Saturday, December 23, 2017

DINNER FOR ONE—OR MORE

I may be dining alone on Christmas. One branch of my family lives across the pond in the US. My grandson in Spain goes to his other grandmother’s for Christmas. My friends are out of town. If the surf’s up, son Ben will be on the waves.


I’m fine with that. I’ll still make myself a lovely meal and open a bottle of good wine.


Festive dinner for one: stuffed pork loin with easy oven-roasted vegetables.


 Some years I plan a menu just for one—a single duck breast, a one-woman serving of shrimp. But this year I found inspiration at the local market, where the butcher was taking orders for lomo relleno, oven-ready stuffed boneless pork loin. He gave me some tips on how to butterfly the meat. He suggested including strips of tocino ibérico--ibérico pork fat--to help keep the meat juicy.

Pork loin is a versatile cut—scale it up or down. I bought a fairly large piece, enough for my dinner and a festive post-Christmas dinner when the family reassembles.

Stuffed Pork Loin
Lomo Relleno

I'm pouring a good wine--a fruity Syrah pairs nicely with pork.


Sliced pork loin shows nuggets of pork fat (or bacon) that help keep the meat juicy.
If possible, have the butcher butterfly the piece of pork loin for you (his or her knives are probably sharper than yours). If you’re doing it yourself, here's how. Place the meat fat-side up. Along one long side, cut horizontally almost through to the other side. Open the meat like a book. Starting in the center (the “spine” of the book), make a flat cut towards one outer edge, without cutting all the way through. Open that flap. Starting again from the center, cut horizontally to the other side, without cutting through. Open the meat up. You should have a more-or-less rectangular slab of meat consisting of four flaps.

Step 1: Place the meat fat-side up. Along one long side, cut horizontally almost through to the other side. Open the meat like a book.



Step 2: Starting in the center (the “spine” of the book), make a flat cut towards one outer edge, without cutting all the way through. Open that flap.


Step 3: Starting again from the center, cut horizontally to the other side, without cutting through. Open the meat up. You should have a more-or-less rectangular slab of meat consisting of four flaps.


Cover the meat with plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet to even out the thickness of the slab.

The ingredients given are for a 2 ¾- pound boneless loin. For a smaller piece of meat, cut quantities in half; for a whole loin, double the ingredients.

Serves 6-8 (or 1 or 2 with lots of leftovers).

Boneless pork loin (2 ¾ pounds), butterflied
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pimentón (½ teaspoon)
2 tablespoons seedless raisins
1 tablespoon brandy
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
½ cup finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Pinch of fennel seeds
1 ounce serrano ham, chopped
3 ounces pork fat or bacon, cut in thin strips
½ cup chicken stock or water


The day before roasting the meat: Open up the meat and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper. Rub pimentón on the inside (cut) surface. Roll the meat loosely and refrigerate overnight.

Bring the meat to room temperature. Soak the raisins in the brandy 10 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet. Fry the pine nuts until golden and skim them out. Add the onions, carrots and garlic to the skillet and sauté slowly until softened, 10 minutes. Add the reserved raisins and pine nuts. Add the brandy, orange zest, rosemary and fennel. Cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the chopped serrano ham.

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Use sliced tocino and/or bacon.


Lay the meat flat, fat-side down. Spread the stuffing mixture over the surface. Lay strips of pork fat or bacon crosswise on top of the stuffing. (The 1/8-inch thick slices of bacon are cut crosswise into 2 ½ -inch long strips.) Roll up the pork loin around the stuffing. Tie with butcher’s twine. 



Brown the rolled loin before putting it in the oven.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy, oven-safe skillet large enough to hold the rolled meat. Brown the meat on all sides.

Add ¼ cup stock to the skillet with the meat. Place, fat-side up, in the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove the meat from the oven. Turn the meat. Add additional stock if the liquid has cooked away. Return to the oven until meat registers internal temperature of 145ºF, approximately 20 minutes more.

A serving for one, with lots more for another meal when the family returns.

Remove meat to a cutting board and let it rest 10 minutes before removing string and slicing. Add any remaining stock to the skillet, bring to a boil, scraping up the drippings. Spoon some of the juices over the meat.

More recipes for pork loin
Pork Loin with Fig Stuffing.
Herb-Marinated Pork Loin.

8 comments:

  1. God JUL
    Sharing Christmas with You meal with you,!
    In Marbella also alone, so will enjoy our dinner,
    Merry Christmas to you in Spain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweet Basil: Merry Christmas to you too.

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  2. That looks like a beautiful presentation, and delicious. I hope you enjoy eating it for your solo Christmas and for your family dinner as well.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mae: Thank you. We did enjoy our dinner, solo and together.

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  3. Replies
    1. To Unknown and all my readers: My very best wishes for a happy holiday season and wonderful new Year.

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  4. Merry Christmas Janet. Thank you for another year of wonderful recipes and ideas! Wishing you a fantastic 2018!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patty: Thank you and good wishes to you too.

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