***I hope you've got your champagne and confetti ready to go! The new year is only hours away!! I can't believe another year is almost over. It seems like time just flies by lately. This past year turned out to be a great one...However, I'm excited to see what 2010 has in store for us!
Brad and I are excited to be shooting a wedding tomorrow. It seems like the perfect way to start out the new year. Because of this, we decided to have a nice night at home, since we'll be getting up early tomorrow morning for the wedding. We'll be getting home late tomorrow night, so I went ahead and cooked our traditional New Year's Dinner tonight...complete with the following menu:
This photo is also by Brad...
New Year's Dinner:
Fig-Stuffed Roast Pork Loin
Sauteed Spinach with Pecans & Feta
Black Eyed Peas with Lardons
Buttermilk Biscuits (made from scratch!)
The champagne is chilling and our tummies are full from this delicious meal!
I've cooked several dishes already from my new Ad Hoc at Home cookbook that Brad gave me for Christmas. I absolutely LOVE this cookbook!!! When I first get a new cookbook, I always go through and bookmark all the recipes that I want to make first. After reading through this book, I had almost 30 recipes marked...I couldn't help it! I can't remember finding that many recipes in one cookbook that I couldn't wait to try. This cookbook is awesome! As proof of its awesome-ness, Brad actually had a little trouble finding this book before Christmas. It was sold out here in Birmingham and on most of the online retailers (Amazon included!). He finally found one copy left at a local store. I'm so glad that they had it!
Thomas Keller is the man!
Well, I guess this will be my last post of 2009. I hope you have a FANTASTIC New Year's celebration tonight. Have fun and be safe! I'll see you next year!***
One 2 1/2-pound pork loin roast
1 large fennel bulb (I left this out)
1/2 cup 1/2-inch cubes ciabatta or other artisan bread
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 cup Fig and Balsamic Jam (stay tuned for this recipe in my next post!)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Gray salt or coarse sea salt
Rinse pork loin with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Let air-dry.
Using a long thin knife, make a horizontal lengthwise cut all the way through the center of the loin. (Instead of making one long slit, you may find it easier to cut halfway into the meat, working from either end.) Turn the knife and make a vertical cut through the meat (the two cuts should intersect like a plus sign.) Let the meat rest at room temperature while you prepare the stuffing. (I cut the pork loin differently).
Cut the stalks from the fennel and trim the root end. Remove the thicker outer layers. Separate the bulb into individual layers and cut into batons about 1 1/4 inches long and 1/2 inch wide; you need 1/2 cup fennel. Reserve the remaining fennel for another use.
Set a cooling rack over a small baking sheet and line it with paper towels.
Heat some canola oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and cook, tossing to brown on all sides, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the bread cubes to the lined rack.
Pour off any excess oil, leaving just a light film in the pan, return the pan to the heat, and add the fennel. Cook until tender with just a little bite left, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and shallot and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the jam and warm through, then add the bread cubes, chicken stock, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste, stirring until thoroughly combined. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put a roasting rack in a small roasting pan and put it in the oven.
Meanwhile, use your fingers to widen the cavity in the meat enough to hold the stuffing, working from either end of the loin. Place the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe it into the opening on one side of the pork, pushing the filling into the center of the roast. Turn the loin around and finish stuffing it from the other end. Tie the roast with kitchen twine, being careful not to pull the string so tight that it pushes out the filling.
Season the loin on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat some canola oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the loin to the pan and brown on all sides, moving it to a different area of the pan with each turn, for 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Transfer the pork to the roasting pan and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 135 to 140 degrees F. (I cooked my pork loin longer...for about 1 hour...until well done. I prefer pork to be less pink.) Remove from the oven and let rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes for medium-rare to medium.
Remove the string and cut the loin into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with gray salt.
***Note: Thomas Keller includes separate recipes for a pork brine and chicken stock. I did not soak my pork loin in a brine...I completely skipped that step. He also includes his own recipe for chicken stock. I used store-bought stock.