Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Roast Pork Loin Stuffed with Spinach and Mushroom

I am sure every Christmas you will be wondering what is THAT recipe you will serve on your dinner table. A recipe good enough to make those heads nod with pleasure and yet won't make you run around the house like a headless chicken trying to get it done. Com-on...who has time to roast a whole turkey? Let alone time to visit the salon before the party? But again, you are not gonna serve just a plain old roast chicken...even NTUC has that :P So that pretty much leaves us with Lamb or Pork...on the safer side...go pork since it is more wallet friendly and not as gamey taste.

Pork can be quite blend if it is not seasoned well and quite dry if overcooked. So stuffing the most tender part of the pork sounds about the right choice. Better still, wrap it with Bacon!

Fresh out of the oven...oops pardon the string haha. My recipe is so easy and yet yields a really moist and delicious roast meat, definitely worth a try. Let's get started!

Ingredients for Bacon Wrapped Roast Pork Loin Stuffed with Spinach and Mushroom (Serves 4-5)

1.5-1.8kg fresh pork loin (I got mine from the butcher, those ready cuts in the fridge was too small)
2 cups fresh spinach
10-15 button mushrooms (white or cremini is fine)
1 large zucchini
1 carrot
1 large sweet potato
1 large or 2 medium red onion
4 cloves garlic 2 large potato or 4 medium potato
1 large tomato or 1/2 cup cherry tomato
4 to 6 strips bacon (I used apple-wood smoked)
  • First minced the garlic, slice the onion thin, slice the mushroom, wash the spinach, cut the vegetable into large chunks, this will help the vegetable to cook easily when roasting. As shown below:

  • Next you fillet the pork loin so it is flat sheet as shown below. Season the surface with salt and fresh ground pepper generously. Set aside for use later.

  • Next you heat up a saute pan and add a tbsp of olive oil. Next add in the minced garlic and sliced onion and cook at low fire till it is translucent and soft. Takes 5-8 minutes.

  • Next you add in the sliced mushroom and cook covered at low fire till it is cooked down and soft. Takes another 5-8 minutes again.
  • Scoop out the mushroom mixture. Add in the spinach, season well with salt and pepper, then cook till it wilt down. Then squeeze out the extra liquid. Chop it roughly.
  • Now you spread the chopped spinach over the pork loin, leaving about 2 inches on the side.
    After that you spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the spinach.
  •  Then gently roll up the pork loin from the long side and carefully wrap the bacon over it. Then if you like, you can use some baking string to tie the pork loin. Link here to check how to do that. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  • Now grease your baking dish and also add about 2 tbsp of olive oil over the cut root vegetables.Then season it well with salt and fresh ground pepper. Place the vegetables in the baking dish and then the pork loin over the vegetables.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, then lower the heat to 180C, cover the meat with aluminum foil and continue to bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Be sure to let the meat rest for a good 10-15 minutes before slicing into it. Enjoy!
The pork turned out perfect, tender and perfectly seasoned. Love the moist and flavorful mushroom stuffing inside too. If you are like me, lazy to make sides, baking the root vegetables together with the pork will be perfect! Yes, there is that extra time you earn to go salon haha!

Sliced version of my stuffed pork loin..served over my new Christmas theme plate. This lovely  handmade plate is from Italy. Also my new snowflake dinner plate from Boradallo Pinheiro from Portugal. Bought all these from Tangs last weekend so I can serve it during Christmas. :) My one stop shopping for Christmas this year. 

Hope you all like this recipe. And may all your dinning guest love it as much as I do.
Good night guys!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Roast Pork Belly

I guess every household will have a good banana cake recipe. Personally, I think having a good roast meat, specifically roast pork recipe is essential too :9 It's like a little pride and joy of every Chinese mama. Imagining the dinner scene, when she chops it up and serves it to her family and guests. That very first crunch is heard when one pops a piece in their mouth, followed by that wide grind of satisfaction. Priceless...:) And seriously, this ain't a complicated recipe, more of a test of patience if you ask me. Patience of letting the marinate slowly flavor that hunk of meat. Patience of letting that skin dry out. Yup, you hear me right, dry out. The drier the better. Yes, once majority of the moisture is gone, that pork skin crisp up real well in the oven. Don't believe me? Check this out:

Yeah I really don't have to say much...the picture should do all that talking...haha :D

Well then, what are we waiting for...lets get on with it! Let's see what we need ya?
Ingredients for Roast Pork (serves 4 pax)

1.2kg fresh pork belly
1/4-1/2 cup quality salt (I used Pink Himalayan salt which I find it really good)
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp 5 spice
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine (optional)
1 tsp sugar 
Obviously a nice piece of lean pork belly is preferred....well at least it is for my case. By all means, if you like them fats, go get it ya? :D And as you can see, only the basic seasoning is required. Good quality salt, pepper and 5 spice. Actually, a tbsp of Chinese ShaoXing wine is used as well, I feel it removes some of that "porky" smell. But if you prefer not, it's okay too.

  • First you get a pot of water boiling. Enough water to submerge that piece of pork belly completely in. Once the water boils, dunk the meat in. Off the fire.
  • Leave the meat in the water for a good 5 minutes and then remove and drain on some paper towels. This step helps remove some of that porky smell as well.
  • Next you use a needle or for my case, I used the tweezers for pulling the pork hair to poke the skin. This step will definitely help let the marinate penetrate through the skin and flavor the meat better.
  • Next you flip the meat over and score the meat side with a sharp knife. This is again a step that will allow the meat to be well marinated.

  • Next you add in that 1 tbsp of Shaoxing wine and rub it in well. Let the meat sit for a good 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, make your marinate rub. In a small bowl, add in the salt, pepper, sugar (optional) and five spice. Mix well.
  • At this point, drain away the extra wine and dab the meat as dry as you can. Then rub the dry rub in with your hand.
  • Place the pork well on a sheet of  thick aluminum foil, skin side up. Again dab the skin as dry as possible.
  •  Now place the pork belly in the fridge for a good 8hours at least...uncovered. Yes you read me right, 8 hours at least, or up to 2 days, uncovered in the fridge. For what? To dry...to let that skin all dried up.
  • Okay, speed up to 2 days later. Remove the pork belly out of the fridge. It looks dry. Good. Preheat your oven to 200C.

  • Once the oven is preheated, pop that pork belly in and roast for a good 30 minutes. Then up the temperature to 230C and roast for a good 15 minutes till that skin starts to pop and crackle. :)

And isn't that a pretty sight. :) That bubbly crackly skin is about one of the "prettiest" thing you will want your pork belly to take on, I'm serious. Because you know the more bubbly and crackle it looks, the more crispy that bad boy is. Yum.
And we can't possibly forget about the inside could we? And here we have it!
Juicy, tender with a crisp top. Perfect. I know you really want a piece of that. But do remember to let the meat have a good 15 mins rest first before chopping it up. That will preserve the juices inside.
You can very well just munch them all up just like that. Or you can cook some noodles and serve them over...like what I did.
And here you have it. A plate of delicious roast pork noodles. Seriously can't ask for anything more...well perhaps some green chilli might make it more awesome haha!

Okay guys, enough reading. Time for some cooking. Hope this will knock your socks off, like it did for me every time I make them. :9

Have an aweseome day /night!