A traditional Italian recipe but with a southern twist, this Pork Braciole is fork-tender medallions of pork tenderloin stuffed with a cornbread mixture and then simmered in a flavorful homemade marinara sauce.
2pork tenderloinsabout one to one and a half pounds each
½teaspoonground black pepper
1½cupscornbreadcrumbled, I used three cornbread muffins
½teaspoonground black pepper
56ouncesSan Marzano tomatoes2 28 oz cans, whole with juice
¼teaspoonred pepper flakes
fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese
Cut the pork tenderloins into eight equal pieces. Place each piece in a plastic storage bag and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to gently pound each piece to a 1/4-inch thickness. Set aside.
To make the stuffing, crumble the cornbread and place in a medium-size bowl. Add the parmesan, parsley, garlic, salt, pecans, and olive oil and combine.
Place several spoonfuls of stuffing on top of each flattened piece of pork and roll up into a cylinder. Secure with two pieces of kitchen string. It's okay if some of the stuffing falls out.
Add the flour, salt, and pepper to a shallow bowl. Use a whisk or fork to combine. Dredge each pork roll in the flour and shake off any excess. Place the rolls on a wire cooling rack.
Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, place four pork rolls in the skillet and brown about a minute on each side. Place the browned rolls back on the wire cooling rack and set aside. Repeat with the additional rolls. (They will not be fully cooked at this point.)
To make the marinara sauce, reduce the heat to medium and add the onions to the same skillet. Cook the onions for about five minutes or until they are tender and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Then, add the tomatoes, basil, red pepper flakes, wine, and water.
Use a potato masher or fork to break up the tomatoes and cook the sauce for about 30 minutes or until it has thickened.
Nestle the pork rolls in the sauce, cover, and cook in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes or until the pork has reached 145 degrees as measured in the thickest roll by an instant-read meat thermometer. At about the ten-minute mark, turn the rolls over so they will cook evenly.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the meat rest for at least three minutes.
Carefully cut the string on the rolls with kitchen scissors, and remove and discard it. Place the braciola on a platter and spoon the sauce over the top. Add chopped parsley, and optionally, grated parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Because my recipe has a southern twist, I like to serve it with parmesan cheese grits. However, as you can imagine, it is also wonderful served over pasta or polenta. A side salad would round things out nicely.One of the best things about this recipe is that you can make all or any part of this dish ahead and store it in the refrigerator tightly covered for up to 24 hours before cooking. Or, you can store it in the freezer tightly covered for several months. If frozen, be sure to allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.Leftovers can be stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to four days.Many folks like to break up their tomatoes with their hands, but I prefer to use a potato masher or large fork. I usually leave my sauce fairly chunky.Pork tenderloin is very lean, so it’s important not to overcook it. It can quickly go from tender and juicy to dry and flavorless if it's cooked too long. Be sure to check the internal temperature and remove it from the oven as soon as the meat registers 145°F in the thickest part of the braciola.Other cuts of pork, like thinly sliced boneless pork butt or shoulder, can be used instead of the pork tenderloin, but these cuts have more fat and connective tissue and will have to be cooked up to an hour and a half more or until they are tender.You can certainly make your own cornbread, but purchased corn muffins make a great substitute if you want to save time.To roast a small number of pecans, I usually place them on a microwave plate and microwave them for two to three minutes.