Rosemary pesto and fresh apples compliment a butterflied pork tenderloin in this delicious recipe. The pork roulade is filled with fresh spinach, thinly sliced apples, and smoky Gouda cheese, then tied, roasted, and sliced into succulent pinwheels.
Besides eating ridiculous amounts of cheese, part of the MI Fresh Dairy Blogger Tour included a friendly little competition. An Iron Chef competition that took part in the swanky JW Marriot kitchen in Grand Rapids. I’m going to be honest here Friends…beside the fact that I knew I’d be meeting an *awesome* group of Michigan blogger friends, a fairly large part of me was wanted to attend the MI Fresh Dairy Blogger Tour for the scheduled behind-the-scenes tour of the JW Marriot kitchen. Seriously. I’m that nerdy!
Widely known for superior customer service and gorgeous amenities, the J-Dub Grand Rapids is also a known for the glorious food served at their signature restaurant six.one.six–a restaurant dedicated to creating dishes made from fresh, local ingredients.
We competed in an Iron Chef challenge alongside JW Marriot Chefs!! I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t freaking out a little as we waited outside the door to enter the JW Marriot Kitchen Stadium.
Yes, Virginia. The really is a JW Marriot Kitchen Stadium.
We entered Kitchen Stadium to the sound of raucous cheers. Raucous! Cheers! Once I overcame the initial holy-crap-what-did-I-get-myself-into feeling, I was amazed at what I saw…tables upon tables of fresh, local dairy and other foodstuffs with which to create something delicious!
We met Chefs Steve & Meagan and divided into teams. Chef Steve directed team MI Dairy Divas (a.k.a The Other Guys). Chef Meagan mentored team MI Team Rocks (a.k.a. Us Guys).
After a little brainstorming of appetizer and main course ideas with our chefs, we quickly got down to business. We were working on a deadline and Chef Meagan ran a tight ship. Our lunch depended on it! The pressure is real, Friends. MI Team Rocks decided to make a succulent Rosemary Pesto Rolled Pork Tenderloin stuffed with fresh Spinach, Apple, and creamy Gouda cheese.
I really wish that cooking could always be such a communal experience. We all contributed a different approach, ideas, and skill sets to the teams, which is what made working together so much fun. I mean, think about it! How much fun would it be to cook everyday if you had a team of enthusiastic people with which to brainstorm and share the labor?
Once our dishes were complete, we presented them to the judges. Not cutesy bless-your-heart-you-tried-to-cook-something judges, but REAL JUDGES!
Judges that take their food and judging duties very seriously. As they should. 😉
In the end, Team Dairy Divas triumphed over MI Team Rocks. Although we were all winners because we lunched on the fruits of our efforts that day.
The rosemary pesto pork roulade was so tender and delicious that I knew that I wanted to recreate it at home to share with you!
Please don’t let the pinwheel intimidate you from trying this at home! The process itself is fairly straight forward. We made a roulade of tender pork, rubbed with rosemary pesto. Then it was filled with fresh baby spinach, tart green apples, and creamy gouda cheese.
Pro Tip: Chef Meagan taught us to slice the pork tenderloin lengthwise with several long cuts, about three-quarters of the way through the meat, before using a mallet to pound it flat. SO much less work than trying to beat the pork into submission in attempt to get it to a to an even 1/4-inch thickness with a mallet alone.
Once flattened, preparing the pork is easy enough. Rub the top with half of the rosemary pesto. Then layer the fresh spinach, thinly sliced apples, and finally the Gouda cheese. Be sure to leave a 1/4-inch clean perimeter around 3 edges, and a 1-inch free edge along one of the long edge opposite you. Begin tightly rolling the pork, cinnamon roll style, working toward the longest clear edge. Once rolled, snugly wrap a long length of butcher’s twine around to pork and tie it off to hold it all together.
Don’t freak out if a little filling wiggles it’s way through a tiny hole in the flattened pork! Simply poke it back inside, and tie more butcher’s twine around that spot. I promise that it’ll all work out in the end! After tying, rub the remaining pesto around the pork before roasting it on a rack-lined baking sheet in the oven.
Once roasted, let the rosemary pesto pork rest for a few minutes, then slice to serve in roulades.
Here’s the delicious rosemary pesto pork roulade recipe:
The kind folks at United Dairy Industry of Michigan graciously invited me to attend their MI Fresh Dairy Event to learn more about how dairy products are produced in Michigan, as well as techniques for cooking with dairy. All opinions are 100% my own.
For more fruit and Pork goodness, check out Crockpot Mexican Pork and Taquitos from Barefeet in the Kitchen, Juicy Grilled Pork Chops with Spicy Peach Glaze from Noble Pig, and BBQ Pulled Pork Loaded Sweet Potato Fries from Cupcakes and Kale Chips.