When we bought pork loin a week ago, I already had a recipe in mind. I had a name for it too. Bacon-studded rolled pork loin. The loin will be butterflied and pounded to a thickness between a quarter of an inch and half an inch. Salt and pepper will be sprinkled on the entire surface. Chopped sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, onion flakes and oregano will be spread on the meat which will then be rolled. After browning in the pan, the rolled pork will go into the oven. When done, the meat will be sliced into rings to expose the filling.
And that was exactly how the bacon-stuffed pork loin was prepped and cooked. Except that I didn’t do any of the work. Alex volunteered to do it. Through the door that separates the kitchen from my home office, between editing photos, I was giving her instructions. The girl goes to culinary school so minimal supervision was necessary. She knew exactly what I had in mind and she did a good job executing my idea. I must say, we make a good team.
Because the slab of pork loin was rather large, she cut it into two portions. We had one for dinner last night and the remaining one for lunch today.
To serve the bacon-stuffed rolled pork loin, I prepared a simple salad with baby arugula and cherry tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette and garnished with feta.
Bacon-stuffed Rolled Pork Loin
- 1 kilogram pork loin (blade loin, center loin or sirloin but NOT tenderloin)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil finely chopped
- 200 grams belly bacon chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup onion flakes (available in groceries)
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano dried
- 1/4 cup cooking oil
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Rinse the pork loin and dry with a kitchen towel.
Lay the pork loin flat with one long side on your right (or left if you're left-handed). Lightly pressing the top with one hand, cut the pork horizontally in the middle without going all the way through. Just like splitting a bun.
Turn the pork loin so that the cut side is on your right (or left if you're left handed). Again pressing the top lightly with one hand, cut through the upper half horizontally (going in the opposite direction of the first cut) again without going all the way through. Do the same with the lower half.
Pull the pork loin open. You should now have a larger but thinner slab of pork. Place a sheet of cling film over it. Pound with a mallet so that the meat is of uniform thickness. Somewhere between 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick is good.
Discard the cling film. Rub the salt and pepper all over the surface of the pork (not on the underside though).
Mix together the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, minced garlic and oregano. Spread on the pork.
Starting with one long end of the meat, roll it away from you as tightly as you can until the filling is enclosed. You may optionally divide the rolled pork into two portions at this point.
Take a sheet of aluminum foil and wrap the rolled pork in it. If you divided the rolled pork into two portions, wrap them in foil separately.
Heat the cooking oil in a frying pan. Drop in the foil-wrapped rolled pork and sear on all sides. Alex learned this in culinary school. Searing without loss of moisture. It is, of course, optional. But it is more convenient than tying up the rolled pork with twine and browning it.
Unwrap the rolled pork and transfer to a rack positioned over a baking pan. If you seared the meat sufficiently, it will not unroll when unwrapped. Bake at 400F for about 45 minutes.
Take the bacon-stuffed rolled pork out of the oven. Cover loosely with foil and rest for 15 minutes.
Slice the rolled pork into half-inch rings. Serve with your favorite salad.
Tips you shouldn't ignore. :)
First, this is not pork tenderloin. This is the kind of loin one would use to make roast pork. It can be blade loin, center loin or sirloin. I leave it to you to choose which kind of loin to use. Note, though, that the ideal loin should have a thin layer of fat on one side. When the pork goes into the oven, it is positioned so that the surface with the fat is on top. As it melts, the fat will drip into the lean meat to help keep it moist. It will also give the rolled pork loin better color because fat browns better than lean meat.
Second, use fatty bacon for the stuffing. You won't get lovely flavors from fatless bacon.
Third, sun-dried tomatoes soaked in olive oil is preferred. The oil plus the bacon fat moisten the inside of the rolled pork and help keep the meat succulent.
Fourth, and this is where we made a mistake, this bacon-stuffed pork loin is best sliced and served after resting for fifteen minutes. Apparently, keeping the rolled pork in the fridge overnight, even if tightly wrapped and sealed, results in loss of juices. The one we had for dinner last night was much more moist than the one we had for lunch today.
If you love stuffed rolled meat, try these too.
Rolled porkloin with bacon, basil and rosemary – The stuffing consists of diced belly bacon, chopped onions and dried basil and rosemary.
So simple to make but the flavors are just wonderful. The bonus is that, served sliced, it’s so pretty that it rightly belongs on a dinner table set for a special occasion like noche buena.
Rolled pork loin stuffed with garlic, onion, basil and tomatoes – Following the same basic recipe for the rolled porkloin with bacon, basil and rosemary, I did another rolled porkloin dish but, this time, the stuffing was more basic — chopped garlic, onion and tomatoes.
The seasonings were just as basic — salt and pepper. Because basil tastes so good with tomatoes and garlic, I added some basil too.
Pork morcon – Alex’s version of pork morcon was delicious! After stuffing the pork cutlets, she dredged the pork rolls in flour, fried them then added teriyaki sauce.
The flour on the surface of the pork rolls thickened the teriyaki sauce and made it cling to the pork rolls better. And, inside, the vegetables remained lightly crisp. Beautiful, beautiful textures in this dish.
Grilled pork tenderloin stuffed with sausages and cheese – I had two whole pork tenderloins, some Chinese sausages, a variety of cheeses and fresh herbs in the garden. And I made use of all of them (well, just one of the two pork tenderloins) and cooked this rolled and stuffed pork loin.
You can substitute just about any kind of sausage (I think that Spanish chorizo will taste better with the tarragon) and hard cheese as well. You can also use another kind of herb. Just go with whatever combination of herb-sausage-cheese you like best.