People have a strong reaction when they hear a recipe that has prunes in it. A lot of people won’t even try it, being that the prune reputation has lent itself to be ignored. However, I came across this recipe on the Food Network a while back and Michelle, Sean and I have had it several times and we all really like it, even the prunes. Just be willing to give it a try and you won’t be disappointed. A word about this recipe: you need to prepare the stuffing hours in advance, so make sure you remember to do that the day you decide to make it.
Apple and Prune Stuffed Pork Loin
Extra virgin olive oil
4 slices of bacon, diced
1 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1/2 cup prunes, quartered
2 springs fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped, divided
1/2 cup brandy
1 (3 to 4 pound) boneless pork loin
1 cup chicken stock
Coat a large saute pan lightly with olive oil. Add the bacon and bring the pan to medium heat. When the bacon is crispy and has released a lot of fat, add the onions and season with salt. Cook the onions until they are soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the apples, prunes, and half of the chopped rosemary. Cook the apples, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Pull the pan off the heat and add the brandy. Return to the fire and flambe, or let the alcohol burn off (I didn’t flambe, and don’t recommend doing it unless you’ve done it before and have a big enough kitchen to do it). Remove from the heat and let cool thoroughly.
Lay out a length of plastic wrap about 2 feet in length. Spoon the apple mixture onto the plastic and make a log down the center that is about the same length as the pork loin. Roll the plastic tightly around the apple mixture and twist at the ends to secure. The log should be about 1 inch in diameter. Place the log in the freezer and let it freeze solid. This should be done ahead of time. (Ideally, do it overnight if you can. I did it for 6 hours today and it was frozen, but not solid).
To stuff the pork, insert a long, thin knife into the center of one end of the pork loin; repeat the process at the other end. Wiggle the knife back and forth to create a place big enough to accommodate the frozen stuffing. After cutting with the knife, you can use the handle of a long, wooden spoon to make sure the incision goes all the way through the pork loin. (I actually butterflied the pork loin,placed the log in the center, and then tied the pork loin with twine. To me this was easier and more efficient, especially since the log wasn’t frozen solid).
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the outside of the pork loin generously with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the remaining rosemary. Coat a roasting pan with olive oil and bring the pan to a high heat. Add the pork to the pan and sear it on all sides until it is brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the pork from the roasting pan and pour off the fat in the pan. Add the pork back into the pan and pour in the chicken stock. Place the pork in the oven and roast for 40 to 50 minutes, depending on how you like your pork.
I served the pork with the leftover rice from last night, some steamed green beans, and a little bit of the extra stuffing I had left from the stuffing log. It was all very delicious! Since tomorrow night is Saturday, we are going to have a Snack Night for dinner. This is one of Sean’s favorite meals (well it’s not really a meal I guess, but we’ll call it that), so check back tomorrow to see what we’re making. It promises to be some interesting choices! Until then, enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!