And there were with Leonidas the 300 who fought to the death for Greece and Sparta. Ah but there will not be that kind of carnage here in this space, unless of course the vegetables rise up against the proteins in mortal combat, but, I am really not expecting that to happen. This is more the story of a man cruising the aisles of Trader Joe’s stalking a jar of fire roasted artichokes. For weeks, I saw them, pining to see what they had to offer in the way of taste but, I did not have a recipe in which to use them and to get them just to get them might be a waste. What to do, what to do? As with most stories, the saga does not end there. This past week, tired of chicken and fish, I found some turkey tenderloins which looked pretty good and thought that I could treat them like a pork tenderloin and stuff them in a Mediterranean way but without the cheese. Having picked up a container of spinach and artichoke dip, I thought that if I were to combine at least the two major ingredients from the dip, everything would turn out okay and it did. The result is this recipe. I had great success with this and hope you get to try it too.
(Mediterranean stuffed turkey tenderloin)
(makes 2 – 3 servings)
The Well Fed Cyclist – Gary Bechard
1 – Turkey tenderloin, boneless, skinless
1 ½ – Grilled, marinated artichoke, chopped fine
1 ½ cups – Frozen chopped spinach, cooked
½ – Medium sweet onion, fine diced
1 ½ tsps – Lemon juice
1 ½ tsps – Coarse ground Kosher salt
1 tsp – Dried mint leaves
Coarse ground black pepper (to taste)
Greek seasoning (for the outside the roll)
In a medium skillet, do a couple of turns around the pan with olive oil and over low/med heat sauté the onions until softened and become translucent being careful not to fully caramelize them. When these are done set them aside. Next cook the spinach. I used the frozen to cut down on preparation time and so that I could put them in a microwave for the requisite 4 minutes but you could wilt fresh in chicken stock, cool and then finely chop. In a large bowl put the grilled artichokes, spinach, roasted red bell pepper and sweet onion and fold together so that all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Next, add seasonings, lemon juice, salt, pepper and mint and mix until seasonings are evenly coating the mixture. When this is complete, place mixture in the refrigerator for a few minutes to try to get it to the same temperature as the turkey tenderloin.
Take the turkey tenderloin and place on some plastic sheeting, cover with plastic sheeting and gently pound with a meat hammer moving from the center (where the tenderloin is thickest) to the edges working the meat until it is about ¼ inch thick. Make sure not to break through the meat because then the stuffing would fall out. The tenderloin should end up being the size of a regular dinner plate. Note: you can always do a second tenderloin if you are making this for more than 2 or 3.
Take the tenderloin and place on a large, flat area covered with plastic sheeting or a large dinner plate. Next take the stuffing that was created and spread this evenly over the tenderloin. Then, starting from one side, roll the tenderloin up to create a roll. When you have your roll take some 100 percent cotton string (the kind that can be used for cooking) and truss the roll to keep it together.
In a large skillet, do a couple of good turns around the pan with olive oil and put to medium heat. Next gently take the tenderloin roll and place in the pan and sprinkle Greek seasoning on the top. Brown all sides of the tenderloin and when complete take the roll and place in a baking dish in which there is 1/8 inch of water. (keeps this moist). Bake at 340 degrees for 40 minutes.
-Meal served with tomato and cucumber salad and baked rice.