Monday, December 26, 2011

Roast Stuffed Pork Loin

The title was a bit of a mouthful, but the results are a very nice mouthful. There's a lot of little bits in this, but, when you get to the end, it all comes out well and tastes great.

250g fresh spinach 6 smallish button mushrooms
1 dozen chestnuts 0.5lb sausage meat
1 tsp Mustard 1 tsp Mace
1 tsp Coriander a little Salt and some Pepper
2.5lb Pork Loin 2 tsp Bisto Gravy Powder
Cotton String
Red wine

  1. Measure out the spices and place them into a small frying pan for later
  2. Cut the stalks from the spinach and wash it. Chop it fairly finely.
  3. Peel the chestnuts - do it like this to avoid frustration and singed fingers!
    1. Cut crosses in the flat sides of the chestnuts
    2. Place them into boiling water for 3-4 minutes
    3. Remove the heat but leave the nuts in the water
    4. Two-by-two, take nuts from the water and cool a little under the tap
    5. Cut in four with a sharp knife, and extract the meat. 
    6. Blend/chop the nut meat - I used my Magic Bullet.
  4. Chop the mushrooms fairly finely - about a quarter-inch pieces
  5. Heat the spices in the pan on a low heat
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the spinach, spices, mushrooms, chestnuts, and sausage-meat
  7. With a good-sized fork, mash the parts together. You will probably end up with a mix that is way too dry, so add an egg or two until it binds together. This is the stuffing mix.
  8. Now take a sharp knife and cut the loin in two, length-ways. This should give you two fairly flat pieces of meat of the same length. In the US you often get a package that contains two parts already: in this case cut each part almost in half, so that it will lie flat
  9. Place one part of the meat flat and season it with a little salt and pepper, and some rosemary
  10. Put as much of the stuffing mix as will reasonably fit onto the meat
  11. Lay the second piece of meat on top
  12. Use the string to tie the whole thing together. You shouldn't need to go around more than five or six times at most
  13. If there's a lot of stuffing left, pin up one end with cocktail sticks and push more into the other end!
  14. Place the meat in a (non-stick if you can) roasting pan and cover over with foil. I put a cup of wine into the tray to keep the meat moist: don't bother if your meat is not sitting on the bottom of the pan
  15. Place in the oven:
    1. Start at about 450F for about 20 minutes
    2. Take it out, turn the meat over, recover and replace for another 15 minutes or so
    3. Measure the temperature - it'll probably be about 60C inside the meat
    4. Uncover the joint and raise the oven temperature to 500F or more for about 15 minutes. This will get the temperature up and also colour up the top of the joint for serving
  16. Once done, take from oven and let rest on the plate or block you'll use for carving for 10 minutes or so. It's still cooking at this point! Remember that you'll get liquid out of the joint, so be sure to use something that the juices won't simply run off of!
  17. Mix the Bisto powder with a cup of red wine to liquify it
  18. Take the roasting tray, add a cup or two of red wine and place on heat.  
  19. Use a spatula to scrape off the meat stuck to the bottom of the trat and break it up
  20. Add the Bisto mix, bring to the boil. Almost immediately it will start to thicken, so be ready to pour into a serving jug.
I served this with mashed potatoes and corn. Peas or beans would also contrast well with the flavour of the pork. It'll certainly feed four hungry people.

Enjoy your meal - we certainly did (that's why there aren't any pictures!!)!


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Stuffed Mushrooms

So, for lunch, there were Stuffed Mushrooms. I stopped in Wegman's yesterday for general "stuff", and saw some nice big Portabella mushrooms, so bought four. As it happened, I only needed three for lunch, but the stuffing for dinner will need some more.

I put the mushrooms on to fry very gently in butter, gills-down and stalk-removuff".ed. At the same time, with a little more butter, about a half onion and a good amount of garlic, both well chopped, to fry somewhat more savagely.

For the "stuffing", which it really isn't, 'cos Portabellas are too wide open to "stuff", take about a half of a pound of Jimmy Dean or Bob Evans sausage (or, if you're in Europe, minced pork), add about two teaspoonfuls of Herbes de Provence and some pepper. Mash out the meat with a fork, and then add in three eggs and keep mashing until well mixed. Now the mixture is made, start adding breadcrumbs until it all starts binding together. You need to get it to a consistency that is a little wetter than you would normally use for burgers.

Turn over the mushrooms!

By the time you're done with all this, the onion/garlic mixture should be ready to add to the meat mix, so do so. 

Let the mushrooms fry gently until they start getting softer (not mushy!!), and then, for each one, take some meat mix, put it into a small pan flatten it down to about 3/10th of an inch thick and fry it, flipping once or twice. When done, sprinkle Parmesan cheese generously onto the mushroom, pop the cooked meat onto the top, and serve.


Another Year Older ..... and it's time to get cooking !

Yes, it's Christmas time again - that time of the year when I get older and decide not to cook for the next year. Then comes Christmas Day!

This year the daughter is returning to the fold for a few months, so there's been much moving of things from one room to others so she has somewhere to sleep, etc. What would be her room has been being used as a computer room - not something that will meet with much approval, I suspect, from tomorrow onwards!

Right now, in fact, the room looks more like Mission Control in Darmstadt than a bedroom, There are six screens in all - from a desktop, two laptops with extra screens, and an eeeBox. One of the laptops is my faithful Acer Aspire 9300 - a 17" Windows machine. The other is a new System-76 Bonobo machine - 17.3", 8 core Intel i7, 12 GB RAM, 1 Tb disk. It runs Ubuntu 10.10 and Windows in VirtualBox virtal machines. Life is turning out to be simpler this way, despite the normal hiccups of moving to a new OS.

Not, of course, that Ubuntu is really new to me - the eeeBox has been running 10.04 since it was released - early 2010, I suppose - with the NetBook GUI. Strangely enough, that's rather like the new Unity GUI that 11.10 comes with as default.It's a little bit of a pain atafirst to get used to, and also seems like a step back in time to be using more keyboard short-cuts, but I'm getting used to it. Slowly!

These two Linux machines really are a joy to work with. I run Windows virtually on the laptop because I keep my email in a program called TheBat! - a really good email client from RITLabs in, of all places, Moldova in Europe. As I have about 370,000 emails stashed in there, the store is really quite big, and I'm very happy with the way it all gets organised and kept. Very reliably, I might add! Unfortunately it only runs under Windows - I haven't been brave enough to try WINE!

Anyway, I also have a Windows desktop (under the desk), which I use without mouse, keyboard, or monitor - Vinagre remote control on the newer Linux machine or even in a virtual Windows machine inside the Linux machine will work fine. Only the RDP option works, which Ubuntu 10.04 doesn't have. Oh well - there are benefits to upgrades!

So, now I'm off to pick up some Windows PCs from a friend to disinfect, so the next blog will probably be full of stories of that.