Saturday, August 15, 2009

You’ve Been Holding Out On Us …

Fruit and Walnut-Stuffed Pork Loin


1/2 cup dry red wine

1/4 cup dried sour cherries

1/4 cup chopped dried apricots

1/4 cup chopped dried plums (I used fresh)

1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind

2 (1-ounce) slices French bread

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (2 1/2-pound) boneless center-cut pork loin roast, trimmed

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Cooking spray

Parsley sprigs (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 2 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes or until fruit is plump. Drain mixture through a sieve, reserving fruit mixture. Combine fruit mixture, walnuts, shallots, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and rind.

3. Combine 3/4 teaspoon salt, French bread, and next 3 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor; process until fine crumbs form.

4. Cut pork in half lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side; open halves, laying the pork flat. Starting from center, cut each half lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side; open halves, laying pork flat. Cover with plastic wrap; pound to an even thickness. Discard plastic wrap. Spread fruit mixture over pork, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Roll up pork, jelly-roll fashion, starting with one long side. Secure with wooden picks. Sprinkle outside of pork evenly with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; brush evenly with mustard. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over pork; press gently to adhere. Place pork on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 55 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 155°. Let pork stand 10 minutes. Remove wooden picks. Cut into 16 (1/2-inch-thick) slices. Garnish with parsley sprigs, if desired.

Unlike the above photograph, I served with roasted vegetables (eggplant, summer squash, mushrooms, onion). French bread with olive oil (special spread that includes olives—yum) and a beet, goat cheese spinach salad.

The variety of flavors complimented one another, creating an explosion on the palate (Andrew waxing poetic).

Rating: This is a 9.5. However, it is not a beginner recipe and somewhat time consuming—lots of prep for a week night dinner. There were lots of “hmmm.” “This is delicious.” “If this is what we get when we finish projects we are going to finish a lot more.”

This meal has spurred us to designate categories, beef, chicken, pork, and vegetarian with an overall “grand” prize winner. So right now, this is the pork winner. Too early to tell if it’s the grand champion.