Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 216: Wasatch County Fair Cook Off and Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Wrapped with Prosciutto

Good morning everyone!  We (my cook off partner Kris and I) had a very eventful day yesterday.  We arrived in Heber around 2 pm.  Kris was the first one there to set up and bless her, she was able to get us a spot in a baseball dugout so we would be out of the sun.  Now, a normal July day in Heber is between 85° and 90° and sunny, so we were prepared for everything we'd need to beat the heat except for an awning to stay out of the sun.  So the dugout was very nice.  It would have been even better if the sun has been yesterday's biggest problem.

The cook off started at 3 pm, so when they gave us the shout we started coals and started the food prep.  Well, Mother Nature must have heard the shout as well and felt she needed to contribute something to the cook off, because at 3 pm she sent a down pour.  When I say down pour, I mean down pour!  It rained cats and dogs and little children with lightening and thunder added in for good measure.  It rained until there were little lakes everywhere.  At first we groaned and moaned a little but once we realized that its all just part of the cook off fun we were laughing about it.  And I dare say we enjoyed it a little.  I can tell you that I've never been so glad to be cooking in a dugout.  I'm also glad that it wasn't my first time cooking in the rain/wind/bad weather in general.  As all of you know, I've been there, done that, got the t-shirt.  : )  With that much rain you can imagine how hard it was to start coals.  God bless the man cooking 2 dozen pots of potatoes next to us for having a big propane torch.  The rain put everyone at least 30 minutes behind schedule.

The baseball field behind our dugout.

Pots of potatoes cooking in the rain.

Heres Kris freezing in the rain!

We spent the next few hours cooking, cooking, cooking.  Kris made crepes for the crepe cake, while I got the pork tenderloin and potatoes going.  Thankfully, the worst of the rain only lasted about 45 minutes, so once it stopped we could really get cooking.

Unlike other cook offs I've been to or watched, the judging here was staggered.  Because we were the first team to set up we had to present our dishes at 6:00.  The next team was at 6:10, the next at 6:20, and so on.  Even though we has less time to cook than everyone else, we were very happy to take our food to the judges.

Let me tell you about all our cook off blunders.  There were many!  First, do you know how long it takes to cook 20 crepes on a DO lid in the rain?  We do.  It takes about 2 1/2 hours.  At a 3 hour cook off, that only leaves a 1/2 hour to make the filling and put it all together.  About the cake filling...  What do you do when the filling that is supposed to be creamy and delicious turns out watery and thin?  I'll tell you, you find a way to use it anyway and hope to heaven it tastes okay.  Kris ended up spreading each crepe with raspberry chipotle sauce and drizzling each one with the filling.  We ended up with a bit of a runny mess at the bottom of the cake, but we covered it up with some canned whipped cream and fresh raspberries.  It turned out okay, just not as good as we'd hoped.

Kind of a runny mess!  : )
Next was the pork tenderloin.  When I made the filling I forgot to add the chicken broth and the mozzarella cheese.  But those were minor compared to the fact that as it cooked the whole thing opened up to reveal the filling instead of staying in a nice roll.  But never fear.  We had some nice leafy kale leaves to use as a garnish so we just put the open side down on the leaves so no one would ever know!  Pretty tricky, huh?

Next was the cornbread.  It turned out well, except that I forgot to run a knife around the edges to loosen it from the pan so the edges didn't look as nice as I wanted.

Now for the moment you've all been waiting for!  I know your thinking "this is all very interesting, but how did you do?"  Well, we did GREAT!  We came expecting to have a great time, but not to win.  But we ended up taking Second place in the main dish category and FIRST PLACE in the bread category!!!!  We were so surprised!  You should have seen the dishes the other teams cooked!  They were beautiful and delicious!  Some of them were worthy of the world championships, and I know because I got to help with the world championships last spring! 

All in all, it was a great experience.  I hope I can go back and do it again next year.  It was very well organized and I met some really amazing people.  I've said it before, dutch oven cooks are some of the greatest people I've ever met.  I have to say thanks to Kris, my partner!  She is a great cook and a lot of fun to be around!  We are looking forward to competing at the state fair next month!

