After seeing an episode of America's Test Kitchen, in which they prepared grilled stuffed pork loin, I have been eager to stuff a pork loin in some form. On the show, they prepared a cranberry apple mixture, citing that many fillings were bland. On their weblink, an option for an apple and cherry mixture was also presented with both having options for gas or charcoal grills. The complexity and time involved served as a deterrent to their recipe. I was excited to find a shorter version (supposedly) in the New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook entitled Stuffed Pork Loin.
In this recipe, the goal was to cut halfway through the thickness of a 1 1/2" (roughly 4 cm) thick slice of pork loin, stopping just short of slicing the meat in half. I sliced to the border to the fatty layer. This created a pocket for the filling. The loin pocket was filled with a mixture of cooked apples, fontina cheese, sage, and crumbled bacon. The outside of the slice was lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and the pocket was closed using toothpicks. After pan cooking each side for about 1 minute, the slices were transferred to a 9 x 13 pan and baked for 30 minutes. TaDa!
Assessment: The meat smelled wonderful. Ruthann emphatically liked the recipe and declared it a definite repeat. She thought the pork needed no salt due to the rest of the flavors and I agreed with that. I thought it was fun (although a little time taxing) to put together but I found the flavor underwhelming. It just tasted like pork and sage. While I wouldn't hesitate to make something similar in the future, I'd definitely opt for a different filling. One note that America's Test Kitchen mentioned was that the pork could overpower the filling when sliced in half. They preferred to cut near the edge but sliced the section into thirds rather than half. They followed by rolling the filled meat back together and tying it up with cooking twine. I've looked for cooking/butcher's twine around here but have yet to find it. I think the option of cranberries could improve the flavor and that the sage should be significantly reduced, if included. Consistent with the previous recipe, "prep time" does not include preparation of the ingredients as listed above the recipe. If using the recipe be prepared to have two people prepping, an extended preparation time, or a magical fairy which preps your ingredients! :)
Be sure to check out Fabulously Fun Food for Mel's view on this recipe!