This past weekend I had every intention of doing this dish, except that I spend it running around doing errands and Saturday dinner turned into pizza.
Instead I decided, I would do it for Sunday’s dinner.
Sunday came and went and back in the refrigerator everything went. But, I made a mental vow that I was going to do this for our Monday night dinner no matter what.
I had doubts that this was going to work out for a quick meal, but once more, I realized that there is always a way. And in less than 1 hour, I had it on the table for us to dig in.
I took a lot of liberty with the original recipe, mainly because there were a couple of ingredients that I did not like, I’m looking at you prune, and while (as some of you know) I’m not a fan of cooked fruit in desserts, I’m more open to them when they are used in savory dishes. I scratched those prunes for apples and added leeks and green onions to the stuffing.
I also replaced the molasses for brown sugar and upon closer inspection of my well stocked liquor cabinet realized that I did not have Madeira wine. So, I used Calvados, which is an apple brandy and figure it would work. When I tasted the glazed, I realized it was a bit sweet and needed a bit of acidity kick, and after looking at my marinates, I added sour orange juice.
All in all the whole fly-by-the-seat of your pants worked. The other big change up was with the pork. The pork loin was super pricey, and I opted in getting individual pork loin chops, the thick cut, so I could still roll them up around the stuffing. It totally worked.
FRUIT STUFFED PORK LOIN
Inspired by “The Silver Palate Cookbook” by Sheila Lukins and Julie Rosso
Makes 4 portions
- 4 boneless pork loin chops – think cut, so you can butterfly
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoon of butter
- 1 cup of chopped leek
- ¼ cup of chopped green onion
- 1 apple, cored and cut in small pieces
- 5-6 dried apricots, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 cup Calvados Apple brandy
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of sour orange sauce
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
In a saucepan, on medium high heat, warm the olive oil and butter together, add the leek, green onion (season with a bit of salt), then when they are translucent, add the apple and apricots and cook and toss around until al dente, about 2-3 minutes of cooking (make sure the apple is not super soft and they still have a bit of a bite to them). Add some of the fresh thyme, season with salt and pepper, toss around a bit and remove from the heat and let it cool for a bit.
Spread the stuffing in a thin, even layer over the seasoned side of each of the pork chops and roll up tightly. Bind crosswise at 1-inch intervals with butcher’s twine. Season the surface with salt and pepper. Tip! I had about ¼ cup of leftover stuffing that I use to cover the bottom of the baking dish.
Stir the calvados brandy, brown sugar and sour orange together in a small bowl and set aside.
Using the same saucepan that you cooked the stuffing with, you are now going to sear the stuffed chops. Again melt some butter and olive oil and then when it’s hot, place the chops and let it sear all around. Make sure each has nice color all around.
Set the seared chops in a shallow baking pan. Sprinkle with the thyme, and pour the calvados/sugar/orange glaze. Set the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake basting frequently, it should take about 15 minutes of cooking.
When the pork loins are is done, remove them from the oven and let it stand, loosely covered with foil for 5 minutes. Cut into thin slices, arrange slices on a serving platter and spoon pan juices over them.
I served mine with some parmessan mashed potatoes and we ended up feeling all fancy for our Monday night dinner.
The flavors were spot on, the sweetness of the apples and the sour orange gave it the right balance. The only downfall was that I overcooked my chops a bit too much, so I made a note to adjust the cooking time to about 15 minutes in order to make sure they did not dry out.