So today's recipe is our second place pork tenderloin recipe.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Wrapped with Prosciutto
12" dutch oven


1 Tablespoon neutral oil such as canola or safflower
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
3 slices white bread, crusts trimmed and cut into ½” cubes
1teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
¼ cup chicken stock
1 Tablespoon white wine (optional)
5 Swiss chard leaves, chopped (I used chopped spinach)
1 slice prosciutto, cut into small dice
¼ cup (packed) shredded mozzarella or smoked mozzarella


1 lb.  whole pork tenderloin
4 to 5 slices prosciutto, sliced paper-thin
1 piece dry spaghetti
1-1/2 Tablespoons oil
2 large pieces of plastic wrap

To make stuffing: In a 12" dutch oven, heat 1 Tablespoon of oil over a full spread of coals. Add onion and garlic and sauté until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add bread cubes and toast for 1 minute. Add herbs and cook for another minute.
Pour in chicken stock and wine. Add Swiss chard and cook until the chard goes limp, about 2 minutes. Stir mixture and continue to cook for a couple of minutes, until all liquid has been absorbed.
Remove stuffing from the heat. Stir in diced prosciutto and mozzarella. Set mixture aside until ready to stuff the pork (stuffing can be made in advance and refrigerated up to 24 hours).

To Prepare Pork: Slice open and pound out pork between sheets of plastic wrap.
Lay the prepared pork flat and spoon the stuffing in a line down the middle. Roll up the tenderloin and secure with pieces of dry spaghetti or toothpicks.
Wrap the entire tenderloin with prosciutto slices. Pour 1-1/2 Tablespoons oil on the bottom of  your 12" dutch oven and place the tenderloin inside.
Roast pork for about 30 minutes at 425° or until the meat is just faintly pink when sliced into. Use 2 rings on top and 1 ring on the bottom.  Let cool slightly and slice. Serves 6-8.

The Finished Product

The Review

As you can tell by the fact that it won second place, this was fabulous!!  The pork was tender and moist, the filling was perfectly spiced, and the prosciutto was browned and crispy.  This is also really easy to make.  Even in the rain I made it in just over an hour start to finish.  It would be a perfect meal to serve to company or for a nice Sunday meal.  This is definitely an A recipe.


  1. Happy and proud for you. Each time outside of your yard you will find new challenges...and it sounds like you adapted well. ...Congrats!

  2. Congratulations on your win Toni! I was doing a tablesetting about that time and it hailed a ton at my house! Had to bring everything in! Love the pork loin recipe! Just up my alley! Joni

  3. That sounds like a wonderful worth sharing!

    Glad you had fun and did well.

  4. Congratulations, that is AWESOME! So, where's the crepe recipe?? :)

  5. It was great to meet you! congratulations, I told you that you would win! Good luck at state, (that sounds like high school).

  6. Erika--The crepe recipe will be coming. I'll post everything we cooked over the next day or two!

  7. That was a fun read, congratulations on your placings. I have only watched one competition and it terrified me, I quietly cook when camping or in the backyard so can imagine the pressure when out and about and especially when you get bad weather. I am sure the more you do it the easier it gets..... or maybe a new challenge each time as long as you keep smiling its all part of the game. :)

  8. Hi, We have been following your blog for several months. We competed inour first ever Dutch Oven Throw Down Cook off in La Pine, Oregon. The main dish and the dessert fruit were a mystery until the cooks meeting at 9:00. We used your Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Wrapped with Proscuitto recipe and it turned out delicious. Thanks! We didn't place in that catergory, but we took 1st in the Bread and 3rd in the Dessert. What fun! Thanks for all your recipes, we will keep trying them.

    Trailhead kitchen
    Charles & Laura Lee

  9. Just Peachy BBQ Pork Loin
    Jamie Boyle & David Grover
    Pork Rub:
    4# Pork Loin
    ¼ Cup Brown Sugar
    1T Kosher Salt
    ½ T Black Pepper
    ½ T Cumin
    ½ T Chili Powder
    1 T Onion Powder
    1 T Garlic Powder
    Score the fat on the top of the pork loin. Combine the above listed and place all over the pork loin. Place the loin in a 1 gallon freezer bag and let sit in cooler.

    Peach BBQ Sauce:
    1 C Peach Nectar
    ½ a can of Coke
    ¼ C Rice Wine Vinegar
    3 T Butter
    1 T Chili Garlic Sauce
    2 T Minced Onion
    1 T Minced Garlic
    4 Peaches Peeled and Diced
    ¾ C Ketchup
    ¼ C Brown Sugar
    ¼ C Durkee Chicken & Rib Rub
    Place the butter, onion, and garlic in a sauce pan. Sauté this till the garlic has a light brown color to it then add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer till reduced by1/2

    Pork Loin Nest:
    1 yellow Bell Pepper Sliced
    1 Red Bell Pepper Sliced
    1 Yellow Onion Sliced
    2 Peaches Peeled and Sliced

    Place the above listed on the bottom of a heated #10 Dutch Oven and then rest the pork loin on top of that. Bake the loin at 350 degrees.

    Baste the pork loin with the sauce every 20 minutes till the pork has reached a temp of 137 or above. If you pull it to late it will be dry because it keeps cooking even after its out and off the coals.


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