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Pork Tenderloin with Dried Apricots-Gouda-Mascarpone Filling, with Cashew Rice Pilaf and Farofa (Lombo Recheado com Damascos Secos, Queijo Gouda e Mascarpone, com Arroz de Castanha-de-Cajú e Farofa)

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Christmas in Brazil is celebrated on the evening of the 24th and dinner is served only after mid-night, on the 25th. It might sound kind of crazy for most people here in the US, but it is just how it is done down there... Since people wait for supper for a long time, it better give them some sustenance! This meal translates very well what a traditional Brazilian Christmas supper looks like. In this recipe, the pork tenderloin is moist and well seasoned, with a creamy and sweet filling, complimented with the richness of cashews from the rice and crunchiness from the farofa. This family recipe was passed over to me by a friend, and I am excited to present it to you. Enjoy!

Serves 6

Pork Tenderloin Ingredients:

  • 1 pork tenderloin (weighting approximately 1.8 pounds)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup aged balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup scallions, chopped
  • ¼ cup rosemary leaves
  • 1 ½ cup dried apricots, finely sliced
  • 5 ounces Gouda cheese, freshly grated
  • ½ cup mascarpone
  • ½ cup dry white wine

Directions for Pork Tenderloin:

Butterfly the tenderloin by slicing it lengthwise, cutting to other side without cutting it though. Open halves, laying tenderloin flat. Place it in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound tenderloin to ½-inch thickness. Transfer to a large cutting board and season both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix garlic, aged balsamic vinegar, olive oil, scallions and rosemary until blended. Transfer marinade and pork tenderloin to a sealable plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible from inside the bag. Place in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, or up to 36 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, mix dried apricots, Gouda and mascarpone until incorporated.  Set aside.

Remove tenderloin from plastic bag and lay flat on a large working surface. Add wine to marinade and save it, keeping it cool in the refrigerator. Spread apricot and cheeses mixture over tenderloin. Roll up, using kitchen twine or toothpicks at 1-inch intervals to secure tightly. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake 25 minutes. Remove foil and cover with marinade. Bake uncovered an additional 15 minutes, basting with the juices that accumulate on baking dish two or three times throughout the process. Remove from oven and cover loosely with foil. Let it seat, covered, 7 minutes. Remove foil and transfer to cutting board. Carve, drizzle with juices and serve with Cashew Rice Pilaf and Farofa.

Cashew Rice Pilaf

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cup Jasmine rice
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, or water
  • Salt
  • 1 cup unsalted cashew pieces or halves, roasted

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, add butter and olive oil. When butter is foamy, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 minutes. Add rice and mix well to coat. Add broth, or water, and bring to a boil. Season with salt and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until water is absorbed and rice is soft, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand covered 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and fold in cashews. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Notes:

Farofa is a tipycal Brazilian side dish, especially popular with pork recipes during Christmas. This gluten-free accompaniment is made out of yuca flour, spices and herbs. Click here for recipe.

This traditional Brazilian Christmas recipe was passed down to me by a friend, Tatiana Lemmon. Her mom prepares it for Christmas’ supper and her whole family looks forward to it the entire year. I did make minor changes to the original, which had in the filling Gruyere or Swiss instead of Gouda, and no Mascarpone. The original cashew risotto ended up becoming a Cashew Rice Pilaf; simply because I found out I had no Arborio rice on hand after I had already started the cooking process. It still turned out incredibly tasty, and I would suggest you choose your own tweaks accordingly to your personal taste. I would like to thank Tatiana (and her mother) for allowing me to share this delicious recipe with you. Merry Christmas! Feliz Natal!

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