Argentinian-Style Stuffed Pork Loin with Chimichurri
Start to finish: 31⁄2 hours (1 hour active) | Servings: 8 to 10
This holiday-worthy roast was inspired by Argentinian matambre arrollado, or beef that is stuffed with hard-cooked eggs, vegetables and sliced cured meats, then poached or roasted. We opted for a boneless pork loin roast because its uniform shape makes it easy to cut into a 1⁄2- to 3⁄4-inch- thick slab ideal for filling and rolling. Herbal, garlicky and subtly spicy chimichurri is the perfect accompaniment to the sweet, mild pork; we use some inside the roast, too. You’ll need a digital instant thermometer to test the roast for doneness. For convenience, the chimichurri can be made and refrigerated in an airtight container up to a day ahead. The seasonings for the roast can be combined and stored at room temperature and the pork loin can be butterflied and refrigerated a day in advance, too. Additionally, the roast rests for 30 to 60 minutes after cooking, so your oven will be free for last-minute sides.
Don’t trim the fat off the pork loin. The fat cap lends richness to an otherwise lean cut and gives the roast an appealing burnished- brown appearance. Don’t rush when butterflying the pork loin. Short, small cuts allow for the best control so you can maintain an even slice and adjust as you go. Don’t worry if the surface of the butterflied meat is not perfectly flat or even; it won’t matter in the finished dish.
For the Chimichurri:
- 3 cups lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Leaves from 1 bunch fresh oregano (1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup)
- 7 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 3⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the Roast:
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 4-pound boneless center-cut pork loin
- 6 ounces thinly sliced capicola or mortadella
- 1⁄2 cup pitted green olives, roughly chopped
- 1 1⁄2 cups drained roasted red peppers, patted dry and torn into large pieces
- 1⁄3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3 hard-cooked large eggs, peeled and halved crosswise
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Flaky sea salt, to serve (optional)
To prepare the chimichurri, in a food processor, combine the parsley, oregano, garlic, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt and 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper. Process until finely chopped, 30 to 45 seconds. Scrape the bowl, add the vinegar and oil, then process until as smooth as possible, 45 to 60 seconds. Measure 1⁄4 cup of the chimichurri into a small bowl and set aside; transfer the remainder to a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with extra-wide foil and a fit with a wire rack. To prepare the roast, in a small bowl, stir together the cumin, coriander, brown sugar, 31⁄2 teaspoons salt and 11⁄2 teaspoons pepper. Set aside.
Cut eight 24-inch lengths of kitchen twine. Place the roast fat side down on a cutting board, perpendicular to the counter’s edge. With a sharp boning or carving knife, cut along the length of the roast, down its center, stopping about 1⁄2 inch from the bottom. Starting at the base of the cut and with the knife blade held as parallel as possible to the cutting board, slice along the length of the roast, unrolling the meat with your free hand as you go. Continue cutting and unrolling the meat until the half is a flat, fairly even surface 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inch thick. Rotate the roast 180° and repeat with the second side. If there are areas that are slightly too thick, use a meat mallet to pound those areas to the same thickness.
Season the pork on both sides with the spice mixture. Place the meat fat side down and with a short side nearest you. Spread the reserved 1⁄4 cup chimichurri evenly on the meat. Shingle on the capicola slices, covering the entire surface, then sprinkle evenly with the olives. Lay the red peppers on top, tearing as needed to cover the entire surface. Sprinkle evenly with the panko. Place the egg halves cut sides down in a row about 3 inches from the bottom edge. Lift the bottom edge over the eggs and continue rolling the meat into a tight cylinder. Position the cylinder seam side down and tie at even intervals with the twine, then snip off excess twine. If any bits of filling fall out, simply tuck them back in. Brush the roast on all sides with the oil.
Transfer the roast fat side up to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the top is nicely browned and center of the roast reaches 135°F, 11⁄2 to 2 hours. Let rest on the wire rack for 30 to 60 minutes. Remove the chimichurri from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving. Cut the roast into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices, removing the twine as you go. Arrange the slices on a platter, sprinkle with flaky salt (if using) and serve with chimichurri.
French Walnut Tart
Start to finish: 2 hours 15 minutes (20 minutes active) | Servings: 10
This simple tart comes from the Perigord region of France, an area known for its walnuts. A cookie-like pastry shell is filled with the rich, subtly bitter nuts and buttery caramel. Our version tones down what is often cloying sweetness with a small measure of crème fraîche and a dose of cider vinegar (you won’t detect it in the finished dessert). Whole-wheat flour in the crust plays up the earthiness of the walnuts. To toast the walnuts, spread them in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 325°F until fragrant and just starting to brown, about 8 minutes, stirring just once or twice; do not overtoast them or they will taste bitter. The dough-lined tart pan can be prepared in advance; after the dough is firm, wrap tightly in plastic and freeze for up to two weeks. The tart is superb lightly sprinkled with flaky sea salt and accompanied by crème fraîche or unsweetened whipped cream.
Don’t overcook the caramel. Aim for an amber hue; if it gets much darker than that, the finished tart will taste bitter.
For the tart shell:
- 87 grams (2⁄3 cup) all-purpose flour
- 46 grams (1⁄3 cup) whole-wheat flour
- 40 grams (3 tablespoons) white sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) salted butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes and chilled
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling:
- 107 grams (1⁄2 cup) white sugar
- 1⁄4 cup honey
- 1⁄3 cup crème fraîche
- 4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) salted butter
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large egg yolks
- 230 grams (21⁄2 cups) walnuts, roughly chopped and lightly toasted
Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Mist a 9- inch tart pan with removable bottom with cooking spray. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment.
To make the tart shell, in a food processor, process until combined both flours, the sugar and salt, about 5 seconds. Scatter the butter over the mixture and pulse until it resembles coarse sand, 10 to 12 pulses. Add the egg yolk and vanilla, then process until the mixture is evenly moistened and cohesive, 20 to 30 seconds; the mixture may not form a single mass.
Crumble the dough into the prepared tart pan, evenly covering the surface. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, press into an even layer over the bottom and up the sides; the edge of the dough should be flush with the rim. Use a fork to prick all over the bottom, then freeze until the dough is firm, 15 to 30 minutes.
While the dough chills, to make the filling, pour 1⁄4 cup water into a medium saucepan. Add the sugar and honey into the center, avoiding contact with the sides. Cook over medium, swirling the pan frequently, until the mixture is amber in color, about 8 minutes. Off heat, add the crème fraîche, butter, vinegar and salt, then whisk until the butter is melted and the mixture is well combined. Let cool until just warm, about 30 minutes.
While the caramel cools, set the dough-lined tart pan on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 5 minutes.
Whisk the yolks into the warm honey filling, then add the nuts and stir until evenly coated. Pour the filling into warm tart shell, then gently spread in an even layer. Bake until the edges of the filling begin to puff and the center jiggles only slightly when gently shaken, 25 to 35 minutes.
Let the tart cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 1 hour. Remove the pan sides. Serve warm or at room temperature.
PHOTO CREDIT: CONNIE MILLER OF CB CREATIVES