Mushroom stuffed pork loin

I have an oil painting in my bedroom. It sums up my feelings about the pleasure of the table.

This painting, which I paid far too much for a long time ago but now don’t even remember how much it cost, combines my two favorite things: Pork and wine. Taken together or separately. In fact, I’m sitting here now having a glass of Pinot Noir as I am about to discuss pork.

There’s a BBQ joint outside Nashville called Carl’s Perfect Pig and I think that just says it all nicely. The pig is perfect. No other animal yields so many completely different tasting meats. You have bacon, of course, which to me tastes better than caviar. You have ham, country or city depending on how you cure it. You have ribs. I don’t need to say anything more about that. You have pork butt or picnic shoulder, which is what you make real BBQ from. And you have the loin and tenderloin, what some people call “the other white meat.”

A lot of people say pigs are really smart, but I don’t want to know about that. It kind of ruins the moment.

I believe my love affair with pork began at an early age when my father fried bacon for Louise and me. He was the perfect bacon fryer. He took it slow so that the bacon browned nicely in its own fat but didn’t curl up. It is one of the few things I vividly remember watching him do. He had a heart attack when I was four years old and never ate bacon again. But he would fry it up for his girls. That’s true love.

I learned to truly love country ham while Mark and I were living in Reno because we couldn’t get it there. I’d ask anyone traveling East to pick some up at the grocery store. They were flummoxed when I told them not to look in the refrigerated meat case. It would be at room temperature packaged in heavy plastic. They thought that was unsanitary. Westerners don’t really have a good bead on country ham.

Tonight we are going to zero in on pork loin, which should not be confused with pork tenderloin. Pork loin is the full cut of meat along the back of the pig. Pork tenderloin is just the meat closest to the spine. For now, let’s just talk about pork loin. A lot of people roast it whole and that’s fine. But I like to butterfly and stuff it.

Butterflying pork loin is easy. You basically make two cuts and lay it out flat. Here’s a nifty demonstration I found on the web. Once you stuff the pork loin, you just roll it up, tie it and roast it fat side up so the fat gets nice and crispy and you want to just eat that and be done with it.

People will think you worked slavishly at this for hours upon hours. As we say in the South, it makes a pretty presentation.

Mushroom Stuffed Pork Loin

1 pork loin, about two pounds

1 box pork stuffing mix

1 8-ounce container sliced mushrooms

3 shallots

3 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup Madeira

Salt and pepper

Butterfly the pork so that it lays flat on the cutting board, fat side down. Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the stuffing according to package directions. In a food processor, process the mushrooms, shallots and garlic until minced. Saute in the butter until browned. Deglaze the pan with the Madeira. Mix the mushrooms with half the stuffing mix (reserving the rest for another use). Chill.

Spread the cooled mushroom mixture on the pork, leaving about a half inch at the edges. Roll the pork up. Tie with kitchen twine. Salt and pepper the outside of the pork roll. Roast on a rack at 350 degrees until the internal temperature of the pork is 140 degrees.

Some of the stuffing will fall out during the roasting process and will be browned and yummy. Make sure you eat it while nobody’s looking.

7 Comments

  1. Terrell Jones
    Terrell JonesReply
    February 24, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I have noticed that since you received your present that your directions include using it. Is this just a coincidence ?

    • the south in my mouth
      the south in my mouthReply
      February 25, 2010 at 11:40 pm

      Actually, it’s kind of a coincidence. Sort of. Not really…

  2. Terrell Jones
    Terrell JonesReply
    February 26, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Good answer!

  3. Corina
    CorinaReply
    January 6, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Hello. I am hoping you can tell me something about the pig painting you posted a picture of on this site. Do you know anything about it? A friend of mine got a copy of the same one and has been searching for any information about it that she can find. Do you know who painted it or the title? There is no information about it online. We would greatly any information that you may have.

    • the south in my mouth
      the south in my mouthReply
      January 8, 2011 at 1:15 am

      I wish I knew. I bought it at a gallery and have not been able to find any information on the artist either. I just feel better that my two favorite things – wine and pork – are in the same portrait. I didn’t know there was more than one copy, which I’m slightly sad about!

  4. Linda VanHoose
    Linda VanHooseReply
    December 4, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Hello, I just stumbled upon your website looking for a pork tenderloin and mushrooms to make for dinner tonight and couldn’t believe what I saw. My pig painting! We saw this painting while touring the Brenthaven, the Southern Living house in Nashville back in 2000. We recreated the house in Paducah, KY, and incorpated several things in our build and decor. Piggy is one of those things. While that painting was sold, my husband contacted the decoratator who put him in touch with the artist and he commissioned another painting for me in celebration of our anniversary. We were told these were the ony two in existence — the original in the Brenthaven and ours. We have had it at least eight to nine years and hangs in our butler’s pantry like in the Nasvhille house. I have noticed that ours is signed whereas yours, the last name is printed.

    • the south in my mouth
      the south in my mouthReply
      December 7, 2011 at 12:26 am

      Wow! I bought that painting from an antiques dealer in Cool Springs. It combined two of my favorite things – my love of pork and my love of wine. I had no idea any others existed or who the artist was. Thanks so much for posting! Isn’t the internet great?

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