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Fennel-Stuffed Roast Pork Loin
(recipe, Matthew Card)
The stuffing may be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time, and the roast is best when prepared through Step 3 at least 24 hours ahead of time. It's best to leave a fair amount of fat on the roast as it will render when the meat roasts, helping to keep it moist.
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- 1 large or 2 medium-small fennel bulbs, finely diced
- 12 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp. fennel seed
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp. rosemary (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1½ Tbsp. lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
Roast and rub
- 1 boneless pork loin, about 3½ to 4 pounds, butterflied
- 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Make the stuffing: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once shimmering, add the red onion, fennel, garlic, fennel seed, red pepper flakes, and a large pinch of salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is dramatically reduced in volume, sticky, and just beginning to brown, 22 to 27 minutes. Add the herbs and sugar and stir to blend. Remove from the heat, then add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill.
- Prepare the roast: Generously season the interior of the butterflied loin with salt and pepper. Spread the stuffing in a thin, even layer over the seasoned side of the meat and roll up tightly. Bind crosswise at 1-inch intervals with butcher’s twine. Combine the rub ingredients in small bowl and rub evenly over the roast. Wrap the roast loosely in aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 6 and up to 24 hours.
- Cook the roast: Remove roast from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for one hour. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Set roast fat-side up on a roasting rack set in a roasting pan and cook for 45 minutes. Increase heat to 450 degrees and roast until well browned and internal temperature of roast at center registers 130 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes. Allow to rest at least 15 minutes before cutting twine and carefully slicing roast. (To prevent the roast from uncoiling, cut twine binding meat as you progress down roast, not before.) Serve.
Read more about potluck party planning in Matthew Card's "How to host a potluck."