Raisin Challah and Apple Stuffed Pork Loin
- 3 to 3 1/2 pound boneless pork loin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 slices thick-cut apple smoked bacon, diced
- 1/2 cup minced shallots
- 1 1/4 cups finely chopped celery
- 2 cups unpeeled and small diced red Gala apples, about 2 small
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 cups raisin challah bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 recipe Cider Sauce, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
Place the pork loin on a clean surface and cut into 1 side of the meat leaving a 1/2-inch border. Continue cutting the loin in a circular pattern, until the loin is able to be rolled out into a rectangle and is about 1/2-inch thick. Place a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper on top of the pork and, using a meat mallet, pound the meat until it reaches an even thickness of about 1/2-inch. Season the top side of the pork loin with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Increase the heat to medium-high and, when the bacon grease is hot, add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add the celery and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the apples and cook an additional minute. Stir in the garlic and thyme and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the apples are slightly softened but still retain their shape. Remove from the heat and cool slightly before proceeding.
Place the slightly cooled apple mixture into a large bowl and toss with the raisin challah bread cubes. Add the chicken stock and stir just until moistened. Spread the stuffing evenly onto the seasoned pork loin, leaving a 1-inch border. Roll the pork loin and the stuffing, jelly-roll style, being careful that the stuffing does not ooze out of the ends. Secure the loin with butcher's twine at 1 1/2 to 2-inch intervals and rub with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place the loin in a small roasting pan.
Place the roasting pan in the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top of the loin is lightly browned. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F. Allow the roast to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Spoon some of the Cider Sauce over the stuffed pork loin slices and serve warm.Cider Sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups dark chicken stock
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
Place a 1-quart saucepan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan. When the butter melts, add the shallots to the pan and saute until softened, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the shallots, and stir to combine. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the cider vinegar and cook until the vinegar is nearly reduced, about 1 minute. Add the cider and the applesauce to the pan and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and thyme to the pan, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until the sauce is slightly reduced and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, and quickly stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter. Serve the sauce spooned over the pork loin.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups