A dear friend from Spoke Folk had given us Frank Stitt's Southern Table cookbook two Christmases ago when he stayed with us.
While we had read much of the cookbook, until now we had only made one beverage from the book. We happened to have a pork loin in the freezer, so this recipe was just calling to us.
Frank tells us to cut a slice through the center of the pork loin and then use a sharpening steel, or a wooden spoon handle to stretch out the opening. We found that the sliced hole did not really want to stretch out, and we had more luck just cutting a larger slit through the center in several directions.
We had way-too much stuffing, so next time we will try to make a larger opening within the pork. But we just baked the extra stuffing along with the pork this time.
This was a pretty dish to serve.
We had wanted to sauté some broccoli rabe, but none of the 3 or 4 stores Tim went to had any... so broccoli became the veggie-of-the-day. Add a few oven roasted potatoes, and this was our supper.
We will definitely make this again... it took a bit of prep (the pork as well as the stuffing) but then you just stick it in the oven and let it be... and you can go sit with your guests for a while.
We halved the recipe, as we had a 2lb pork loin, here are the original amounts:
½ pound slab bacon, chopped (we could not find slab, so used some thick-cut)
1 large onion, 1" diced
2 cups day-old French bread, 1" cubes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Pepper to taste
4 to 6 pound boneless pork loin
Place bacon and onions in roasting pan and roast at 450 about 15-20 minutes until bacon just turning brown. Stir once or twice during roasting time.
Place bread, garlic and rosemary in a bowl, pour onion and bacon over and allow to cool.
To prepare the pork loin, insert a long knife through pork lengthwise, and turn knife in a circle to create a slit through its center. By whatever means necessary, expand that hole as much as possible without tearing through the pork. Stitt suggests a sharpening steel, or a wooden spoon handle, I used the steel some, and continued to make more slices to expand the cavity.
Fill the cavity with the stuffing mixture. (He says to re-tie the pork loin, but I did not and had no problems with it holding its shape.)
Place the stuffed pork in the roasting pan, roast at 450 about 25 minutes.
Lower the heat to 325 and cook 20 to 30 minutes longer until a thermometer reads 145 degrees. Let it rest about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.