Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rolled Pork Roast with Pecan Stuffing

I eat most things porcine, well, not so much the odd bits like pigs feet or pork snout, and certainly not pork rinds or chittlins... I love bacon and enjoy the commonly found cuts of pork like chops, ribs, steaks and roasts, but those  #*@*#@*  annoying Geico pig commercials are enough to turn me against pork completely... almost. Over and over and over the television screen fills with Maxwell the Pig zooming along on a zip line, or racing downhill on a street luge, or lately joyriding in a car with a posse of pigs on the loose, all the while crying wheeeeeeeee! I calm myself by envisioning that irritating critter as mobile bacon, ribs, chops and ribs instead… and hit the mute button on the TV remote. Click! take that little piggy! Wheeeeeeeeeee, indeed. 

This recipe for rolled and roasted pork loin has erased any television generated anti-pork feelings. The meat is succulent, it’s crunchy pecan stuffing alone rates 5 stars, and the mellow tang of the creamy mustard sauce takes this dish over the top. Oh yes, we love this delicious stuffed, rolled pork loin roast. It requires a bit more prep time than usual for a weeknight meal, but is easy to prepare and looks impressive enough to serve to company.

Photo: Pork pinwheel with sauce, roasted carrots and braised cabbage slaw.
Here's the quick version in pictures: 
Begin by whizzing up a cup of bread crumbs (about 2 thick slices).

 Gather up the remaining stuffing ingredients; mix together and set aside.

Trim the excess fat off the roast, slice to open in half, then open each half again.

Pound the roast to an even thickness, careful not to tear or separate the sections.

Spread the stuffing evenly across the butterflied meat; press firmly in place.

Roll up, beginning with a short side, and tie securely with kitchen twine.

 Brown well on all four long sides and pop into a preheated 325 F oven.

Remove when internal temperature reaches 150 F; let rest 3 or 4 minutes before slicing.

Serve warm from the oven or cool and chill to serve cold slices later. These pork pinwheels are delicious served with a cooked Creamy Mustard Sauce or a quick cold mustard/mayonnaise/horseradish sauce. *Extra stuffing? use it to make Stuffin Muffins, a treat all by themselves.

Still with me? here's the official recipe with just a few notes.

Pork Roast with Pecan Stuffing and Creamy Mustard Sauce
Serves 4-6 generously

Pecan Stuffing

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 cup minced toasted pecans
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (about 2 thick slices whizzed in blender)
1 cup fresh, wilted kale, julienned
a handful of fresh parsley, minced
a 3-inch sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and minced
¼ cup dried currants
¼ cup chicken stock
½ pound ground pork sausage, crumbled
a generous pinch of dried thyme
½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 3-pound boneless pork loin roast (NOT tenderloin)

The Stuffing:
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over high heat until very hot. Add the garlic and onion and lightly sauté for about 2 minutes. Let the mixture cool, then place it in a medium bowl. Add the pecans and breadcrumbs to the onions and mix well. 
  • Wilt the kale in the same sauté pan for a minute or two, then add it to the bowl. Toss in the parsley, rosemary and currants; pour in the chicken stock and mix well. Add the crumbled, raw sausage, thyme and mustard powder; mix together. Add some salt and pepper. 
  • Form a tablespoon of stuffing into a tiny patty and cook it in the sauté pan. Taste for seasoning; adjust as needed.
The Roast:
  • Butterfly the pork roast, cutting the top side carefully along the length until you are about ¼ inch from the bottom side (do NOT cut all the way through, you want the halves to stay securely attached.) Open the roast like a book and repeat the butterfly cut with each side portion, slicing from the inside edge to ¼ inch from the outside edge of each piece. Open these sections outward (you will have 4 long pieces of equal size). 
  • Place the meat on a sturdy work surface, cover with a large sheet of plastic wrap and pound with the smooth side of a meat mallet to evenly flatten out the roast (be careful not to pull the sections apart).
  • Spread the filling evenly on the meat (you may have some extra*), roll the roast jelly-roll style, and tie securely with kitchen twine in several places.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 F. Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over high heat in a large ovenproof sauté pan until the oil shimmers, not quite smoking hot. Sear the rolled, stuffed pork well on all 4 long sides, about 5 or 6 minutes total. At this point I toss a handful of mini-carrots into the pan and position the roast on top of them; they work well as a rack and are quite tasty as a side dish. Place the pan in the oven and roast the pork slowly about 40 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer reads 150 F.
*That extra stuffing I mentioned above – add a beaten egg to the mix as a binder and fill a few ramekins or muffin cups to bake alongside the roast. These stuffin’ muffins are delicious on their own!

Creamy Mustard Sauce
½ cup sweet vermouth or sherry
½ cup Applejack or brandy
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 green onions, green & white portions, chopped
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder (I use Coleman's)
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 heaping tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
Freshly ground black pepper

The Sauce
Place the liquor, garlic and onions in a medium saucepan and reduce over high heat until about ¼ cup of liquid remains. Add the cream and stirring constantly, cook until about a cup of liquid remains and the sauce is thick. Add the dry mustard, Dijon, and whole-grain mustard and whisk to mix well. Add the parsley, salt and pepper and keep warm until ready to use. (Note: the sauce will separate if heated too high or too long.)

The Finish
Remove the roast from the oven and let it rest for about 3 minutes before slicing. Cut the twine and remove from the roast. Slice the pork ¼ inch thick and place the slices on a serving platter or on individual plates. Drizzle the sauce over the slice and serve hot.

1. For a quick, cold sauce mix together mayonnaise, grainy mustard and creamy horseradish in a 3:2:1 ratio; thin as needed with milk or half and half.
2. This pork dish makes an impressive presentation on a platter as well as plated individually. Accompany with sweet and sour braised cabbage, roasted winter vegetables and a salad of mixed greens tossed with a warm vinaigrette, crisped pancetta, roasted grape tomatoes and green beans.


  1. I agree about the Geico pig and the BACON!!!!


  2. I made this for our Christmas dinner and it was a hit with everyone. Cranberries replaced currants - a holiday requirement for this family.


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