October 1, 2013 by Lauren
In many ways, pork is a blank canvas. It’s a tender, juicy white meat that has a little more punch than its chicken brethren. This recipe uses a pork loin which you’ll find in your grocery store in a big plastic bag, or cut at a butcher sometimes with some trimmings left on it. Lots of times stores will cut pork chops out of it (with or without the bone) and it’s a little lighter than its tenderloin counter part. This started as a quick party dish that I needed to look impressive (whenever you tie kitchen twine around something it becomes “impressive”) but also needed to come together quickly. It turned out fabulously and while it was decidedly holiday themed when I made it (I used cloves and allspice in the rub) it could so easily be stuffed with a variety of things.
Click on any picture below to see them larger and get a play by play (click any picture to close and return):
Stuffed Pork LoinActive Cook Time: 20 minutes Inactive Cook Time: 1 hour
- 3lb Pork Loin (any size works)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 cup dried turkish apricots, chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Saute the onion over medium high heat about 4 minutes until it gains color. Salt lightly and move to a bowl. Add in chopped apricots and cranberries. Toss in a tablespoon or so of your spice mixture. Set aside.
- Trim the pork loin of the fat cap and silver skin (see pictures). Most roasts will have a layer of fat on one side connected by a shiny layer of connective tissue called silver skin. You could easily leave this. Slit the pork loin (lengthwise) down the middle, making a pouch inside the pork loin (do not cut the ends).
- In the same pan you used for the onions sear the pork over medium high heat with a little olive oil. Let it sear about 3-4 minutes per side (do not lift until it releases from the pan because it’s golden brown and delicious). Remove from pan and let cool until you can handle it.
- Open the pork loin and fill the opening with the fruit. To keep things tight (roasts tend to lose shape) tie the roast with kitchen twine. Place slit side up in a roasting pan.
- Mix the brown sugar, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper in a small bowl and press into the roast. You can use any spices in place of the cayenne, cinnamon and cloves.
- Roast in the oven for 45 minutes until the pork reaches 135 degrees. This time will depend on the size of your roast. Let rest for 10 minutes, cut the twine and cut (using a serrated knife) into slices.
Sometimes the rub starts to burn up in the pan. Pour enough water in to cover the bottom of the pan and continue cooking, making sure to replenish the water if needed. My favorite part about this recipe is the flexibility. You could cover it in garlic and oregano instead of cloves and cinnamon. You could stuff it with apples and walnuts, or sauteed fennel, onions and apple.