Read the recipe and think through what you need before you begin. Mis en place.
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Use your oven thermometers and your smartphone timers. Turn the oven heat down to 400 F when you put the pastry-wrapped pork loin into the oven on a parchment lined buttered sheet pan.
Be sure to remove all vestiges of the silver skin. You might find a boning knife useful. Always push the sharp blade side of any knife away from you, while holding the pork loin securely. Rinse the pork loin and pat dry with paper towel. Brush the pork loin with Dijon mustard and salt and pepper. Cut tiny slits in the pork loin at one-inch intervals and pop a paper-thin piece of raw garlic into each slit.
Prepare fresh homemade coarse breadcrumbs. Season the breadcrumbs with your favourite herbs and or spices. Sage, rosemary and thyme works, or use prepared poultry seasoning sparingly; it can easily overtake anything it comes in contact with. Add just a sprinkle of grated nutmeg.
Press out with your fingers, or roll with a rolling pin, several layers of store-bought frozen, barely thawed butter-made puff pastry so that sheets are larger (wider and longer) than the pork loin. You will tuck in the ends using egg wash when you wrap the pork loin to complete the package.
Sear the pork loins in just a little sizzling unsalted butter in a sauté pan. You aren’t cooking the pork loin, just browning all sides to seal in the juices so the pastry doesn’t get soggy.
Using the same sauté pan, stir-fry a half cup of finely chopped shallots in just a bit of butter, and stir in a teaspoon of your refrigerated homemade oven-roasted golden garlic purée. Sprinkle fresh thyme, salt, pepper and a little paprika. Mix in the breadcrumbs. You don’t want a mushy wet breadcrumb mix; keep the breadcrumbs as dry as possible. Line the pastry with lots of the breadcrumbs mix to help absorb juices – the same way you do when making apple strudel. Leave a one-inch border crumb-free.
Wrap the seared, cooled pork loin in the breadcrumb lined sheets of puff pastry. Place the pastry package on the oven sheet pan seam side down. Paint the whole pastry packaged loin with egg wash. Using a sharp pointed knife, poke a few small holes in the top of the pastry package.
Bake about 30-40 minutes for a medium-size pork loin. You don’t want to overcook. Like all things roasted, cooking continues in its own heat while resting. Tent and let rest before carving in generously thick portions.
While the pork is roasting in the oven, deglaze the sauté pan using a cup of Offley Ruby Port to get loose any brown bits stuck to the pan. Reduce the port by half.
Stir in a tin of drained Bing cherries. Or use frozen if you prefer. Add a quarter cup of sweet congealed cognac figgy jus from your black mission fig marinating jar. Add a half cup of minced macerated black mission figs. If you have it, add a tablespoon of my German Italian plum confit. Add a tablespoon of fresh-squeezed sweet orange juice.
Pour the cherries fig sauce over the wrapped, sliced roasted pork loin only when ready to serve.
NOTE: If you don’t have cognac figgy jus, you could substitute liquid top-grade maple syrup and maybe chopped prunes or Medjool pitted dates with the cherries.
Sugared, buttered nutmeg carrots and minty mushy peas make nice side servings; or use any of your favourite vegetables. It’s perfect with my piping hot whipped mashed potatoes or a serving of duchess potatoes, piped using a forcing bag, into separate side oven-proof dishes that you can pop under the broiler rack to just brown the peaks for a few minutes. Be ready to serve immediately.
Serve on an oversize warmed plate positioned on a larger charger plate on a placemat. Set a pretty table for eye candy. It helps digestion at any meal.
For those who imbibe, offer a cool glass of ruby port. What a beautiful paired meal. Make it for family or for entertaining. Just make multiples of the puff pastry wrapped pork loins, roasted simultaneously. If doubling up, make lots of sauce, but you only need a drizzle on the carved packaged puff pastry pork loin slices. This recipe is likely to become one of your favourites.
ALTERNATE: You could substitute a ruby port mushroom shallot sauce if you want to switch up the cherry fig sauce. But still add the black mission macerated figs.
A delicious surprise-side possibility:
Deep-fried breaded stuffing balls
Using any of my bread stuffing recipes, most often made for stuffing poultry, try this interesting way to serve. You can make the stuffing well ahead of time, package in dozen-packs and freeze. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and proceed when ready to finish.
Initially divide the prepared stuffing mix into equal size balls, perhaps by using an ice cream scoop. Pack the stuffing with your hands into firm balls. You don’t want the balls to fall apart in the deep fryer.
Gently roll the balls in sifted seasoned all-purpose flour, then in egg wash. Next, roll the balls in coarse semolina flour or in fresh homemade coarse white breadcrumbs.
You could flavour the breadcrumbs with a tablespoon or two of dust-like ground fresh nuts. Walnuts, almonds or pistachio nuts whizzed quickly in your small kitchen machine work.
You could finely whiz-grind candied citrus rinds from your pantry sugar jar storage and mix a little with the breadcrumbs. This finishing touch is especially good if you have cranberries in your stuffing (in the black-olive bread stuffing). Creates a nice flavour marriage.
Deep-fry the bread stuffing balls in Mazola Corn Oil at 350 F just until the coating turns golden.
These treats are wonderful to add to your “watch the game” plates of goodies. They will just disappear.
Maybe add to a platter of holiday turkey balls as a side dish or add to your giant pig in a blanket plate. If so, maybe sprinkle a little poultry seasoning into your bread stuffing balls before shaping into balls or season the all-purpose flour with just a little poultry seasoning.
© “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks” | Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience