When it comes time to dining in the south, we over emphasize the main entrée as though it mirrors our desire to please the palate a tad more than that of the eyes. A smothered fried pork steak, an unwavering stable, comes to mind. Though it may not look gourmet, around the south we immeasurably enjoy the taste so much that it is a mainstay in every cookbook.
That said, when it comes time to host a gathering of friends for an informal dinner, one that needs to taste as good as it looks and still suggest not a mere fuss, what do you do? Do what I have prepared for you, a remake of that smothered pork dish with a delightful stuffing. Prep time for the roulade is just less than an hour and can be prepared while the potatoes are cooking and the seasoning stock for the peas are coming together. Both side dishes, like the pork, are also a mainstay on southern tables as is the accompany cornbread. Enjoy!
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 to 3 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, cut into thick slices
2 stalks celery, cut into thick slices
Salt, pepper, garlic & onion powder
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup bourbon
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 of a sprig fresh rosemary
Kitchen twine (cotton)
Roasting pan with rack
In a large bowl, combine the first 9 ingredients mixing well. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
Prepare the loin either of two ways. Butterfly it – With the fat side facing down, cut down the center lengthwise to half an inch from bottom. Spread open and cut each side in the same manner. Alternatively, by carefully cutting lengthwise with a long filet knife and in a circular pattern ‘unrolling’ the loin into 1 long piece. Either way, pound the meat with a mallet to 1/2 inch thickness. Ideally, you want to end up with a rectangle about 9 x 12 inches in size.
In a medium bowl, make the filling by combining the next 12 ingredients mixing well. Spread the stuffing down the center of the pork to the edge of the shorter sides and to an inch on both long sides. Roll from one long side making the roulade. Use the cotton twine to tie at several intervals keeping the shape evenly. Sprinkle the entire roulade with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder to taste.
Mound the onions, carrots and celery in the bottom of a greased roasting pan. Place the rack over the vegetables and place roulade, fat side up, over the vegetables pushing down to even out the rack. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of the roll. Add the water to the pan. Cook for 1 1/2 hours or until temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Add additional water if needed, you will want about a quarter cup of drippings after cooking time.
Remove the roulade from roasting pan and cover to keep warm. Discard the vegetables or save them to serve if desired.
Pour the drippings into a medium saucepan, stir in the bourbon and bring to a boil cooking gently 3 or 4 minutes to thicken, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir constantly.
Stir in chicken broth, thyme, and rosemary. Bring back to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and discard thyme and rosemary sprigs. Cool slightly.
To serve, cut meat into 1/2 to 3/4 inch-thick slices. Serve meat with the sauce.
Serve with Creamed Potatoes, Southern Peas and Cornbread Muffins.