Pork loin, it can be such a problem-child! Unless you’re lucky enough to have good access to meat from heritage breeds, most of the pork available is too lean and can end up being dry and flavorless after roasting. There’s a couple of ways to help this – brining, and stuffing to add moisture. Before James and I stopped eating grains, I often made a cornbread stuffing with fruit and bacon. That was tasty, but no more bread for us!
This pork loin is stuffed with baby spinach, prosciutto, and dried apricots. Not only does it look gorgeous, it will give your taste buds a good working out with layers of mustard-y spinach, salty prosciutto, and the sweetness of apricots and pork.
- 2-3 pound pork loin roast (this was from the “rib” end of the loin)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup kosher salt plus 2 T kosher salt
- 6 cups water
- Dijon mustard
- Baby spinach
- Dried apricots
- 4 slices prosciutto
- Pepper or pepper blend ( I like Florida Seasoned Pepper from The Spice House.)
- Olive oil or Coconut oil (for browning)
Prepare brine by mixing sugar, kosher salt, and water in a gallon-size resealable bag. Seal and shake until sugar and salt are dissolved. (Make sure the seal is good before shaking!) Put pork loin in bag, press out air, seal and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
Preheat oven to 375F. Remove pork from brine and dry well with paper towels. Butterfly the roast by cutting down the center to about 3/4 inch from the edge; open up like a book, then make similar cuts on each half so that the roast lies flat and has even thickness. (If you haven’t done this before, you might want to check out this excellent demonstration.)
Spread the inside of the roast with Dijon mustard (probably about 2 T). Put a layer of spinach over the mustard, covering the meat. Place the 4 slices of prosciutto over the spinach. Add a double row of dried apricots to the center of the roast.
Cut several pieces of kitchen twine, around 10 inches long or so (long enough to tie around the rolled pork). Carefully roll the roast up and secure with the kitchen twine. I tie the ends first, then the middle, then fill-in so that is it tied in about 1 inch intervals. Poke any of the stuffing back in that came out when you were rolling and tying. Season the outside of the roast generously with the pepper blend.
Heat oil in a heavy saute pan to medium-high. Sear the rolled pork roast on all sides until nicely browned. Transfer roast to a shallow roasting pan on an oiled rack.
Roast at 375F until the temperature in the thickest part of the meat is 135-140F. Remove from oven, tent with foil, and let rest for about 10 minutes. The temperature of the roast will continue to rise during this time, and it also gives the juices a chance to redistribute.
When ready to serve, slice into thick pieces (1 to 1 1/2 inches).
[Clicking on any of the photos will bring them up to full-size.]
This post is linked to Primal Cave Friday @ Primal Toad.
Man does not live by food alone…he needs wine! And guitars! In honor of NGD, spinning a few classics. First up, legendary British guitarist, former Pentangle founder, John Renbourn’s Faro Annie. Beautiful collection of largely American material (White House Blues, Little Sadie, etc), masterfully played. Something to aim for with the new Martin, certainly!
And then the one that started it all, featuring Leo Kottke, Peter Lang and the incomparable John Fahey with Fahey Kottke Lange
A hugely influential record that introduced Fahey and Kottke to the masses. Mindbogglingly good, one of the largest sellers in the steel string guitar catalog. Not to mention it just sounds nice!