Pork loin with a great herby stuffing

This recipe for pork is great. You can serve it as a conventional roast, or let it cool and either serve it as part of a buffet, or in sandwiches as they do in Italy. On my first trip there we stopped at a caravan by the side of the road where we had lovely big porchetta (pork sandwiches) filled with salad leaves, mustard and some very bready salsa verde. If you're feeling adventurous then try out this recipe using a whole suckling pig. It's one of the most special things you can cook – great for weddings and parties. Good butchers will normally be able to get hold of a suckling pig if you order in advance. If you do decide to use a suckling pig, then double the stuffing recipe, stuff the cavity, secure it and allow it a couple of extra hours to cook. It will be ready when the leg and shoulder meat falls off the bone.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)

Calories
242kcal
Carbs
17.4g
Sugar
1.6g
Fat
12.1g
Saturates
3.8g
Protein
14.8g

Serves 8-10   Approx time: 90   Difficulty: not too tricky

Ingredients

  • ½ higher-welfare pork loin, preferably the rib end, off the bone
  • 1 small handful fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • 3 heaped tablespoons fennel seeds
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 g sourdough or rustic bread
  • 2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 small handful fresh sage leaves, ripped up
  • 1 handful pine nuts
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
 

Method

Preheat your oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6.

Place your pork loin in front of you and score across the skin with a sharp knife, or a Stanley knife, about 1cm/½ inch deep and about 1cm/½ inch apart. Pound up the rosemary and fennel seeds with a tablespoon of salt – bash the mixture up until really fine and then rub it into all the score marks on the pork. Remove the crusts from the bread and slice it up. I like to toast the bread in a toaster or on a griddle until lightly golden, as this gives the stuffing a really fantastic smoky flavour.

While the bread is toasting, slowly fry the onions, garlic, sage and pine nuts in a little olive oil for 10 minutes until the onions are sweet and soft. Season with salt and pepper, add the balsamic vinegar and put the mixture in a bowl. Rip your bread into pieces and add to the bowl. Squash everything together, really squeezing the onions into the bread. Have a taste – it may need a little more seasoning. Put to one side and allow to cool.

Insert your knife into the eye meat of the pork loin and make a cavity for your stuffing. Pack in the stuffing, then roll the pork over and tie it with a few pieces of string. Place the pork on a roasting tray and cook in the preheated oven for just over an hour until crisp and golden.

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