Herb-Stuffed Pork Loin


This Herb-Stuffed Pork Loin is a play on the classic Italian dish, Porchetta. While this roast doesn’t have pork belly wrapped around it, it is still crispy and juicy…and tastes just as good! This is the perfect late spring recipe to make for a large crowd, because not only does it look impressive, it tastes amazing and uses seasonal herbs and spices that are perfect this time of year. I guarantee that this Herb-Stuffed Pork Loin will be a hit with your friends and family…or maybe just for yourself 😛


Servings: 8-10

Difficulty: Medium

Prep Time:  30 minutes   |   Cook Time: 1 hour   |   Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pork loin ( approx. 4-5 pounds)
  • 4 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup oregano leaves, roughly chopped (plus stalks for roasting)
  • 1 cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped (plus stalks for roasting)
  • 1/2 cup sage leaves, roughly chopped (plus stalks for roasting)
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced

Salsa Verde

  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Begin by preparing the pork loin. Place the pork loin on a large cutting board and using a sharp knife, roll-cut the pork loin. To roll-cut a pork loin,  begin by placing the knife near the bottom of the pork loin (about 2 cm away from the cutting board). Use long strokes to slice across the bottom of the pork loin in an even line parallel to the cutting board, making sure not to cut all the way though. Simply unroll the pork loin as you continue to cut through it, ensuring that the thickness is even, until the pork loin is fully opened. Click here to see some roll-cutting in action!

Once the pork loin is fully opened, cover the entire loin with a piece of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet to pound the pork loin until it is an even thickness. Remove the plastic wrap and season the pork loin evenly with 1 tablespoon of salt.

Next prepare the herb stuffing. Place the garlic and 1 tablespoon of salt into a mortar*. Using the pestle, grind the garlic and salt together until it forms a paste. Next add the chopped parsley, oregano, sage, fennel seeds, lemon zest and black pepper. Grind the herbs and spices into the garlic paste to incorporate them. Once incorporated, add the olive oil and grind everything together again until a smooth paste forms.

*If you do not have a mortar and pestle, you can make this is a food processor!

Spread the herb stuffing over the entire pork loin, making sure that all parts are evenly covered.

Next, roll the pork loin back up into its original shape. Make sure to roll it as tightly as possible and to not let any filling come out!

Next, use butchers string (or and 100% cotton string) to tie up the pork loin. This ensures that the pork loin will keep its shape and will not unroll in the oven. Lay 4-5 long pieces (approximately 30 cm in length) of string across the cutting board then place the rolled pork loin on top. Take each piece of string and wrap it around the sides of the pork loin and tie it in a knot at the top. Repeat for all of the strings. Trim any excess string using a pair of scissors (or a sharp knife).

Next, take 2 sheets of paper towels and dry off the outside of the pork loin. This will make sure that it gets nice and crisp in the oven. Once dry, sprinkle the outside with the remaining 2 tablespoons of salt and gently rub it into the meat. Set aside.

Slice the onion into 1/2 centimeter thick slices and arrange evenly in a baking dish. Make sure the baking dish is large enough to fit the entire pork loin. Top the onions with any leftover herb stalks that you have. I used 3 sage stalks, 5 oregano stalks, and 5 parsley stalks. This will “perfume” the onions and pork loin as it cooks in the oven. Finally, place the pork loin on top of the bed of onions and stalks and place the baking dish in the oven uncovered.

Roast the pork loin for 20 minutes at 400°F. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 375°F and continue to bake the pork loin for 4o-45 minutes.

While the pork loin is roasting, prepare the Salsa Verde. Simply add the parsley, oregano, sage, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, chili flakes, salt and pepper to a mortar. Using the pestle, grind this mixture all together until a smooth paste forms. Again, if you do not have a mortar and pestle, you can make this is a food processor. Once combined, spoon into a small serving dish and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it.

After 40-45 minutes have elapsed, use a meat thermometer to test the doneness of the pork loin. Insert the thermometer through the side of the pork loin into the center of the roast. When the thermometer reads 160°F, the pork loin is almost fully cooked. At this point, turn off the oven and turn on the oven broiler. Broil the top of the pork loin until it becomes golden and crisp, about 5-10 minutes. Depending on your broiler, you may have to move the baking dish around to get an even golden top.

Once evenly golden, remove the pork loin from the oven, cover with aluminum foil and let it rest on top of the stove for at least 20 minutes before slicing. After 20 minutes, the meat should reach 165°F- the perfect (and fully-cooked) temperature for pork.

Remove the pork loin from the pan and place it on a large cutting board. Cut off the strings using a pair of scissors and slice the pork loin using a sharp knife into slices that are about 2 centimeters thick. Arrange the sliced pork on a platter and serve with the roasted onions from the pan and salsa verde.

If you have any leftovers, I strongly recommend going Meat & Bread style and serving slices of the roast on a bun, topped with salsa verde. It tastes (almost) as good at theirs 😉

Enjoy!