Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spinach Crusted Mint-Basil Pesto-Stuffed Pork Loin

Boy is that title a mouthful. I should have the word cheese in it as well, due to the two kinds of cheese used, but I thought that would be overkill. 

Lately, I've been on a pork kick, which is odd for me, so I am embracing it thoroughly. While strolling through the grocery store, I am always fascinated with the pork loin, and finally took the plunge and bought one.  As you can tell by a lot of the recipes lately, there has been a lot of just regular pork chop recipes, but I wanted to try and make a pork roast, and of course I couldn't start with something easy.  I went straight for the butterflied pork loin. 

Only problem, how the heck to do you butterfly a piece of meat? 

Ingredients:
Pesto:
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons of Tahini (I didn't have pine nuts)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil

Pork:
2 (3 pound) pork loins, 10 to 12-inches long
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cups fresh spinach
3 tablespoons oil

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pesto:
In a food processor, pulse the basil and mint 3 to 4 times or until chopped, then add some tahini and salt and pulse an additional 2 to 3 times. Add the garlic and cheese, pulse 2 times. With the food processor running, slowly add the oil to blend, this should take 1 minute.
Be careful to not over pulse or puree, or you'll end up with a brown liquid instead of a bright green pesto.

Pork:
Butterfly the pork. (see video and hints below)
Because the meat was still thick for me, I covered to top with plastic wrap and grabbed a mallet and tried to thin it out a bit.
Open the pork loin and season both sides with salt and pepper. 
Even spread the pesto, leaving a 2-inch border on all sides.
Sprinkle with feta and top with spinach. Roll tightly lengthwise.
With butchers twine, tie several knots around the stuffed loins, 4 to 5 times, to ensure even cooking.
Season the outside of the pork loin on all sides with a bit of salt and pepper.
Place your "log" on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake for 35-35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Here are some tips on how to butterfly a pork loin from Wiki How.
If you don't know how to butterfly a pork loin, watch this video from the National Pork Board and all will be explained.


Stay hungry my friend!