Roast pork loin with herb stuffing

Herb stuffed pork.jpg

Did someone say juicy, tender roast pork with crisp crackling and an amazing herby stuffing to boot? This pork is so delicious and such fun to make too! There's plenty of banging and bashing to prepare the herb stuffing, perfect for releasing any pent up tension, and a lovely exfoliating massage for both you and piggy as you prepare the skin to get nice and crispy in the oven. There's an absolute plethora of energies going on too from all the lovely herbs: 

Fennel - strength
Chillies - protection and spiritual connection
Oregano - clears blocks and removes negative energy
Rosemary - mental clarity
Sage - cleansing and purification
Thyme - courage, fortitude and beloved by fairies
Garlic - protection

If that doesn't fix what ails you, I don't know what will! So grab your mortar and pestle, crank up your oven and get roasting. Please use pasture raised pork if you can, or at the very least free range. Pasture raised means that the pigs have lived in an environment that allows them to be their lovely piggy selves. Think of it as free range but better. 

Finally, if you feel like some roasty-good viewing, you can watch me make this recipe from start to finish in my recipe video,


Roast pork loin with herb stuffing

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1.1kg boned pork loin, skin on - pasture raised pork if possible (ask your butcher to bone the loin and score the skin)
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds 
  • 2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes
  • 4 large sprigs fresh oregano
  • 3 large sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 5-6 sprigs fresh sage
  • 4-5 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons salt plus a pinch for the herb stuffing
  • A pinch of pepper
  • A couple of good, healthy swigs of olive oil
  • String (suitable for cooking in the oven) 

Directions

  1. Turn your oven onto 230C. Cut around 10 long lengths of string - make them long enough to wrap around your pork, with plenty left on either end
  2. Remove the leaves from your oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. Place all the leaves in a mortar, along wiht the fennel seeds, dried chilli flakes, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can use a metal or plastic bowl and a rolling pin. I only have a mortar (someone randomly, and very kindly, left a perfectly good one on my doorstep), so I use the end of a rolling pin and it works just fine. 

  3. Give the herbs and spices a good old bashing to start to bring them together - this is an excellent tension-release opportunity. If there's been a dickhead in your life recently, feel free to imagine their face at the bottom of the mortar, and give them a few good whacks. 

  4. You won't end up with a smooth paste - more of a rough blend of partly-demolished leaves and half-crushed spices. This is fine. You just want to bring it together into a loosely combined mixture that you will then stuff inside your pork. Once you're happy with the consistency, set your stuffing aside while you prepare your pork. 

  5. Lay your pork loin flat, skin-side up. If your butcher hasn't scored the skin, you can do this with a very sharp knife. You just want to make some shallow diagonal cuts through the top layer of the skin at intervals of around 2cm, all the way across the pork from one side to the other. 

  6. Now it's time to give your piggy a lovely rub. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of salt over the skin, and pour over a couple of good lugs of olive oil. Now place both your hands on that piggy and massage the salt and oil alllll over its skin. While you're doing this, send a thought of love and gratitude to the soul of the lovely pig who so generously donated its flesh to you. Rub away until you feel your piggy has been massaged well enough - and enjoy the added bonus of a nice exfoliation from the salt on your palms as you massage. 

  7. Turn your pork over and lay it out flat again, this time with the flesh side up. There will be a sort of groove in the meat, about 1/3 of the way from one of the long edges of the meat. Pack your herb stuffing into this groove. It will just be loosely packed, rather than tightly stuffed - this is fine. 

  8. Take your first length of string, slip it under the pig, and wiggle it along so that it sits right in the middle of the length of the pig. Draw it up and around the middle of the pork, and pull it as tight as you can. Make a firm knot to hold it in place. The tying is easier if there's someone else to help you hold the string tight as you tie it off, but it can also be done alone with a modicum of perseverance and the occasional holding of string between one's teeth. You are using the string to 'roll' the long edges of the pork loin together, creating a long rolled tube of pork with skin on the outside, and flesh and stuffing in the middle. 

  9. Repeat the tying process along the length of the pig with intervals of about two-fingers' width between each string. You should know that the stuffing won't roll neatly into the middle of the pork - it will sit towards the outer edge of the roll, and some will fall out as you tie. This is fine - just pack as much in as you can and remember you'll be placing it flesh-side down on the roasting tray and this will help seal it in.

  10. When your pork is all tied up, place it flesh-side down on a roasting tray and bang it into your blazing hot oven. This will start the yummy skin off into delicious crackling. After 20 minutes, turn the heat down to 180C and roast for a further 40 minutes. If you have more than 1kg of pork, add an extra 20 mins per kilo but keep an eye on it - the cooking time can depend on your oven. A meat thermometer can be helpful here, or simply removing the pork and making a little cut in the flesh to see how pink it is also works. I like mine just-not-pink, meaning that it's by no means raw, but doesn't need to be cooked to gray right through. 

  11. Rest your pork for at least 20 minutes. This is super important, it means that the lovely meat relaxes and becomes tender and even more delectable. 

  12. To carve your pork, place it skin-side down (it's easier to carve through the crunchy skin that way). Carve heartily, thick slices, and place them on a serving platter. Some of the meat might separate from the skin - no matter, I like to dot crunchy shards of crackling atop my thick and juicy patter of pork slabs. Sprinkle any of the stuffing that's fallen out over your pork slabs, then spoon over some of the pan juices.

  13. Turn down the lights and enjoy juicy porky heaven.