberry compote alongside for serving.