Apple Cider Stuffed Pork Loin and A Visit to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA

Visions of Christmas dinner have descended on my table and included are roasts of many kinds - prime rib, goose, duck and turkey. I have a wee less than a week to decide but one of those contenders also includes this delicious Christmassy pork tenderloin stuffed with raisins, dried apricot, and diced apples that is served with a sweet-savory apple cider sauce.

Simple, delicious and quite special, this recipe would suit any festive dinner.

Apple Cider Stuffed Pork Loin
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped Golden Delicious or other baking apple
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried apples or 1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1 boneless pork loin, 2 1/2 lbs (I used two pork tenderloins)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup apple cider, plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  1. To make the stuffing, in a large fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the apple and onion and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the dried apples, raisins and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Add the apple cider and boil, stirring occasionally, until the cider is absorbed by the stuffing, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  2. Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 400°F. Have ready 4 pieces of kitchen string, each about 18 inches long.
  3. Butterfly the pork loin by making a slit down its length, cutting just deep enough so that the loin opens up to lie flat like a book. Do not cut all the way through. Spoon the stuffing evenly onto the meat. Close up the loin and, using the strings, tie at even intervals so it assumes its original shape. Push in any stuffing that escapes from the ends. Sprinkle the surface with the thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Place the loin in a baking pan and add 1/2 cup of the cider to the pan.
  4. Roast the loin for 25-30 minutes. Baste with the pan juices and add the remaining 1/2 cup cider to the pan. Continue to roast, basting at least twice with the pan juices at regular intervals, until the meat is firm to the touch and pale pink when cut in the thickest portion, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 150°F, about 45 minutes more.
  5. Transfer the loin to a cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Scrape the pan bottom to dislodge any remaining bits, then pour the pan juices into a measuring pitcher and add additional cider as needed to measure 1 1/2 cups total. In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the pan juices and the cornstarch, and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Then add the remaining pan juices. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Pour the sauce into a warmed bowl.
Cut the loin into slices and arrange on a warmed platter. Serve the hot cider sauce on the side.
Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Holiday Celebrations, by Marie Simmons (Time-Life Books, 1998).

Here are a few pictures of Christmas around our neck of the woods. 

Christmas wreath at Terrain

The Christmas decorations are quite dramatic at Longwood Gardens. Imagine having a seat for Christmas dinner at this table. I'm not sure if I could focus on my dinner given the beautiful setting.

This is probably one of my favorite ideas for a Christmas wreath, a living one that flourishes through the season.

Christmas trees decorated by local school children. As I write this I'm thinking of the people of Newton, CT. My deepest thoughts go out to the families of the victims.

A sea of poinsettias decorating one of the main halls of Longwood's conservatory.

Me and my little boy observing the grooves of a glass ornament.


tasteofbeirut said...

Love the mother and son photos the best! This dish looks so so tempting! Pork goes really well with apples and raisins and this is a deluxe holiday version!

Belinda said...

How beautiful!!! It makes the holidays come to life!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Christmas in your neck of the woods is fabulous, gorgeous, and all those things. Love the photo of you and Alex.

The pork looks delicious with the apple stuffing. It will make an awesome Christmas day feast.

Penny said...

Beautiful scenery and beautiful pork tenderloin. Enjoy your holidays with Alex. Kids always make it special. Our Grandchildren are here visiting.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

That pork looks so delicious, Christine! I just love the pictures of you and Alex - beautifully mommy and son ;)

Claudia said...

Mother and child enjoying the season! Does it get any better than this? You have me rethinking my Italian lasagne. The pork's aroma just sings "holiday spirit." The children's decoration are just - so poignant.

El said...

Christmas in Pennsylvania. How beautiful! Your recipe looks elegant and exquisite as well. I must ask, though, How are you in such perfect shape after having a baby? You look amazing!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

How delightful the decorations and the atmosphere of the lovely venue looks. But I was so distracted by that pork! OMG! I want to make this now ... although I do not eat pork that often, it's recipes like this that will get me cooking pork at home!

Deana Sidney said...

Good golly, I haven't been to Longwood Gardens in 20 years. It was a gorgeous place. I bet the little guy loved it.

Beautiful pork, whenever I see a great dish like that I wonder why I don't make it more often... the sauce is just beautiful.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Delicious Dishings said...

The pork looks absolutely delicious and would definitely make for a wonderful Christmas dinner.

Gloria Baker said...

aahh Christine your son is so cute!!! love the pictures have a really happy Christmas and blessings to you all!!xo

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

The pork looks like a winner! I love the pictures of Longwood Garden. I haven't been there in years. Merry Christmas!

Lori Lynn said...

Hi Christine!
Your pork lion looks so delicious, so festive. And I cannot stop staring at that Christmas Garden Table! Jaw-dropping!
Wishing you and your family an absolutely wonderful Christmas.

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

What a delicious Christmas dinner roast! It looks lovely. Merry Christmas!