Tag Archives: holiday

Christmas 2014 – Rosemary Sage Garlic Stuffed Pork

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2014-12-24 20.02.28

Merry Chrisma-hanna-kwanzaa, my friends! I am writing to you from sunny Florida, jittery from the delicacy that is free hotel continental breakfast “homemade” waffles. Before I go any further, if any of you celebrate Kwanzaa, can you explain to me how your holiday meals were passed down? As my roommate and I tried planning a holiday fest that welcomed all winter holidays, Pinterest suggested that the “traditional” Kwanzaa meals included southern mac ‘n’ cheese, fried chicken, Gina Neely’s collard greens, and sweet potato pie. While I realize the holiday’s origins are in the US to commemorate the African heritage of African Americans, I’m curious if there are any dishes families actually make that are traced back to their African roots. Just some questions for you all…

This year, my Christmas was more adult that ever – we didn’t even open presents until 3 pm on Christmas day and skipped the crazy Christmas Eve masses for a quieter one on Christmas morning. I had a wonderful time in the presence of my closest friends and family and wanted to serve them the best dishes possible for their holidays!

Traditionally, my family has served rosemary crusted lamb chops for Christmas Eve, yet we never seem to find chops with enough meat on them from the butcher. This year, I thought a stuffed pork loin might be comparable and fulfill all the shortcomings of the lamb chop – tender, juicy meat that goes well with the same herby, garlic crust we like on the lamb. Turns out nobody on the internet had exactly what I had in mind. I really wanted to have the pork stuffed and rolled in a spiral so you could see all the pretty herbs on the inside, and I wanted to marinate it for at least 8 hours to ensure the flavors soaked in completely.

Thanks to all of you who helped me with your recipe recommendations! Here are some of the best ones that were recommended to me that influenced this recipe!

Katie’s Rosemary Sage Garlic Stuffed Pork for the holidays

Serves 10-12

1 5 lb boneless pork loin, not too fatty

8-10 cloves of garlic, minced

1/3 cup chopped rosemary

1/4-1/3 cup chopped sage

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

1.5 TBS dijon mustard

2 TBS olive oil

4 slices of bacon

1 1/2 TBS kosher salt

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup chicken broth

kitchen twine or white sewing thread if you don’t have any twine

1. Prepping the pork loin: To ensure the maximum flavor richness and moisture, the best thing is to marinate the pork in the morning or the night before you’re going to cook it. This will also help if you’re pressed for time at night making other dishes and want to make it easier on yourself 🙂 Rinse the pork off if it’s in plastic packaging, and pat dry with some paper towels (getting it dry will help ensure the pork gets crispy). Here’s the best video I could find for butterflying a pork loin in thirds, but I can explain briefly as well. If you watch that video , skip to 1:13 for the important stuff. Also make sure to listen to T-swift jammin.

You want to make this big rectangle so that you’re able to roll up the pork and seal in the herbs. If you’re facing the short end of the pork you want to cut along the width of the pork so that it will open up like a book. We want to cut it twice so you’ll triple the width of the pork. Start cutting from the opposite short end of the pork to the bottom and the point you’ll pick is where you’ve cut about a third of the height of the pork. So, 2/3 of the pork is still together and we’ll cut that part in half in a minute. Cut the pork from the right into the center until it looks like a book and you’ve cut almost all the way through the spine. At this point, start from the “spine” and cut the 2/3 portion of the pork that’s still together in half so you’ve formed like a tri-fold poster board (for all you science fair experts). Here you are! If I’ve confused you thoroughly, watch the video above a few times.

Cover the pork with plastic wrap while prepping the herbs.

2. Chop up your herbs and garlic. The herbs dont have to be perfectly minced or anything, just not so big that you’d take a huge bite out of a rosemary stem. For the garlic, I minced it and then used the side of my knife to crush the garlic into a sort of paste. this can help get more of the flavors out of the garlic. For the pine nuts, I toasted them briefly then chopped them lightly.

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3. Mix your herbs, garlic, salt, pepper flakes and black pepper, olive oil, mustard, and pine nuts in a small bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Try to press them together with the back of your spoon to make the whole mixture meld together.

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4. Take the plastic wrap off of the pork and start massaging the herby mixture onto the pork (yea we’re getting graphic here). If you think it looks a bit dry, drizzle some olive oil over the pork and press it all into the pork.

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5. If you have somebody around, this is the part where it’s helpful to have help!! The same way that you cut the pork is the way to roll it up. Starting from left to right, roll the pork into a log, making sure your stuffing stays inside. Once you’ve rolled the log tightly, use twine or thread to tie the roll together. I used about 5 pieces of twine and knotted at the top after rolling the log up.

6. Drizzle some olive oil on the outside of the pork and coat with any leftover filling, salt , and pepper. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator either overnight or at least 8 hours before ready to cook.

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7. One to two hours before cooking the pork, take it out of the refrigerator to let the meat come to room temperature. Get your bacon out and drape over the top of the pork (this was a game time decision for me and such a good call). I cut the pieces of bacon in half.

