Bourbon and Dried Plum Stuffed Pork Loin

This is a technique I learned years ago from Chef John Fleer at a Great Chefs of the South event in Beaufort, South Carolina. He mesmerized the entire crowd with this demonstration, including us fellow chefs standing in the back. He used a different stuffing in his, but I love the way the bourbon and dried plums complement the pork. I will never forget how he convinced all of us that it was okay to roast the pork with plastic wrap still inside -- until his big reveal for extracting the wrap and leaving the stuffing magically inside!
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 55 min
  • Active: 55 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

Filling:

1 cup bourbon

1/2 cup chopped dried plums 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup diced yellow onion 

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary 

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin 

1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs 

Pork Loin:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder 

1 teaspoon dried rosemary 

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

One 3-pound boneless pork loin 

 Good quality olive oil, for serving 

Directions

Special equipment:
a metal skewer with a looped end
  1. For the filling: Combine the bourbon and dried plums in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saute pan. Add the onions and some salt and pepper to taste; cook, stirring, over medium heat until very tender but not browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic powder, rosemary and cumin and cook 30 seconds more. 
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the dried plums and bourbon. Carefully return the pan to the heat and cook until reduced by half. Stir in the remaining tablespoon butter. Remove the pan from the heat and add the breadcrumbs. Stir well to incorporate, then set aside to cool to room temperature.  
  4. For the pork loin: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the olive oil, garlic powder, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl and mix well to combine. Rub the mixture all over the pork loin and place on a cutting board with the fat side facing up. Starting on one side of the loin, insert a paring knife or thin fillet knife through the cut side of the loin toward the center of the meat, keeping both your knife and the meat centered. (You are trying to create a hole through the center of the loin while keeping the entire roast intact, like a tunnel.) If your knife is not long enough to reach all the way through the loin, make the same cut from the opposite end of the loin to connect the two cuts.  
  5. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap out on the cutting board. Arrange the stuffing in the center of the plastic wrap. Shape the stuffing so that it lays in a narrow rectangle, the same length as the pork loin. Tightly wrap the stuffing in the plastic wrap, maintaining the shape. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap to tighten the shape and tie a knot at each end as close to the stuffing as possible.  
  6. Insert a metal skewer with a looped end through the hole in the pork loin. Tie one end of the plastic wrap around the loop and use it to pull the stuffing into the center of the pork loin.    
  7. When the stuffing is centered, cut the knot off one end of the plastic wrap. Pull the plastic wrap from the other end while squeezing to extract the stuffing. As you pinch and pull, the plastic wrap should come out, leaving the stuffing behind inside the pork loin.  
  8. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the pork loin fat-side down on top. Roast the pork loin, 25 minutes. Flip the pork loin so that the fat side is now facing up. Cook until a thermometer inserted into the center of the pork loin registers 140 degrees F, about 20 minutes more. Transfer the pork loin to a rack to rest. (The internal temperature should reach a minimum of 145 degrees F as it rests.)  
  9. Slice into 1/2-inch thick and drizzle with good-quality olive oil before serving. 
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