As a food writer and TV/radio “personality”, the holidays are busy for me – I do plenty of segments on holiday cooking, and this year has been no exception. I’ve already prepared no fewer than 4 turkeys for various shows and photo shoots, and we had an early turkey dinner last weekend with my family, and to be honest, I’m not particularly excited about cooking yet another one on Christmas morning. I came across this lovely rolled and stuffed pork loin at Joy the Baker, and it looks perfectly festive for the holiday season; easy for a small dinner, or a Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve party. I love that it’s stuffed with fresh herbs, sweet dried cherries and crunchy almonds, and so pretty sliced on the platter.
Joy put together a fantastic holiday recipe book, with photos and formulas for Almond Roasted Focaccia Bread with Grapes and Rosemary, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds and Pomegranate Seeds, and a decadent Almond Butter Chocolate Tart. Can you see the common denominator here? As a huge fan of almonds, it’s right up my alley.
Cherry, Almond and Wild Rice Stuffed Pork Loin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced 6 ounces Italian sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/3 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted almonds
1 cup cooked wild rice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 pound boneless pork loin, filleted Kitchen twine for wrapping
Salt and pepper
To make the filling, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add sausage and garlic and cook until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and add parsley, thyme, rosemary, dried cherries and almonds. Stir in wild rice and add salt and pepper to taste.
Spread filleted pork loin on a clean work surface. Top pork loin with prepared stuffing from edge to edge. Starting from the short side, roll the pork loin and filling into a spiral.
Tie spiral together with heavy-duty kitchen twine in the center of the roast. Also tie the spiral on each end so that the coil is secure. Place roast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan and insert an oven-safe meat thermometer. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place roast in the oven and allow to cook for 1 hour. Reduce heat to 325°F and continue to cook for another 45 to 60 minutes. Remove roast from the oven once the meat thermometer reaches 160°F. Allow meat to rest in the pan, loosely covered with foil, for 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove from the pan and cut twine away from the roast. Slice into six generous slices and serve.