As far as I can tell, in the US "filet mignon" always refers to a cut of beef. Over here in France, it refers to the cut of the meat and not the kind. (Filet, of course, means a boneless cut of meat or fish and "mignon" just means cute or small.) So on Monday I bought a couple of pork filet mignons and they were every bit as gorgeous looking as the beef variety you find in the US: small and round with very little fat, definitely very cute. They called out for some special treatment and I spent a good while pondering what to do with them.
In the end, I came up with what I thought was a pretty original idea: stuffing them with a mince of apple, onion and thyme. It worked beautifully, especially when I added cider and French grain mustard to the mix...oh and the ubiquitous crème fraîche!
Cute Stuffed Pork Cutlets
2 thick pork filets (you could substitute pork chops, providing they are nice and thick)
1/2 an apple
1/2 an onion
1 Tbs fresh or frozen thyme
salt and pepper
1 tsp olive oil (just enough to keep them from sticking to the pan)
1/3 cup dry cider
1 heaping teaspoon of grain Dijon mustard
1 heaping tablespoon of crème fraîche or cream
Preheat the oven to 200c/375f. Finely chop the apple and onion and mix with the thyme and a little salt and pepper. You can do this with a knife, but I find that my nifty little chopper gadget does the trick even better. (See this photo for a picture of the chopper and the resulting minced apple and onion.)
Take the first pork filet or chop and place it on a flat surface. With one hand, hold the top of the filet or chop flat and with the other carefully insert the point of a sharp knife in the middle and slice a pocket. Don't worry too much if you pierce the side of the pocket, just back the knife up and re-cut the pocket in the center of the meat. Providing you don't absolutely riddle the pocket with holes, the meat will naturally fall back into place and look whole. Repeat with the second filet.
Use a small spoon to carefully insert the stuffing into each of the pockets. Depending on the size of your cutlets, apple and onion you may find you have a little stuffing left over; reserve it for the sauce. Once the pockets are bulging with stuffing, secure them with a toothpick or a small metal skewer. Here is a picture of one of the pork cutlets stuffed and one not.
Put the olive oil in the bottom of an ovenproof pan and spread it around with the meat. Bake in an oven until the apple and onion smell lovely and the pork is cooked through (about 20 minutes). Remove the cutlets from the pan and put them back in the oven on a covered plate to keep warm. (The oven should be turned off.) To make the sauce, place the pan over a medium flame and add the cider. Let it bubble away a bit as you scrape up any bits of pork that may have stuck to the bottom of the pan. If you have any of the minced apple and onion left over, now is the time to add it. There will be a fair amount of juice in the pan from the apple and onion, so let it reduce to about half a cup. Add the mustard and the cream and taste for salt and pepper. It will probably need a generous grinding of both.
Serve with the sauce drizzled over the pork cutlets. I accompanied mine with boiled potatoes with a roast garlic and olive oil dressing and peas. You'll want something - potatoes, rice or bread - to help sop up the delicious mustard-y, creamy, cider sauce!