Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Loin with Roasted Apples

It’s officially Fall, my favorite time of year, and with Fall, comes slow roasted meats slathered in herbaceous marinades and rubs. When my Bon Appétit arrived last month, this dish beckoned to me… “make me, please… make me.” So I did and I found that the pork on pork on pork action is not as wrong as it sounds. In fact, it was a lovely precursor to the fast approaching Thanksgiving holiday.

Every year, we make turkey… delicious delicious turkey. If you are looking for a bird alternative this upcoming Turkey Day, I would say, this Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Loin is jam packed with holiday flavors. The smoky prosciutto casing is only the beginning on this dish. Jump in a little further and you’ll find a moist pork loin stuffed with sautéed mushrooms, dried applies, kale, fresh herbs and of course… butter. The filling alone can be eaten with a spoon (I won’t lie… I ate a little before building this log of goodness).

Make this. Eat this. Impress some folks. Enjoy!

1 ounce (1 cup) dried whole porcini mushrooms
2 ounces (3/4 cup) dried apples
1 pound kale, bottom stems trimmed
2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup minced onion
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons brandy or Calvados
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground pork

1 (trimmed) 2 1/2–3 pound pork loin
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more for seasoning
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
5 sprigs rosemary
4 medium apples (such as Granny Smith or Fuji), quartered, or 8 small apples, halved
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry hard cider
1/2 cup low-salt chicken stock

For filling
Place dried mushrooms and dried apples in separate small bowls. Add 1 cup boiling water to each bowl. Let mushrooms and apples soak until very soft, about 30 minutes. Strain mushrooms. Cover and chill soaking liquid (about 3/4 cup). Drain apples, discarding soaking liquid. Finely chop mushrooms and apples, combine in a small bowl, and set mushroom and apple mixture aside.

Meanwhile, blanch kale in boiling salted water just until wilted, about 1 minute. Using tongs, transfer kale to a rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate until cool. Remove any large, tough ribs.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until soft and lightly golden, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and apples; cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, and rosemary; cook for 1 minute. Add brandy and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Transfer mixture to a bowl and let cool completely. Add ground pork and stir to combine well.

For pork
To butterfly, put pork loin on a work surface with short end facing you. Holding a long, thin sharp knife parallel to work surface and beginning along one long side, cut 1/2″ above underside of roast. Continue slicing inward, pulling back the meat with your free hand and unrolling the roast like a carpet, until the entire loin is flat. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound to an even thickness.

Uncover pork. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place kale leaves on top of loin in an even layer, overlapping as needed and leaving a 1″ border. Spread filling on top of kale. Roll pork into a tight cylinder. Wrap one layer of prosciutto around roast. Tie roast securely with kitchen twine in 1″ intervals. Tuck rosemary sprigs under twine, spacing apart. DO AHEAD: Pork roast can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before continuing.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place apples in a roasting pan. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in a large skillet. Brown pork on all sides, about 5 minutes total, then set on top of apples in pan. Add cider and 1/2 cup water to skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Pour mixture into roasting pan. Roast pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loin registers 140°F (it will be cooked medium but still slightly pink), about 1 hour 40 minutes. Let roast rest for at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Put roast on a platter. Reserve apples from roasting pan; spoon off fat from juices in pan. Place pan on top of stove over medium-high heat. Add chicken stock. Pour in reserved mushroom liquid, leaving any sediment behind, and cook, scraping bottom of pan to release any browned bits, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain sauce; slice pork. Serve sauce and apples alongside sliced pork.


Pork Lettuce Wraps with Ginger Dipping Sauce

In an attempt to get healthy (and perhaps wedding dress ready), Judd and I decided to temporarily cut flour and grains out of our diet. Now relax… I said it was temporary. Quietly missing our sandwiches and rice side dishes, we surged foreward and have been pleasantly surprised by the deliciousness of our carb-less dinners.

Everyone has eaten a lettuce wrap of some sort before… I’m guessing. These flavor packed pork fillings are amazing wrapped up or simply just gobbled down on their own. Marinated in duck sauce for sweetness, hoisin sauce (or as my chinese friend calls it, “the white person’s BBQ sauce”), and sriracha for a zap of heat, the cooked meat crisps ever so slightly under this saucey glaze. Paired with the freshness of chopped carrot, red pepper, cilantro and scallions, these wraps are almost perfect…

Enter the dipping sauce. Easy to whip up and seriously tasty, this soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, scallion and ginger root sauce is salty, nutty and spicy. Pour a spoonful over the pork and veggies and you’ve got yourself one hell of a dinner!

Starch, you are delicious, but…. it turns out veggies and protein can live without you.

