This dish is a tender pork loin stuffed with an assortment of herbs and fruits including, apples, apricots, peaches, mangos, cranberries, pears, prunes and pineapple sautéed in an orange butter sauce and glazed with a combination of preserves and dried fruits. I like to prepare pork in a variety of ways, sometimes in our traditional family style of Porchetta or sometimes stuffed with various Italian cold cuts, stuffing or spinach. And usually I top the roast with an herb rub and sometimes a glaze of peach or apricot preserves. Our relatives in Italy have orchards and orchards of apricot and fig trees and we have always loved eating them fresh or dried. In looking for a variation on a stuffing for the pork, I decided to mix a few fresh fruits and added this to a combination of dried fruits. Hence this recipe was born. I have made it many times for both small and large groups and it has always been well received. The result is a very tender, succulent and delicious variation of traditionally stuffed pork. The fruit is tender, but not overpowering and the taste is fragrant herbs with a touch of sweetness. Apples and pork are a good combination, most restaurants serve applesauce with pork. This recipe just takes the apple theme a little bit further. Although I have added measurements for your benefit, I have never measured the fruits or the herbs; I just use a mixture in amounts that look appropriate for the dish and the number of people I am serving. This recipe has many steps and can be time consuming, it is not a dish you will prepare often, but one that when served is well worth the effort.
INGREDIENTS for Pork and Stuffing:
INGREDIENTS for Glaze:
In a mixing bowl add the peeled, cored and sliced apples, peaches, pineapple chunks and mangos. Add the juice of one lemon (reserve the rind) and about a cup or so of orange juice. Mix well to coat the fruit. In a saucepan, heat olive oil and a couple of tablespoons of butter (you may have to add a bit more butter depending on the volume of the fruit). Add the fruit mixture and to this add the ½ cup dried whole peaches, 1 cup dried apricots and the cranberries (if dried, add these once the apples and peaches are firm but tender – if the cranberries are fresh, sauté them in a little water to cook them and soften them before adding them to the sautéing fruit mixture). Sautee the fruit until the apples are tender but still very firm keeping their shape. Do not overcook the fruit. When completed set aside to cool down.
PREPARE THE PORK LOIN: Start with a 5- 7 pound whole pork loin. Turn the loin upside down so the fat side is on the cutting surface. Then cut the pork down the middle lengthwise careful to leave at least an inch or so from the going through the loin. Then taking each side individually gradually slice into the meat sideways to further open and filet the pork being careful to not cut too deep, keep this going on both sides until the end result is a pork loin that is one long flat piece that can be prepared, stuffed and then rolled.
PREPARE THE HERBS: Take several sprigs of the fresh rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram. Remove the stems and mince or blend in a processor with 5-6 cloves of fresh garlic and about 1/3 cup of olive oil. This will make an herb paste that you can spread over the flattened pork loin before adding the fruit filling. Reserve a small amount of this to spread over the top of the pork once is it stuffed and rolled.
PREPARE GLAZE: In a saucepan heat some butter, add the peach, apricot and cranberry (or cherry) preserves and the orange juice. Heat and stir constantly. Add the diced peach and apricots and the whole apricots. Sauté, the apricots and peaches will become tender and the texture of the glaze will become loose. I also add a handful of mixed dried fruits, including prunes and pears and sometimes chunks of fresh pineapple. This dish is a lot of fun to prepare. I hope you enjoy it too.
ASSEMBLE THE PORK: On the inside of the loin, rub salt and pepper and if you like a healthy sprinkling of garlic salt or powder, then spread the minced herb and garlic mixture reserving a small amount that you can rub over the rolled pork loin. Then lay the stuffing along the center of the pork loin. Roll the pork bringing both sides up and covering the stuffing. Secure with bamboo or steel skewers. You can tie with butchers twine but I prefer to secure with short thick bamboo skewers or steel skewers, they are easier to remove when the meat is glazed and cooked. Spray a roasting pan with cooking spray. Place the pork, seam side down in the center of the roasting pan. Pat the outside of the loin with a light drizzle of olive oil and the reserved herb garlic mixture. On either side of the loin, place slices of apples (cores and peels left on), orange wedges (skins left on), lemon slices and place in the pan. I also place a few of the mango skins and the mango pit as well as a few slices of peaches and pears and pineapple with the skins on. Slice the onion and place in the pan. I often add a carrot with skin on that has been washed and cut into thirds and a couple of celery stalks that have been cut into thirds. Add some orange juice and water, and if you like you can dissolve chicken bouillon in the water or add some chicken stock, enough to cover the bottom of the pan and about 1/3 of the bottom of the roast. Make an herb bouquet with the rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram and tie with butcher twine. Add this to the pan with the fruits and juice. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cover the pork and place in the oven at this heat for about ½ hour. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to roast the pork for about 2 hours removing the foil about half way through. During this time you should frequently check and baste the pork with its own juices. You may need to add additional water to the pan, check frequently. Check the pork with a meat thermometer to be sure that it is cooked. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the pork and thickness. This pork will cook much quicker than one that is not filleted and stuffed.
Once the pork is cooked remove from the pan to another pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray and transfer some of the juice to line the bottom of the pan. Be careful not to lose any of the stuffing during the transfer. If you prefer you can leave the pork in the same pan with the juices, and fruits and skins and then glaze and roast uncovered to brown the top and set the glaze. Use a brush to spread the glaze or you can ladle the glaze over the pork. Make sure that some nice slices of apricots and chunks of fruit are over the top of the roast. You may have to glaze the pork several times as it is browning in order to get a nice roasted finish. Then when the meat is cooked, nicely roasted and the glaze set you can transfer the roast to your serving platter so that it can rest a bit before carving. If you want a simple sauce to go with the pork you can do the following: Once the pork is removed from the pan, place the roasting pan with all the skins, fruits and juices back in the oven and cook at high heat to caramelize just a bit, this should not take long and you want to make sure there is plenty of juice and the skins do not burn, add water before returning to the oven if you have to. Remove from the oven and set aside and then strain all the skins and pits from the juices and discard them saving only the juice that is a mixture of fruit juices, veggies and herbs. In a saucepan, heat the juices and then add some light cream or ½ & ½ blending it in well with a whisk; this makes a delicious light sauce to pour over the meat. When you are ready to carve the pork you will see that each slice will have a beautiful centerpiece of fruit.