Regardless of any opinions we might have about the Mediterranean Diet, this stuffed pork loin with a Mediterranean flair is right up our alley. The recipe for Mediterranean stuffing, made from red peppers, spinach, olives, garlic, nuts and an optional sprinkle of feta cheese (we couldn’t resist throwing some in), was sent in by Jade Kendall for the Primal Cookbook Challenge.
A pork loin is a fine cut of meat, tender and easy to cook, but because it’s the leanest cut of pork it also tends to be the least flavorful. This is where Jade steps in with a perfect solution: stuffing. Breadcrumbs are nowhere to be found in his rich and flavorful filling that evokes the best of Mediterranean cooking. His ingredients add fat (nuts), flavor (garlic) and smart fuel (spinach).
Red pepper is no slouch in the nutrient department either, and adds bright color that matches the bright, bold flavor the stuffing brings to the pork. Jade suggested the addition of feta cheese and we suggest adding Kalamata olives. Either will give the stuffing a briny burst of acidity that heightens all the other flavors.
The hardest part about this recipe is holding back and not putting too much stuffing inside the loin. If you do, you won’t be able to roll the meat up completely. If you’re worried about over-stuffing, your best defense is pounding the loin as thin as possible so it rolls easily and if needed, secure the meat with some toothpicks or kitchen twine while it cooks.
1-2 pound pork tenderloin
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 oz spinach
1/4 cup chopped nuts (any kind that sounds good)
Pitted kalamata olives
Olive oil or butter for sautéing
Optional: 1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese
Drizzle some olive oil or butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add red peppers and garlic to the pan. After a few minutes add the spinach and cook until it wilts. Remove from heat.
Butterfly cut the pork tenderloin (cut vertically down the middle until almost through, but not quite through the pork).
Place saran-rap over the butterflied pork and pound it as flat as you can without breaking through the pork (use a meat tenderizing hammer for best results).
Once the pork is thin then add the ingredients from the pan on top of the pork, spreading it all over. Add the nuts, and optional feta cheese and olives.
Gently roll the pork into a tube/roll. If you are using a smaller pork loin, or were not able to pound it very thinly, you may just be folding the loin over rather than rolling it. In this case, securing the loin with toothpicks or kitchen twine will be necessary.
Drizzle the pork with olive oil and butter and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40-60 minutes (depending on the size of the pork roll).
When the pork is cooked to your liking, let it cool slightly and then slice.