The Sweet Life Recipes - Main Fair
Pork Pinwheel Roast with Spinich and Olives
Pork…the other white meat…is lean, easy to prepare, and, if without a few simple secrets, it is easy to make it tougher than shoe leather! Today’s pork is leaner than ever which means that you have to watch it closely and know a few tricks to make it succulent and worthy of your sweet life style!
Preheat oven to 400 (F)
2 Tbsp grated lemon rind
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 garlic cloves
3 lb. pork loin roast
1 lb. baby spinach leaves, rinsed and patted dry
Approx. 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup pitted olives (green, black or mixed), finely chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, reconstituted in hot water, then julienned
2 tsp lemon juice
The first step is to make a paste using a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can place the ingredients in a strong plastic zip lock bag and pound with a meat tenderizer, or grind into a paste with a spice/coffee grinder (use only for spices of your coffee will taste pretty strange), a blender, or small food processer. Pound or grind lemon rind, oregano, and garlic cloves into a paste. Set aside. Now, lay the pork roast on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife and a light touch, filet open the meat. Don’t cut all the way through, just far enough to fold the roast open into a sheet of meat. Smear the paste all over the sheet of roast and let it sit while you work on the filling. For the filling, start with the spinach. One pound sounds like a lot but it really isn’t as this will wilt down to a much smaller amount as it roasts in the oven. The key is to keep the filling a little distance from the edges of the roast. First, lay the spinach leaves in a layer on the roast. Sprinkle spinach with salt, pepper and a smattering of crushed red pepper, followed by the chopped olives and julienned tomatoes. Then sprinkle the lemon juice over the filling. So now it’s time to roll and tie the roast. This can be a bit of a challenge if you haven’t done it very often. Just take your time and be patient. Roll the roast with the seam coming to rest on the cutting board so it doesn’t pop open while you reach for your twine. Gently slide a piece of twine under one end of the roast, bring around the roast and tie in a double knot. Repeat the same for the other end and then one for the middle. The twine should be firm around the roast so it doesn’t slip as the meat shrinks slightly during cooking, but not cinched so tight that it will squeeze out stuffing or juices. Once your roast is secured, grind black pepper over the exterior of the roast and gently rub into the meat. At this point, you have options. You can either bake the whole roast (my preference) or, if you want a faster meal, you can slice the roast into rolls. If you opt to slice into rolls, make sure that you use a very sharp knife to slice smoothly. Line a rimmed baking dish with foil and place your roast or rolled slices in the dish. I recommend that you use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking. My personal preference is a thermometer that has an alarm. I set it for 5 degrees below what I want the final temperature to be. In this case, the final temperature should be 160 degrees (F) so set the alarm for 155 degrees (F). For the whole roast, bake about 30 minutes, then flip it over. This way the juices drip down into the center of the roast and make it much juicier. The rolled slices will cook faster. Bake 15-20 minutes and then flip if you can do so while keeping the roll intact. For either the whole roast or rolled slices, your meat thermometer will be your guide. When your internal meat temperature reaches 155 degrees (F), remove the roast from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes. The meat temperature should rise as it continues to cook from within before dropping. Resist the urge to slice into the meat to take a peek; this will release some of those all-important juices which will dry the meat and disrupt the final roasting process.