Nothing Says “Merry Christmas!” Like Yuletide Pork Rotolo…

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While there were no pigs in the manger, I wanted to come up with a Christmastime pork preparation. So, I figured the red/green combo was in order and chose spinach and sun dried tomatoes to fit the bill. The result was divine and I’m confident anyone you cook this for will agree. Ho Ho Hold on tight because here we go, its my Yuletide Stuffed Pork Rotolo…

Start with a pork tenderloin and a boning knife.

Peel back the membrane and trim away the silver skin.

Cut straight down the center, the long way, leaving about 3/8″ thickness still attached. Then, repeat the process on both sides 2-3 times and cover the loin with plastic wrap so that it looks like this…

Use a meat tenderizer to flatten the tenderloin to a uniform thickness, then remove the plastic wrap.

Set pork aside. Add 1.5 cups sun dried tomatoes to a bowl and cover them with hot water. I actually did this a day ahead of time with cold water in the fridge, but do what you have time for. Set aside.

Next, heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Then, add 3 large handfuls of spinach.

Use your hand or a pair of tongs to turn the spinach constantly until it wilts down. Then, transfer to an ice bath or a sheet pan for cooling in the fridge or freezer.

Once spinach is cooled, squeeze it several times until water drips from it no longer. Then, season your tenderloin with kosher salt and pepper and grab a half pound of bacon and your reconstituted sun dried tomatoes because it’s time to stuff and roll, grandma!

Lay the spinach out in an even layer, then squeeze the tomatoes gently and place them on top of the spinach so it looks like this…

Roll the tenderloin up like you would a sleeping bag at summer camp. Tuck hard right away and roll it tight! Here, it is nice and tight, neat and clean, no holes, not stuffing in sight. Make that your goal.

Now, wrap the loin in thin-sliced bacon, being sure to overlap each piece so that it doesn’t come unraveled when you sear it off. I used 7 pieces and it looked like an Egyptian had wrapped up a mummy; no gaps and tight tucks on both ends.

Heat the same cast iron skillet you used for the spinach to sear off the tenderloin. The goal is to sear the bacon seams so that this baby stays rolled up good and tight. To do this, use a small amount of olive oil to get it started, then the bacon fat will render and provide the cooking agent you need to finish. This should be over medium-high heat, but regulate the temperature as necessary or as soon as the smoke detector goes off…

Cook until you are confident that the first section of bacon is sealed and caramelized. Then turn 1/5 of a turn to one side. Like this…

Now we’re talking! It’s all starting to come together now… Repeat this process until all sides are sealed and golden brown. Then, transfer tenderloin to sheet pan with baker’s rack and roast in the oven at 350ºF.

Cook until the internal temperature in the center of the center reaches 150ºF. Technically, you are supposed to cook stuffed items to 165ºF, but I am a medium/medium-rare pork guy, so anything above 145ºF saddens me. In this case, I went a little further for you guys and the result was delicious. The carry over on this is about 10º in 10 minutes (this one reached 159ºF after resting 12 minutes). If you are worried about getting sick, then go with 165º and you’ll be set.

After you have let it rest (10-15 minutes minimum), then slice her open and have a look! I recommend cutting on a double bias. Take your knife and hold it perpendicular to you, then, point the blade 45º to the left. Now, tilt the knife 45º downward. It’s like a compound miter saw, you follow? Actually, that’s a good idea! If anyone uses their miter saw to cut this, please send pics…

Here’s another shot…

And, for good measure, one from the back side…

There you have it, a rotolo rhetoric in 18 pictures. This pairs well with lemon aioli or even a simple Massie Mayo. Partner that up with some fresh veggies, sweet potatoes, or parsnip puree and you’re golden.

I hope you give this one a try. It is a great entry-level rolling extravaganza and the result is delicious. Be sure to share with your friends and family and smile because you are…

“Keeping It Paleo!”

Have a Merry Christmas, guys!

Sincerely,

Paleo Nick

(Carrying on a Christmas tradition with these two dudes…)

 

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