It started with the wine.
We had this rosé (nothing ultra-special, in fact it was Châteauneuf-du-Box from Trader Joe’s) and rosés always make me think of pork because my Folks often paired a Nederburg rosé with pork dinners. I had an hour’s break between conference calls and I figured I had just enough time to buy the ingredients for Melissa Clark’s “Pork Tenderloin Stuffed With Herbs and Capers” from the New York Times Cooking.
Our local Whole Foods wasn’t too busy and I quickly bought all the veggies and herbs I’d need and headed over to the meat counter. “Sorry, Sir. I don’t have any pork tenderloins today!”
Well, slap me with a week-old salmon and color me flabbergasted!
Dude! Aren’t pork tenderloins the backbone of a butcher shop? No tenderloins is like St. Peter’s running out of Communion wafers, or The Ritz running out of champagne, or Joey running out of things to bark at.
I needed to make a plan and make it quickly as my next call was coming up fast. I was still set on pork and was thinking that I might get away with stuffing a pair of thick pork chops, but those on display were a tad small and a tad thin so that idea didn't pan out. Then I spotted a smallish pork loin roast. Hey, if I could cut that so I could open it up and then roll it it might kinda-sorta work out.
So this is the recipe I worked with. Looking at Ms. Clark’s version at the URL above you can see the parallels. Other than swapping-out her shallots for a pair of large leeks that were just being unpacked when I was in the veggie section and using hard apple cider instead of orange juice I followed her instructions. I did add some roast potatoes and served the pork with them and some sautéed asparagus.
Do not be intimidated by the number of steps in the method -- it actually proceeds in a relatively easy way.
For a similar recipe here on Biker Bistro see Stuffed and Rolled Pork Loin
• 2 ¼ Lb. Pork loin roast
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
• ground black pepper
• 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 large leeks, the white and light green parts, chopped finely to make about a good cupfull
• 3 tablespoons minced capers, plus a splash of their liquid
• 6 teaspoons chopped sage
• 3 teaspoons chopped rosemary
• 1 ½ teaspoons chopped thyme, plus more for serving
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 to 3 tablespoons vermouth or dry white wine
• ½ cup hard apple cider
• ½ cup pork, chicken or other meat stock
• 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
• Squeeze of fresh lemon juice(optional)
For the roast potatoes
• 2 Lb (or sufficient to feed the number of guests) large potatoes such as Yukons peeled and cut into 1½ - 2 inch chunks
• 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 teaspoons rosemary needles
1. Heat oven to 400° F (200° C).
2. Put potatoes into a saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to boil. Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside in their pot.
3. While potatoes are prepping, using a long-bladed knife (like a machete), slice into the pork at an angle and cut a spiral such that when the pork is unraveled it will be a single piece about one inch thick.
4. Season with salt and pepper, then let sit while you prepare filling.
5. In a roasting pan or large, oven-safe skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat.
6. Stir in chopped leeks, one tablespoon capers, 4 teaspoons sage, 2 teaspoons rosemary, 1 teaspoon thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
7. Stirring frequently, cook until the leeks start to brown, about 5 minutes, then stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. (Adjust heat if necessary to prevent burning.)
8. Transfer to a plate to cool slightly.
9. Wipe out pan/skillet and reserve.
10. Place the rolled-out pork on a sheet of grease-proof paper or board to catch any filling and oil that may fall out.
11. Spread cooled filling evenly on pork, then roll the pork into a log being careful not to force too much filling out the sides.
12. Tie with kitchen twine at 1 1/2-inch intervals.
13. In the same skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat until oil is hot but not smoking.
14. Place pork in the pan/skillet and sear it all over turning gently with spatula and tongs so as not to force any filling out.
15. Lift pork out onto a plate, then carefully remove any parts of the filling that have spilled out and blackened.
16. Add the oil and the rosemary as well as any filling and oil that spilled out of the pork roll at prep time to the potatoes in the saucepan. Toss potatoes to cover. Tip all the contents into the pan/skillet and spread them out.
17. Place the pork on top of the potatoes and pour remaining two tablespoons olive oil over the meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
18. Transfer pan/skillet to the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
19. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C) and continue roasting until meat reaches 140°F to 145°F (60°C) in the center, about 30-45 minutes longer. After 20 minutes toss the potatoes.
15. Transfer the pork to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and allow it to rest.
16. If the potatoes look a little too pale, place them under the broiler for 3-5 minutes to brown up.
17. Move the potatoes to a warmed serving platter.
18. On the stove top heat the pan with the reserved juices over medium-high heat.
19. Stir in vermouth and the remaining two teaspoons sage, one teaspoon rosemary and half teaspoon thyme, scraping up the browned bits on bottom of pan.
20. Cook until vermouth is almost evaporated, then add the cider and stock, and cook over medium-high heat until thickened and syrupy.
21. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons capers, their liquid and the butter; season with salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce tastes too sweet, add a squeeze of lemon juice.
22. To serve, slice pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices and place of the serving platter alongside the potatoes. Pour a little sauce over the meat and pour the reaming sauce into a warmed gravy boat.