Simply put, last night was fabulous. I was worried I wouldn't have enough food, but that was ridiculous because I came home with a crapload of leftovers. I'll be feeding myself this meal for the rest of the week! There were 8 of us altogether, and the company was great.
My organization paid off and cooking the actual meal went very smoothly and almost seemed too easy.
So, let's start off with the main star of the show, the spiral cut, sausage-stuffed, bacon latticed pork loin roast.
I had made the stuffing the night before, and here is what I used:
6 mild Italian sausages, casings removed (it payed to ask the butcher at LOGS exactly what was in the sausage as flavouring, and it turned out that it was just salt, pepper, and garlic - perfect)
1 onion, finely diced
about a cup of whole cranberries
about a cup of maple pecans (thanks to Jodi's parcel!)
I boiled the sausage meat and drained off all the liquid in a colander. Then I sauteed the onion, added the sausage to brown it, then added the nuts & cranberries.
I have a TON of this left over. I made way too much and only used about 1/3 of the amount for my one pork loin roast. Not sure what I'm going to do with the rest. I'll freeze it for sure, and I thought of stuffing a whole chicken with it...
The next morning, I assembled the pork loin roast. Spiral cutting this sucker wasn't fun, mainly because of the odd shape of the roast: it was kind of oblong. Dave's blog said to keep the knife parallel with the counter and slice as if you were peeling an apple. This seemed simple enough in my mind, but the reality was a bit different. It was quite tricky and I think I really bungled it up. You can see the result in the upper right photo in the collage. At one point, I even cut through the roast to the outside, and I though that would be disastrous when it came to stuffing that sucker, but the cut was in the right place and wound up on top in the end. So, once it was as flat as I could get it, I put the stuffing at one end and topped that with sliced mozzarella cheese.
The trickiness wasn't over yet! Now I had to roll this up and that wasn't easy as the stuffing kept falling out. I eventually just folded the flap of mean over the filling and tucking it under. That worked fine, and then it was time to truss, truss baby.
This was also tricky. I am not an expert trusser by any stretch of the imagination. The roast was too big for my silicone trussing thingies, so I had to use butcher's twine.After that, I seasoned the roast with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Next came the really fun stuff: the bacon lattice! This was fiddly, but luckily not too difficult as I've made lattice top pies. Same principle applies when making a bacon lattice. This took one and a half pounds of bacon and wasn't big enough to cover the entire roast. The spots that remained uncovered I just wound with bacon, not doing more lattice work, and decided that that wouldn't be my presentation side. But the top of the roast looked quite impressive when I was done. I secured the lattice at both ends with toothpicks. Then I wrapped the whole shabang in plastic wrap, put it in a pan, and threw it in the fridge until I was ready to take it to Jem & Shan's to roast for dinner (the dinner was at their place; I don't have enough room to entertain a group of 8).
So, at Jem & Shan's, I got out a roasting pan, oiled it, and threw the roast into it, then into a 350F oven. Shan & I estimated it would take at least an hour and a half. After an hour it was looking and smelling really good, at that point, I put in my electronic probe thermometer with alert on to dingle when it reached an internal temperature of 170F. I let it rest for 20 minutes while I finished up other things that were on the go at the same time.
Here it is - finished!
And here it is on a platter, after I sliced it:
The meat was tender and juicy and perfectly cooked. It was well seasoned and the flavours were excellent. Everyone was thrilled with the results. The previous night, Jem & Shan had had a friend come over and cook a meal for them, too, and coincidentally enough, this friend had also made a stuffed pork loin roast. He had made a really nice sauce for it that was pan drippings, white wine, pureed shallots and pureed apples...It was so good. We just added my pan drippings to that and a bit more wine and served it my pork loin! It was perfect. Incredible, actually.
Thanks to both Dave and Chris for inspiring this dish! You guys are awesome! While I couldn't BBQ this, I will have to try that when BBQ season is back, because that would definitely have taken this to the next level!
Here is the entire meal on my plate:Tomorrow, I'll post about my side dishes and dessert!
Full Flickr set here.