Local blueberry season doesn't start until July around here, but I'm not about to let a little thing like THAT stop me from getting a jump on the season!
Grocery store prices on those bountiful, beautiful, USA-grown blue berries (the ones in my fridge are from Florida) are nearing rock bottom prices right now, so until my local farm markets have them fresh from the bush, the supermarket variety will do just fine.
For the next month or so around the Dinner Plan-it household, bargain blueberries from Kuhns, Giant Eagle and Costco will be studding breads and muffins, pancakes and waffles and fruit salads galore. When the REALLY sweet local berries hit the farm markets, that's when I'll crank it up to blueberry pie time. (I may be drooling just a bit thinking of a deep dish, sugar topped and lattice-crusted delightful dessert...WITH vanilla ice cream, of course!)
Last Sunday I took a couple of pork tenderloins, bespeckled them with a healthy polka-dotting of blueberries and garlic cloves, then wrapped them in thinly sliced bacon before roasting the tenderloins off until the bacon was crisp on top and the pork still juicy.
While the tenderloins roasted, I threw together a simple glaze/barbecue sauce that amped up the blueberry-ness of the dish. The result? Pure savory blueberry and pork deliciousness!
Until those precious blue gems make their all-too-short annual appearance at the markets of Shenot's and Soergel's (and hopefully in my Dillner Farms CSA basket...fingers crossed), here's the recipe for Bacon-Wrapped Blueberry Bourbon BBQ Pork Tenderloins. Enjoy!
Bacon-Wrapped Blueberry Bourbon BBQ
- 2 pork tenderloins - NOT the preseasoned kind that's shot up with all sorts of artificial flavors and such...just the plain, pure, pork tenderloin itself, thank you
- 1 C fresh blueberries
- 1/2 head of fresh garlic, separated into cloves, peeled and sliced lengthwise in half (or quarters if the cloves are very large)
- 1/2 pound very thinly sliced bacon - more or less to cover the pork tenderloins
Remove the tenderloins from their packaging and dry them off...the ones I buy come packaged 2 to a package which explains why I specify two. (If your package only contains 1 tenderloins, cut the recipe in half!) Nestle the tenderloins into a roasting pan they will fit into nicely.
With the tip of a sharp knife, cut rows of slits into the tenderloins about 1" apart almost to the bottom of the roast. (See pic.)
Alternate inserting as many blueberries as a slit will hold with a sliver of garlic until all the slits are filled. I push the berries and garlic deep into the meat with a finger. Works nicely.
Once the slits are filled, lay slices of bacon lengthwise until the roast is completely covered.
Roast at 400 degrees for about half an hour and then brush the reserved sauce over the bacon covering the bacon completely. Brush with the reserved sauce a couple more times and continue roasting until the bacon is browned and the pork still juicy. (I know the hot chefs today cook their pork to still pink inside. I can't do that...I like mine cooked through with NO pink. Sue me. That's why I don't give you a time to take it out of the oven...take it out when it's done to YOUR liking!)
Remove the roasts from the oven and let rest ten minutes before slicing.
While the tenderloins are roasting, make the sauce.
- 1/2 C store-bought BBQ sauce - I used Soergel's own Sweet & Smoky, but use any GOOD bottled BBQ sauce that fits the sweet/smoky profile
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 C fresh blueberries
- 3 T bourbon
In a small, deep saucepan, bring all the sauce ingredients to a boil and stir until the blueberries begin to burst. Remove from heat and whir smooth with an immersion (stick) blender or carefully pour the sauce into a regular blender and process until smooth. Pour 1/3 of the sauce into a bowl to use as a baste and keep the rest warm to serve as a sauce when serving.
Slice the tenderloins into nice thick pieces, serve with sauce and start looking forward to LOCAL blueberry season and blueberry pie!
NOTE: This would be fabulous on the grill!
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