Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spinach and Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Loin

Summer is here!  I feel like this year has really flown by.  I'm definitely going to miss my students, but I'm also looking forward to some time to relax, enjoy being preggers, and getting the house prepared for a little one to take over!  With the increase in free time, I'm also looking forward to trying out some new recipes and experimenting.  I've never been a huge fan of pork because if it isn't done correctly, it can be really dry.  I've found that by stuffing it, though, you can add lots of flavor and keep it very tender!  Here's one experiment that went well:

Spinach and Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Loin  

* 1 boneless pork loin (3-5 lbs)
* 3/4 cup frozen chopped spinach
* 3/4 cup goat cheese (optional)
* 1 Tbs. dried oregano
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 cup onion, diced
* 1 Tbs. butter/bacon fat

First, I wanted to start off by making the "stuffing." I used bacon grease as my fat to get the whole thing going.  I added in the onions and the garlic and sauteed them until they got nice and soft.  Then, I added in the spinach and let everything mix together.

While the "stuffing" was cooking, I butterflied the pork loin.  It wasn't too hard to do, but it allows you to really get an even layer of pork so it all cooks relatively evenly.  If you don't know how to do it,  Here's a video on how to butterfly a pork loin. 

So here's the pork loin after I butterflied it.  I also took a mallet and pounded it out a bit to make sure it as even as it could get.  I then sprinkled both sides with salt, pepper, and the garlic powder just to give it some flavor.

Next, I added the goat cheese.  Now, I know that cheese isn't paleo, however, I'm following Chris Kresser's The Healthy Baby Code and according to that, dairy is good :)  I just eat full fat, grass fed dairy.  If, however, you don't do well with dairy, then just skip this part.

Next, I put the spinach mixture layer right on top of the goat cheese.  It was starting to look good!

Very carefully, I rolled the pork loin up into a nice little oblong bundle.  After that, I tightly wrapped the whole thing in plastic wrap to help it keep its shape and let all the flavors meld together.  Also, I didn't have time to cook it that night, so I just let it sit overnight.   


The next night, I unwrapped the pork loin and tied it up. 


You probably don't need to do this step, but I did just because i didn't want to risk cooking the roast and have it all unravel, leaving a sloppy mess on the baking pan.

I had preheated the oven to 350, so when it was ready, I put the whole roast on a roasting pan.  You could probably just put it on a regular baking pan, but when you lift the roast up so the air can circulate underneath the roast, it cooks more evenly and you get a little color and crispness on the bottom too (which is something I like).

I baked it for about 45 minutes.  I wanted it to be cooked all the way through without being dry.

I let the whole thing rest for about 10 minutes so the juices would all redistribute.  Then, I took a nice, sharp knife (I just bought a great new set!! YAY!!!) and cut a few slices.

So here they are!  They looked so pretty and they tasted great too!  There was already a bit of spinach in them already, so I served them with some broccoli as a side.  The whole thing was yummy... it had flavor and wasn't dry.  It's definitely a keeper!  I also liked the technique because it kept everything tender and there are so many options!



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