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NomNomNom – Stuffed Loin of Pork

As I posted a couple of weeks back, I decided to do NomNomNom again, this time teamed up with Melanie Seasons of OmNomLondon. When discussing the division of labour for the day we decided that I would be entrusted with the burning of meat to make our centre piece and after some researching around on the internets we found a recipe on the BBC website and settled on a Loin of Pork stuffed with Apricots and Pine nuts. Before the day I had a couple of practise attempts (with a loin and a rolled shoulder, with the loin winning on ease of cooking and taste) but the recipe didn’t change much between start and finish.

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  • 1kg boned pork loin, butterflied
  • 1/2 a medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2tbsp chopped sage
  • 2tbsp fresh thyme
  • 30g crumbled bread
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 10 dried apricots, chopped

Firstly I gently fried off the onion with some of the sage and thyme, until it was very soft and translucent. I then combined it with the bread (the inside of a fresh french stick made into breadcrumbs as best as I could) apricots and pine nuts. This mixed together into a fairly dry stuffing which I added a little seasoning to.

On the day we got our piece of pork from The Ginger Pig and the butcher boned and butterflied the loin for us. However, he also recommended that we didn’t stuff it as I had done in my experiments (simply dumping the mixture onto the butterflied pork before rolling it up, as seen in the piccy above) and cut a small pocket in the meat which we filled with our stuffing. This meant that nothing fell out during the cooking and everything looked prettier on serving. I then rolled it up and tied it with string (I used cocktail sticks to hold it together in my experiments but the nice butcher also threw a small ball of string into our bag, along with the ribs that he had removed when preparing our joint – I had them roasted for my dinner…they were very nice).

To aid the creation of crackling (the most important bit of most porky dishes in my opinion) the butcher scored the skin while preparing it. I then thoroughly dried the top, rubbed it down with salt and olive oil before sprinkling some more big sea salt crystals on top along with the remains of they thyme and sage, and a few good grinds of pepper. It went into the oven at 250°C for about 30 minutes before cooking for a further 30 at 160°C and finishing at 200°C for 20 minutes (unintended but fortunate as it really helped the crackling). It came out pretty much perfect, although maybe slightly under done. I cut a slice for the judges and finished it off in a pan to ensure that it was cooked all the way though, leaving the rest to rest, during which it did finish cooking – the perils of cooking to a time limit with only a vague plan.

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The crackling was great, really crispy and flavoursome, but the pork was maybe a little dry – some fruity gravy to go along with our peas and creamed leeks would have made it perfect.

We didn’t win, that honour going to Rachel and Danny – Pilluelo and the Catalan Queen, but there was some rather good food knocking around for us to dig into afterwards. Plans are already afoot for next year…

Ta muchly to Annie Mole and The Cookery School for looking after us (especially the lovely Marcella, who put up with me being frantic in a kitchen for a second year running, and the guy who cleaned up the wall that I covered in stewed gooseberries when I dropped a bowl) and to all the lovely people who loaded us down with goodies when we left.

There’s also a post over on my booze blog about our dessert…

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