Luis Caseiro, chef at Alfama Restaurant in New York, added the "stuffed" element to this popular pairing of red pepper paste and pork. He called for filling the core of the tenderloins with grated cheese, but we found that the procedure makes a mess. So we've suggested cutting the cheese into chunks.
Make Ahead: The meat needs to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
- 2 14-ounce pork tenderloins, fat and silver skin removed, each of the tenderloins cut crosswise in half
- 1/4 pound firm cheese, such as Nisa, Sao Jorge or pecorino Romano, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons Amped-Up Red Pepper Paste (see related recipe)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (may substitute lard)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth (store-bought or homemade)
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Use a metal skewer to poke a center channel running the length of each tenderloin half. Widen the channel to about 1/2 inch in diameter, then carefully stuff the cheese into the pork.
Place the stuffed tenderloin halves in a large (2-gallon) plastic food storage bag, then use a wide knife to cover the meat with the red pepper paste. Carefully invert the bag, holding the tenderloin halves in place, then repeat to cover the rest of the meat, using all of the paste. Season with the black pepper. Seal and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to overnight.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and crank up the heat to 400 degrees. Remove the pork from the fridge and let it sit for 20 minutes. Have a large rimmed baking sheet ready, preferably with an uncoated wire rack nested in it.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tenderloin halves (with the paste on them) and sear for 6 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally, until well browned all around. The skillet will be used to make a sauce; drain off any fat and keep it on the stove top (off the heat).
Use tongs to transfer the tenderloin halves to the rack. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meat (and not into the cheese) registers just under 150 degrees. Let them rest for 5 minutes before cutting. Some of the cheese may ooze out as the meat roasts; this is okay. Use a knife to gently push it back into its channel.
While the tenderloins are roasting, place the skillet over high heat, then add the white wine. Bring to a boil, using a wooden spoon or spatula to dislodge any browned bits. Add the beef broth and return the mixture to a boil; cook for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to 1 cup. Remove from the heat.
To serve, cut the pieces of each tenderloin half on the bias into 2 pieces. Lay one half in the center of each plate; if desired, lean the other against it at a jaunty angle. Drizzle equal amounts of the sauce over each portion. Garnish with the parsley; serve warm.
Adapted from "The New Portuguese Table," by David Leite (Clarkson Potter, 2009).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.