Beautiful tenderloin of pork was on sale at the butcher this past weekend, and it’s a favourite of ours because it is low in saturated fats (compared to other cuts of pork). I trim off all of the excess fat, to minimize the calories, but you can do as you wish.
Here is an interesting note for Canadians buying supermarket meat (not sure if the same is true in the U.S. or E.U.) that I learned through working for the design firm specializing in food packaging. If a piece of meat says that it is “seasoned” it does not mean that it has spices on it. It means that it has been ‘plumped’ with water, sodium phosphate and salt. They say they do this to retain moisture but in reality, if you cook the product properly, you should have a moist and delicious piece of meat. They do it to make the meat look bigger and plumper. You will also notice that the label, by law, will indicate the meat protein percentage. For example, a similar plumped loin of pork will say “minimum 18% meat protein”. In addition, if you’ve ever bought this type of product, you will notice that when you cook it, it shrinks incredibly, and that is because it is plumped and the liquid cooks out of it, leaving you with the 18% meat protein. It kinda grosses me out. Even when I didn’t know this fact, I usually stayed away from a “seasoned” product as I would usually want to season it myself with my own herbs and spices. Strange but true.
This recipe is really quite simple: meat, cheese, tomatoes, black olives, garlic, lemon thyme, lemon rind and butcher’s twine. Oh, OK, I’ll write it out for you.
Mediterranean Stuffed Loin of Pork
Serves 4 (we used two portions for dinner and two for lunch the following day).
- 400-600g pork loin (not seasoned)
- Handful of crumbled feta (I would have used John’s home made feta, if we lived close-by)
- Handful of black olives (I used a mix of Kalamata and sun dried olives)
- Handful of sun dried tomatoes (I used dried, but you can use the ones in olive oil)
- 1 tbsp lemon thyme
- 1 tsp lemon rind
- 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Get the stuffing ingredients prepared first. Pit the olives and cut in half. Crumble the feta and gently mix in the lemon rind and lemon thyme. Slice the sun dried tomatoes into thin slices.
- Now for the meat: remove all sinew and fat from pork. Cut down the centre but not all the way through; try to cut the pork so the thickness is relatively even.
- Spread pork out flat and rub the garlic into it.
- Add the sun dried tomatoes, olives and feta. Press the feta down to help it stick to the other ingredients. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Roll up the sides so that the stuffing stays put in the middle. Wrap butchers’ twine around it, nothing fancy, you just want to hold the sides in place so it cooks wrapped and keeps its shape when sliced.
- Heat a cast iron pan on the stove with a little oil. Sear the pork on all sides. Place the pan and pork into the hot oven and bake for about 30 minutes. The inner temperature of the meat should be 150-160°F, depending on how well done you enjoy your pork.
- Remove from oven and allow the pork to sit covered for 10 minutes. Slice into 2cm thick slices.
- Serve on greens or with a starch. Enjoy.