Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mortadella and Truffle-Stuffed Pork Loin with Rosemary Roast Potatoes (Page 470)

RECIPE #1256

  • Date: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 -- 6pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Helen, Charles, and Clara
  • Recipe Rating: B

I had my eye on this recipe for quite a while. When a blizzard hit East Lansing last month, it seemed like the perfect time to make it. I managed to go to the grocery store on a Tuesday evening before the snow started. The university canceled classes that Wednesday, so it was the perfect day to stay home and stuff a pork loin! Our friends Helen and Charles live only a short walk away from us, so they braved the snow to join us for dinner. To prepare this pork I started by making a mixture of crushed black peppercorns, salt, garlic, and butter. I butterflied the pork loin, then my special gentleman helped me pound it to an even thickness. I spread some black truffle butter evenly over the pork, then topped the butter with thinly sliced mortadella. I repeated with another layer of truffle butter, a layer of mortadella, and a final layer of truffle butter. Then I carefully rolled up the loin, tied it, and rubbed it with the peppercorn butter mixture. I roasted the pork for a while, and simultaneously parboiled some peeled yellow potatoes. I tossed the potatoes with olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper, then added them to the roasting pan with the pork. I roasted it all until the pork reached 150 degrees. I made a pan sauce by deglazing with chicken stock, then adding cornstarch and truffle butter. I served the pork with the potatoes and sauce. This dish was pretty good. The potatoes had a lovely pork and rosemary flavor to them and the meat was nicely cooked. My only complaint was that the dish didn't have enough flavor. The truffle flavor was present in the pork, but not bold enough. And the mortadella didn't contribute much in terms of flavor. I think I would have liked the dish better had the pork been stuffed with something more strongly flavored, like prosciutto, rather than the mortadella. With prosciutto and more truffle butter, this dish could have been crazy delicious. As it was, it was just tasty. I liked it, but I doubt I will make it again. There are much better pork loin preparations out there.

The recipe is here.

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For the last three weeks or so I have given up eating anything between meals. This is the season of Lent, and I am choosing to fast for Lent by eating a small breakfast and lunch each day, a normal size dinner, and nothing between meals. The first couple weeks of Lent were a little rough. I think many people probably eat this way normally, but it is just not the way I eat. I am a grazer. I eat when I am hungry. I don't eat when I am not hungry. I don't like the feeling of being overfull, so I never eat so much at a meal that I won't be hungry before the next one. Consequently, I always carry food with me. At the first sign of hunger, I have a snack. It is rare that any 2 hour waking period goes by during which I don't eat. I eat so frequently that I rarely experience the feeling of being very hungry. All of this has changed.

The first few days of Lent I was astonished by how hungry I could feel. I got used to the hunger quite quickly though. Once I learned to expect the hunger, I grew much less frustrated by it. This morning I had a piece of toast for breakfast. By 11am or so I was hungry again, but luckily I was distracted by a half dozen students in my office hours. I had some yogurt with granola for lunch at noon. After I taught both my classes and ran around for a while trying to get things done, I got really hungry again around 3:30pm. Dinner time finally rolled around at 6:30pm. I had a bowl of chili, a salad, and some french fries. The food tasted incredibly good, probably in no small part because by then I was extremely hungry! Now it is almost 10pm and I am hungry again. But I'll go to bed soon, and actually wake up feeling less hungry in the morning.

I never diet, mostly because I feel fine about the way that I eat, but also because I just don't think I would have the willpower to do it. I would get hungry, and I am sure that I would rationalize having something to eat. This is very different. I don't consider it an option to cheat on my Lenten fast. I use the hunger as a reminder that this is a period of reflection and prayer. In past years I have given up various things for Lent: meat, candy, etc... This is definitely the most challenging Lenten fast I have done. It has also been the most rewarding. This is a special Lent season for me, as I am being baptized this year at the Easter Vigil. I have thought about baptism for many years. This year it finally feels like the right time. Easter is just over three weeks away and I am very excited!

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