Saturday, January 12, 2013

Chard Stuffed Pork Roast

I'm participating in a blog challenge this year hosted by some old blogging friends called Cook the Books where each month, a cookbook is selected and bloggers are asked to write about it.   This month's book is Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table....

I have actually made some of Dorie Greenspan's recipes before...most notably her cocoa sable cookies,  which is also included in AMFT.  (I just went back and read that blog post and it still made me laugh)  I checked another one of her other books out of the library before....

which I enjoyed reading, but have to admit my version of the cake featured on the cover looked nothing like hers.   Baking really isn't my forte, but I try.   So I knew I would enjoy this month's challenge.    I got the book out of the library - the jury is still out whether I want to buy it or not.    I think I need to see if there are some more recipes I want to try in it.    Over the holidays, I took the opportunity to cook something new most every day, and when I saw this recipe for a chard stuffed pork roast, I decided to give it a shot.  I had all the ingredients in my fridge - no special shopping required!  Dorie's recipe is on page 276 of AMFT, but here is how I did it....Dorie actually suggested this recipe could be prepared on a busy weeknight, but she and I clearly live different lives. This recipe takes well over an hour to prepare - it's not anything I'd make on a weeknight, but it's great for a weekend. I made extra stuffing and used it as a base for a frittata for the next morning's breakfast. It was great!

Chard Stuffed Pork Roast

1 small bunch Swiss chard stalks
2 T olive oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
salt and pepper
1/4 c raisins (I used dried cranberries)
red pepper flakes
1/2 t black peppercorn
1/2 t coriander seeds

Cut the leaves off the chard stems, and chiffonade the leaves.  I like the way Dorie doesn't use the actual word "chiffonade" in the recipe; instead, she just tells you how to do it: roll the leaves up like a cigar and slice them crosswise.   She used her chard stems and chopped them up, too, but I had a pickled chard stem recipe I wanted to try, so that's what I did with mine instead.  She also uses too many pans in her version of the recipe - it can all be made in cast iron frying pan, so that is what I did.  I heated my medium cast iron pan with 1 T of the oil and I added the onions and cooked them until soft.   I then added the garlic and chard leaves until the chard wilts, and then I put the mixture in a small bowl and added the cranberries, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper.

I cut the pork roast in half as shown, Dorie recommended "opening the pork roast like a book" which I think is a great way to describe it.   I added the stuffing, and then carefully closed it and tied  it at intervals with kitchen twine.   I pulverized the peppercorn and coriander seeds roughly in my mortar  and pestle, and then I rubbed the roast with the remaining oil and pat the peppercorn mixture into the roast and seasoned it with salt.   I then roasted the pork at 375 F in the very same dirty cast iron frying pan until it got to the temperature of my liking, which is 160 F.  It took about an hour, and I liked that Dorie didn't judge me for wanting my pork roast well done.  She suggests 140 F, but says if you want to cook it longer, to go right ahead.   So many chefs these days talk about pork cooked medium rare, but I just don't like it that way.   I want my pork well done. Another thing Dorie does that I don't do is to remove the germ from the center of her garlic cloves.     She said it makes the garlic have less of a bite, but I like that about garlic.  So, I skipped that step.

I made this recipe with her broth based potatoes (AMFT  page 358) which were perfectly fine, but nothing to get excited and blog about.  It's just boiling potatoes in broth and seasonings instead of plain water.  You could find a similar recipe on the side of a can of Swanson's chicken broth.  In all, I really liked the pork recipe and I'd do it again.  I love Dorie's writing style and just reading her cookbook makes me want to go Paris right now.    I am looking forward to trying out more of her recipes, but I have never remade those cocoa sable cookies.   Maybe I'll start there!