Our family had a quiet New Year’s Day but we still have a wonderful late lunch/early dinner. It was decided to have pork, a traditional meat during the Christmas holidays for Greeks.
I took some western methods like brining, a bread stuffing and applied it to some Greek flavours with a result that was appealing to the eye and delicious for sure.
Brining is usually applied to turkey but it works well with pork loin, a pretty lean cut other than the fat on top (leave it on). This brine has some accents like apple juice, peppercorns, allspice, thyme, rosemary and bay.
Roast Pork Loin With Apple Stuffing
3lb. pork loin
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
sprigs of thyme
For the Brine
1 cup apple juice
1 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
handful of peppercorns
handful allspice berries
4-5 bay leaves
2 sprigs of rosemary
12 sprigs of thyme
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large green apples, cored and diced
2 cups of stale bread cubes
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup warm chicken/vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 medium onion, rough chop
2 bay leaves
1 medium carrot
1 stalk celery
2 cups hot stock
- Find a plastic container large enough to contain your pork. Place the meat in the container, add the apple juice and enough water to just cover it. Remove the pork and add the remaining brine ingredients and stir well (until salt and sugar absorbed). Place the pork in the brine, cover and place in your fridge overnight to 24 hours.
- The Next day, make your stuffing by adding olive oil into a skillet over medium heat along with the apples, bay, thyme, some salt and pepper. Allow to sweat for 10 minutes or until softened. Take off the heat and allow to cool. Remove the bay leaves.
- Add the cubed bread, egg, cream and toss. Gradually the stock while stirring until just moistened (you may not have to all the stock).
- Take your pork out of the fridge and remove from the brine (discard brine) and allow to return to room temperature. carefully butterfly/open your pork and brush mustard over the surface of the interior. Season lightly with salt and pepper and spoon the stuffing along the length of the pork in the middle.
- Roll-up tightly and tie-up your pork with butcher’s twine. Pre-heat your oven to 350F (middle rack). Season the exterior of the pork with salt and pepper and place a large skillet over a stove-top set to medium-high.
- Add some olive oil and sear the pork on all sides. Transfer to a roasting pan, place the carrot, onion, celery, bay leaves around the pork, place thyme on the pork. Add about 2 cups of stock around the pork.
- Place in your pre-heated oven and roast uncovered for 70-90 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160F. Remove from the oven, transfer to a large plate and tent with foil.
- Place the roasted pan on your stove, medium heat. Scrape up any brown bits then pour into a sieve with a pot underneath.
- Push juices through using the bottom of a ladle, discard vegetables. Place the pot on the stove, bring up to a boil, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper (you may thicken with flour and butter roux or cold starch and cold water). Turn off heat, reserve.
- Cut off the butcher’s twine from the pork, slice with sharp knife and place on a platter, spoon a ladle of gravy along the middle.
- Serve with roast or mashed potatoes, braised cabbage and serve with a sparkling rose, like the Kappa 100 from Pavlou Estate.
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