Post #454 I Know What You Had For Dinner Last Night . . .

February 12, 2016 at 11:02 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Okay, I don’t really know what you had for dinner last night.  But I know what I had for dinner last night and it was so good I wanted to share it with you.  It was a pork loin roast, with stuffing and two veg on the side.  Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  Okay, so maybe not wonderful when put like that, but it was what I did to the pork and to the green beans that made it wonderful.

I’ve had the pork loin roast in the fridge for a couple of days and I wanted to make sure I cooked it yesterday so it wouldn’t spoil.  I have a habit of taking things out of the freezer and changing my mind.  I knew I had a box of Stovetop Stuffing in the pantry so I thought about doing a stuffed pork roast.  My first thought was to cut the roast into very thick chops, put the stuffing in the bottom of a baking dish and put the pork on top.  What happens is the juices from the roast will seep into the stuffing while it’s all cooking and create kind of a stuffing pudding thing.  Only trouble with that is the roast will dry out and leftovers will be terrible.  The stuffing will taste good, but it’ll be fairly soggy.

Then I remembered a recipe where you can butterfly the meat, stuff it with various things, roll it up and tie it, and bake it.  The original recipe used a beef roast but it wouldn’t be too hard to adapt to a pork roast.  But as I reviewed the recipe, I realized that all I was doing was moving the stuffing to the interior.  The roast would still be dry if it wasn’t eaten immediately.

The difficulty is that Partner/Spouse was working way late and I was unsure of arrival time.  I wanted the roast done so all I had to cook were the two veg sides and the stuffing, because by now I’d decided to make the boxed stuffing as a side as written on the box for the sake of timing.  So putting aside the puzzle of the pork roast, I turned to the two veggie sides I wanted to make.  I wanted to make fresh green beans, and frozen corn.  Not together, though.  I like corn okay, but I have to be in the right mood for it.  Green beans I can eat any day, all day.  So the corn was just going to be steamed, tossed with a little butter, and seasoned.  I wanted to sauté the green beans but I’d done that so many times, I wanted something a little different.  So I let that simmer in the back of my brain and turned back to the roast.

I wanted to keep the roast moist which meant not overcooking it.  But if I finished the roast early it would either have to stay in the oven as it cooled which would dry it out, or come out of the oven and be reheated which would dry it out.  I needed something as a barrier to keep the moisture in the roast.  My first thought was searing it, but being such a small roast (just about a pound, not much more than that) searing it would cook it pretty thoroughly.  There was always the tried and true bacon wrap technique which was always a good idea, but bacon wrapped pork roast seemed a bit redundant.

I went back to the stuffed pork idea and looked at the recipes for a few minutes.  They all called for butterfly cutting the roast so it was one uniform thickness when laid flat.  There are many techniques for butterflying any piece of meat, on or off the bone, and I’ve used most of them at some time or another.  The most important thing in the process is to use a very sharp knife.  Dull knives just won’t cut it.  Pun intended.   So with my small roast, I made a cut in the top third of the roast all the way across it to about a half inch from the edge.  Then I made another cut angling down to the bottom third of the roast and cutting back the way I’d come to half an inch from the edge.  Then I laid the whole thing flat and pressed to hold it’s shape.  The idea is to press the filling into the meat and roll it up, tie it, and cook it.

But an idea occurred to me, probably inspired from one of the many cooking shows I’ve watched over the years.  Since I couldn’t keep the moisture in given my particular circumstances, what if I added moisture to the inside during the filling process?  I’d already decided against using a dried bread crumb filling, but what if I simply used herbs and spices?  Rather than go full bore exotic, why not use Partner/Spouse’s favorite, garlic?  At this stage, the meat itself would hold the garlic in place, but it wouldn’t add any moisture to the whole thing.

Garlic!  I remembered a stuffed chicken breast I make once in a while (and wrote about once here in the blog) where I used butter to hold several cloves of minced garlic in place inside a pocket I cut into a chicken breast.

So I spread room temp butter all over the inside of the roast.  It’s always better with butter, right?  Then I sprinkled salt, fresh cracked pepper, and about a quarter cup of powdered garlic (I was out of fresh) over all the butter.  I rolled the roast up tightly which had the added benefit of placing some of the fat cap into the interior of the roast adding more moisture.  Then I looked for kitchen string to tie it up with.  I have some somewhere but couldn’t lay my hands on it immediately so I just rolled it up and laid it seam side down in the baking dish.  I drizzled some olive oil on the top, about a teaspoon, and sprinkled it with salt and pepper.  It went into an 300 degree oven and cooked for an hour and 15 minutes, then I turned the oven off and left it alone.

When Partner/Spouse arrived at around 9pm, I started the corn and stuffing, but still had to think what to do with the green beans.  I figured I’d just add some bacon to the water and cook it all together.  It was down home and tasty.  But I didn’t want it that way.  The got me to thinking about the various ways to cook bacon and I thought about the water bath method.  Light bulb goes off!

I put a half cup water and two tablespoons of butter in a skillet large enough to hold the green beans in a single layer.  I turned the heat on medium and waited for the butter to melt then put the green beans in a single layer.  I simmered until all the water was gone.  I turned the heat off and let them sit.  They browned from residual heat and the butter flavor was evenly distributed throughout.

So we had a garlic stuffed pork roast:

pork roast

with Stovetop Stuffing (very good stuff), steamed corn niblets, and sautéed green beans.

What did you have?




  1. Just boring beans. Your dinner was way better by a long shot.

    • beans aren’t boring. my father in law and I used to eat them all the time.

      • The way I make them they are. Next time I’ll think of something to put in them.

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