Makes 4-8 appetizer portions; 2-4 dinner portions

1 tablespoon duck sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 pounds thin-cut pork chops, pounded to 1/8-inch thickness
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 heads butter lettuce, leaves separated
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and leaves separated
3 carrots, shredded or julienne (3 cups)
1 cucumbers, cut into 3-inch matchsticks
1/2 red pepper, cut into 3-inch matchsticks

Make the ginger sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, vinegar, water, sesame oil, scallion, and ginger. Set aside.

Heat broiler to high. Brush both sides of the pork chops with the olive oil, duck sauce, hoisin and sriracha, sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes. Broil 2 minutes on each side. Cool and slice thinly.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on a platter and fill each with some cilantro, carrots, scallions, cucumbers, red peppers and sliced pork. To eat, drizzle with the ginger sauce and roll the lettuce leaves to close. Serve with plenty of napkins.

Roasted Pork Chops & Peaches

It’s Springtime! How do I know? Well, Cadbury Creme Eggs are abundant (even though I have yet to eat one this season), we have an hour more sunshine each night and most importantly… fruits and vegetables are bright, fragrant and oh so delicious!

Last year I stumbled upon this super easy pork chop and peaches recipe and was instantly hooked. I’ll be the first to admit, I was shocked to find how flavorful and juicy 2 little peaches could become when cooked alongside seared salty meat. Shopping at the market last week, Judd and I spied ripe peaches across the produce section that upon closer inspection, smelled of summertime. Naturally, we sniffed the pile for the ripest of the ripe and headed to the butcher for some thick cuts of pork.

Making this tasty meal simply couldn’t be easier. Savory piggy cooked in a skillet until both sides are brown and crispy. Peach and red onion wedges sautéed in meat drippings and white wine vinegar until they soften and create… you got it, more juice. The combination of pork, fruit and onion balanced atop your fork is enough to make even Punxsutawney Phil beg for an early spring every year! (Wow, I’m a huge nerd).

We gobbled up our pork and peaches with a side of Judd’s ever so tasty Sautéed Brussels Sprouts (recipe link coming soon) and a side of couscous. Open some chilled white wine and dig in!

Makes 4 servings

1 10-ounce package couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 pork chops (3/4 inch thick; about 2 pounds total)
kosher salt and black pepper
2 peaches, cut into wedges
1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (optional)

Heat oven to 400° F. Cook the couscous according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the pork with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Add the peaches, onion, vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper to the skillet and cook, tossing, for 1 minute. Return the pork (and any accumulated juices) to the skillet. Transfer to oven and roast until the pork is cooked through and the peaches are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Sprinkle pork chops and peaches with basil (if you’ve got it). Serve with the couscous.

BBQ Pork Chop, Whiskey Mashed Yams with Tarragon Carrots & Brussels Sprouts

My dad makes a killer barbeque sauce. I mean, it’s truly amazing and basically makes meats very happy and tasty. So, when I examined the contents of the fridge last week and saw pork chops, vegetables and yams, I thought… BBQ Pork Chops!!! I promise this recipe will be tasty with any delicious barbeque sauce since the sweetness gives the meat a sugary glaze. Because I am a sucker for whiskey, I happily find opportunities to sneak it into recipes. In my opinion, yams are just begging to be doused in the rich caramel brown liquid. The butter gives the yams a creamy texture and silky flavor, while the whiskey adds hints of smokiness.

I seldom cook my vegetables in butter, but I thought a dab would give these carrots and brussels sprouts a creaminess that would balance well against the pork. Turns out, butter really does make everything taste better! The addition of dried tarragon gave a woodiness to the vegetables that made them feel rustic in their simplicity. So, grab your fork and pile a little bit of everything on it. It’s just one of those dishes…

Makes 4 servings

4 pork chops, 1-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Barbeque Sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 lb yams or sweet potatoes
2 tablespoon butter, separated
1 tablespoon whiskey (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 medium carrots, peeled with ends cut
1/2 lb brussels sprouts, cut into quarters
1/8 teaspoon dried tarragon

Preheat grill or skillet to medium heat. Lightly season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Brush generously with barbeque sauce and cook over heat for about 5 minutes. Flip chops and cook an additional 5 to 7 minutes, basting until cooked through.

Meanwhile, poke each yams 3 times with a fork. Place yams in microwave on high for 10 minutes. Cook for additional minutes as needed. When soft to the touch, cut in half, cool slightly. Scoop out meat from inside of yams. Combine in bowl with 1 tablespoon butter, salt, pepper and whiskey (optional). Mash until desired consistency.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over a medium high flame. Add carrots and brussels sprouts, sautéing for 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan. Season with salt, pepper and tarragon. Cover and cook over low heat for 5-7 minutes of until carrots are tender.

Serve pork chops, mashed yams, and sautéed vegetables. Chow down!