Whenever I see pork loin roasts on sale, I buy two or three of them. Some go in the freezer and one hits the countertop for dinner that night. Pound for pound, it’s one of the best cuts of meat you can buy for the money. It’s lean and allows everyone a generous portion. Don’t confuse it with pork tenderloin. That’s good too, but usually much smaller and significantly more expensive. I prefer the loin cut, and I always serve it stuffed.
Stuffing a pork loin roast is fairly easy depending on the ambition of your stuffing. You can use a standard bread stuffing made of onions, celery, sage and chicken broth with bread cubes. It always reminds me of Thanksgiving. Lately I’ve been using green, leafy vegetables that I’ve blanched and mixed with chunks of cheese and bread crumbs. I’ve also stuffed it with mixed vegetables, beans and rice, mashed potatoes and apple pie filling. It doesn’t seem to matter what the stuffing is, it always comes out great and everyone seems to like it.
Here’s a basic recipe for a stuffed pork loin featuring spinach and cheese stuffing. I’ve also included a recipe for sauced apples that you roast with the pork loin so it’s a one-pan meal.
Stevie’s Spinach Stuffed Pork Loin with Cider House Apples
(Serves 6 to 8)
1 – 3 to 4 lb. pork loin
1 tbsp butter
4 cups spinach
4 oz white cheese in small cubes (Swiss or muenster or mozzarella)
1 cup bread crumbs
1 medium onion diced
1 tbsp sage
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp chopped or dried parsley
2 cups apple cider
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Cut a long slit in the side of the pork loin but do not cut through. You want to be able to open the roast like a book. Blanch the spinach in boiling water and drain. Sauté the onion in the butter. Add the wilted spinach and the chicken broth, sage and pepper. Add the bread crumbs and the cheese. Mix thoroughly and pile the stuffing in the center of the sliced roast. Fold over one side of the roast and press to distribute the stuffing. Smooth the stuffing around the sides. Coarsely slice the apples into a roasting pan and add the cider and the vinegar. Place the roast on top of the apples in the center of the pan and roast for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until a thermometer inserted into the meat reads 145° to 150° F. Cover and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Some carryover cooking will occur and the internal temp should rise to 150° to 155° F as a result. Slice carefully and serve with the apples from the pan on the side.
You can vary the stuffings anyway you like. My next experiment is going to be with a pineapple/apple stuffing mixed with carrot cake crumbs. I got a feeling that’s going to work too.