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8. Heat the oven to 450. Place pork in a roasting pan and place in the oven. We’re getting a crust on the pork before dropping the temp to cook the inside. Roast at 450 for about 10 minutes then drop the temperature down to 350. Make sure not to cook too long at 450 or the bacon will burn. Add the chicken broth to the pan to keep the pork moist. Bake at 350 for 60-75 minutes, or until a meat thermometer stuck in the middle of the pork registers 145 degrees.

9. Take pork out of the oven and cover lightly with aluminum foil for 20 minutes. This will seal in all the juices. Slice into coins/rounds and serve!!!

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Joyeux Noel!

our delicious potato galette sides…

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Samosas Round 2: Lamb, Sweet Potato, and Pea Samosas

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So I ate a REALLY GOOD lamb samosa from a package yesterday and was so curious about how I could re-create the hearty spice of a lamb samosa mixed with the richness of a sweet potato. I’ve seen a few sweet potato + lamb recipes before, but really, I adapted a strictly lamb-based samosa to create these as my parsnip samosas came out a little too sweet for my liking last time.

Keep your eyes peeled for the first video post in the works! This is my first try so stay patient with me here. Ok I love these samosas because they are very forgiving. I started with happyyolk’s referenced Saveur recipe for the dough after trying a healthier one last time. For a baked samosa, you’re not going to get much better than this. The dough is not super flakey like a galette kind of dough, but it has just enough butter to give it enough flake to have a crunch to it. If you’re not frying these babies, then that’s the closest you’re gonna get.

There’s a methodology to this madness guys. Don’t put yourself in a cook vs. baker category. We can do both here. Get the dough right and you’ll be much more confident experimenting with the filling. Besides, I told you already, there’s butter in this dough, so if you are lacking a little flavor in the filling, you still got the butter going for ya.

Are you one of those people that wants a filling-ish appetizer? I am. I need one of these meat and potato pockets to keep myself going until dinner-time. Whatever time you eat these, they are a good afternoon snack or appetizer.

Here’s how we start. First, prep your dough. Follow Saveur’s recipe to make the dough. They suggest using around 6 tablespoons of water, but mine came out to about 8. And if you have a food processor, by all means use it here. Wrap up your dough and let it refrigerate while we make the filling.

Ingredients:

1 sweet potato, cooked in the microwave until mostly soft, about 6-8 minutes

1/4 lb ground lamb

2/3 cup frozen peas

1 onion, chopped

2 big or 3 small garlic cloves

2 TBS olive oil

1/2 tsp tumeric

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp coriander

3/4 tsp cumin

a pinch of whole mustard and whole cumin seeds (and fenugreek if you have it)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock, plus more in case

Start by toasting your whole mustard and cumin seeds to bloom the spices. If you don’t have these, don’t worry about it. Honestly I was just experimenting with using whole seeds :). Once fragrant, empty into a small bowl and set aside.

Heat olive oil on medium heat, add your chopped onion and let soften until translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add garlic for one more minute. Add in the curry powder, cumin, salt, coriander, tumeric, and coat the onion and garlic with them.

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Add the lamb and break it up into small crumbles. Peel your soft sweet potato and cut into small chunks while the lamb starts to brown. Once it browns, add in your sweet potato. Now add in your hot pepper flakes and the whole toasted seeds. At this point, the oil will be mostly taken by the lamb, so add in your chicken stock and add the frozen peas.

Let it simmer on medium heat, slowly breaking up the sweet potato as it softens. Continue to add chicken stock if it looks dry. Once the peas have lost their frost, turn the heat down to very low, put a cover on the skillet, and let the filling absorb the stock and spices. The point here is to make sure you’ve got a thick enough filling.

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There’s no worry on this step, timing and look of the filling is entirely up to you and your eyes only. Just think about what texture you want when you bite into a spicy pillow with a little crunch on the outside. Now we’re in a happy place! One it looks about ready, turn off the heat, cover, and lets get those pillows ready.

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Take the dough out of the fridge and prep your oven to 450 degrees F. Break off your dough into ten even pieces and roll them into little balls. I cut the dough in half and made each half into 5 pieces. Cover the balls you are not using with a towel. Starting with the first ball, roll it into a flat circle. Add a spoonful of filling on one half, making sure there is room at the edge for crimping. Swiftly fold over the other side into a half moon and press the top and bottom layer together lightly to close. Some of your filling might puff out, that’s okay! It’s rustic remember.

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Starting at one end, fold the edge together toward the filling, snuggling in the pocket. Continue to fold the edges over one another, crimping the open edge inward so it again, “snuggles” the filling in tightly! It’s okay if it doesn’t work out the first time, you’ll get the hang of it. The key is to just keep going in the same direction so there are no air pockets in the seam. Place the samosa on a greased cookie sheet and continue with the others, until you have 10 samosas.

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Bake for 15 minutes at 450 on the middle rack, then turn the samosas over and cook for another 3-5 minutes until both sides are speckly golden brown. Let cool for about 5-10 minutes. Enjoy with some chutney, Indian pickle, or by itself!

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