Saturday, August 15, 2015

Budget Cuts: Rolled Stuffed Pork Loin

At $6.99 per pound, it's not a steal, but for some fine eating for a decent price, pork loin is a good place to start, and they're often on sale at our supermarket butcher counters. We usually cook it on the grill, searing it directly over the coals then moving it to the side so it can achieve maximum succulence.

Slice roast lengthwise through the middle, but not all the way through.

One way to assure juiciness in what can often be a rather dry cut of pork is to stuff it with something savory, whether a mixture of greens and herbs—a garlic pesto or kale stuffing would be awesome—or, what I've been doing lately, a variation on Dario Cecchini's treatment with garlic, fennel pollen, salt and rosemary.

Open like a book, then slice horizontally through the left side.

Prepping the roast for the stuffing process is extremely easy. The simplest method is to snip off the twine binding the roast, turn it so the short end is toward you, then slice it halfway through the long way, stopping before you slice all the way through. Open the roast like a book, slather it with your stuffing, then roll it up starting at the right-hand end. Using some butcher's twine (available at most markets), tie the roast in three or four places.

Repeat with right side, open flaps and spread with stuffing.

The other method is a little harder but gives a much more satisfying result. Slice and open the roast as above, then make a shallow slice down the center, again stopping before you go all the way through the roast. Then make a horizontal slice to the left from the center cut to the end, stopping before slicing it through. Repeat going from the center to the right side. Open these two flaps and you'll end up with a long slab of meat that you can slather with stuffing and roll up from one end to the other.

Roll up, tie and roast…easy!

Grilling takes close to an hour, and roasting it in the oven at 400° will take about the same amount of time. If you don't mind heating up your house by turning on the oven—I'm writing this in the middle of a very warm NW summer—a really great thing to do, which gives you an instant side dish, is to roast the meat on top of root vegetables, as in this recipe. I usually aim for an internal temperature of 125° to 130°, then remove it from the grill or the oven, cover it with aluminum foil and let it rest for fifteen to twenty minutes before slicing.

Here are some stuffings to try: Kale and Pine Nuts, Nettle Pesto. The stuffing pictured above is a cilantro pesto. Try it with green garlic, carrot top pesto, or a flavorful combination of greens and herbs.

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