Sometimes, family traditions are meant to be broken. That was part of the converstation I recently had with my sister. We always have ham on Christmas and this year, I want to do something different. Really different. So as I explained my ideas, my sister and I finally agreed on a stuffed pork loin. It's festive, can be made up ahead of time and looks beautiful when sliced. And it's not ham. So if you're thinking of something different this year for a holiday party or Christmas dinner... this is a delcious change of pace. And it's not ham.
Cherry and Sausage Stuff Pork Loin
1 3 1/2 to 4 pound pork loin roast
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup roughly chopped fennel bulb
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 links Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
3 cups cubed stale bread
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, separated
1 teaspoon black pepper, separated
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Butterfly pork roast (see photos above)
3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, fennel, and garlic and saute for three to four minutes until onions are translucent. Add sausage to onion mixture and break up with a spatula. Continue cooking until sausage is browning.
4. Add parsley, thyme, cherries, bread, one teaspoon salt, one half teaspoon pepper, and chicken stock. Remove from heat and mix well.
5. Spread butterflied roast on a cutting board. Spoon stuffing over roast and spread evenly, leaving one inch border on two opposite ends. Starting at one end of the roast, roll away from you pressing firmly to create a tight roll. Continue rolling and end with the seam on the bottom. Secure by tying six or seven strands of kitchen twine around the roast.
6. Mix maple syrup, mustard, one half teaspoon salt, and one half teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Brush the mixture all over the roast. Place roast in a roasting pan and place in oven.
7. Cook roast at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
8. Slice roast and serve immediately.