With Christmas just a short four days away, we’re sure you’ll be ready for some quiet time once New Year’s Eve rolls around. If you’re not into large crowds during this hectic holiday season, may we suggest recreating a restaurant style dinner at home instead? We are pulling out our list of 5 Items to Keep on Hand for Entertaining from last week to do just that.
The star of the menu? A juicy pork tenderloin stuffed with sautéed shallots, white wine poached pears, and blue cheese for the main course. To simplify the rest of the meal, we kept the appetizer and dessert simple. Breadsticks wrapped with prosciutto couldn’t be easier, and also looks great displayed on the table. And, crowd favorite affogato ice cream polishes off the meal on a sweet note.
Simple details such as accenting a simple white bouquet with sprigs of rosemary and glass sparkling water bottles will help create a romantic ambiance without being too fancy. For Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, your significant other will appreciate the time you’ve put into this dinner, but we won’t tell that it took you less than an hour!
Prosciutto Wrapped Breadsticks
Total time: 5 minutes | Difficulty: Easy
Thin breadsticks (also called Grissini)
Thinly sliced prosciutto
This can be done up to 20 minutes before dinner, if you let the prosciutto wrapped breadsticks sit longer than that the prosciutto will soften the crunchy breadsticks.
1. Slice each piece of prosciutto in half lengthwise.
2. Wrap the prosciutto around the breadsticks at an angle. Use 2 cut pieces of prosciutto per breadstick.
THE MAIN COURSE
Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Shallots, Poached Pears, and Blue Cheese
Total time: 45 minutes | Difficulty: Medium
1.5 pounds pork tenderloin
2 Bosc pears (2 cups once diced)
2 medium shallots (1 cup once sliced)
1 tbsp Salted Butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups white wine
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
3 sprigs of rosemary
2 1/2 feet of butcher’s twine
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 c. chicken broth
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Dice pears into small 1/4 inch squares. Thinly slice the shallot.
2. Melt butter in a Dutch oven or an oven-safe pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and 1/4 teaspoon Salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the pear and the white wine. Let steadily simmer until the liquid has absorbed and the pears are translucent for about 12 minutes.
3. While the pears simmer, slice the pork tenderloin horizontally down the center. Slice almost all the way through the tenderloin, and then lay it flat.
4. Once the pears and shallots are done simmering, generously pile the mixture into the center of the tenderloin.
5. Pile the crumbled blue cheese on top of the shallots and poached pears. Cut the butcher’s twine into 6 inch pieces. Then, press the shallots, pears, and blue cheese down and pull the tenderloin together, top with the rosemary, and tie with the butcher’s twine. The easiest technique is to slide the butcher’s twine underneath the pork and then pull the pork together and tie it closed. Cut the excess twine after tying it. Top the pork with the remaining salt and pepper.
6. Heat olive oil in the same Dutch oven or pan (no need to wash it) over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the pork tenderloin and sear for 2-3 minutes until it has browned. Rotate the tenderloin in the pan 2-3 times letting all sides brown.
7. Place a lid on the pot, and put the tenderloin in the oven to bake. Let the tenderloin bake for 12 minutes, or until it reaches 145 degrees with a meat thermometer.
8. Remove the tenderloin from the pot and place it on a cutting board to rest. The tenderloin needs to rest for 5 minutes before slicing it. This keeps the juices in the meat making it tender.
9. Pour the chicken broth into the pot used to cook the tenderloin. Simmer over medium heat, scrapping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Let reduce and thicken for 5 minutes creating a sauce.
10. Slice the tenderloin, removing the butcher’s twine as you go. Serve with the sauce poured over the meat.
Total time: 5 minutes | Difficulty: Easy
Vanilla ice cream
1 cup dip coffee or 2 shots espresso
1. Before dinner, prepare the coffee or espresso. Let coffee cool to room temperature.
2. After dinner, scoop vanilla ice cream into bowls, pour the coffee over, and add raspberries on top. Serve immediately.