Monday, February 27, 2012
Crusted pork loin stuffed with plums and carmelized onions
I think that pork is my favorite meat. Pulled pork shoulder is, in my opinion, the perfect food. Have you ever been to a pig roast? If not, get yourself to one ASAP. Bacon...well, bacon needs no explanation. The best part about the pig is that it can carry light flavors or heavy ones. I also adore the contrast of fruit flavors with the taste of pork. It basically can make any day better. Case in point - the best memory of a particularly crappy New Years, many years ago, that I spent with an awful exboyfriend, was the absolutely spectacular peach-stuffed pork loin that we made for our guests.
This recipe was inspired by that beautiful New Years platter. I bought the pork loin on sale at Whole Foods and stuck it in the freezer. Then, last week, WF had organic plums on sale. I knew they belonged inside a butterflied pork loin. A tip? Ask the butcher to butterfly the loin for you. I really hacked up this loin and most of the filling ended up as more of topping. This recipe is a heavy-handed one, so be prepared for lots of flavor. You might even want to add a touch of sugar (maybe brown?) to the stuffing to cut the tang. But I think it showcases the pork and the plums quite nicely.
Crusted pork loin stuffed with carmelized plums and onions
2lb pork loin
1 large red onion, sliced medium
4 or 5 medium sized fresh plums, pitted and cut into 1/8ths
3 tbsps olive oil, divided (see below)
2 tbsps chopped fresh rosemary, split in half
2 tbsps chopped fresh thyme, split in half
1 tbsp dried basil
4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and pushed through a garlic press
1/4 cup beef or chicken stock
3 glugs of red wine
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350
- On the stove, heat 2 tbsps of the olive oil in a dutch oven
- Add the red onion, reduce heat to medium or medium-high and cook - turning frequently - until they start to carmelize. Then, add the plums.
- Once plums are cooked through, add salt and pepper, 1/2 the fresh thyme and 1/2 the fresh rosemary, and deglaze with a little more than half of the stock, and the wine.
- Allow liquid to cook off a bit and then reduce heat to a simmer while getting the pork ready.
- Butterfly the pork loin and then flip it over so that the outside of the loin is facing up.
- Rub the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil on to the outer surface of the loin.
- One ingredient at a time, rub the rest of the rosemary and thyme, the basil, the smashed garlic, and some salt and pepper into the loin. Really work it in so that it sticks to the loin.
- At this point, you might want to lay out three or four pieces of kitchen twine so that you can carefully flip the loin back over and have it land on top of the twine pieces for easy tying.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the onion/plum mixture onto the loin, but leave plenty of juices in the pan.
- Tie up the loin around the plums and onions.
- Heat up the dutch oven, with the juices in it, and then brown the pork loin on all sides before putting the top on the dutch oven and placing the whole thing in the oven.
- Bake for an hour, basting with juices every 15 minutes.
This post is part of Tasty Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table, Tasty Tuesday, and Hearth and Soul Hop.