How To Stuff a Pig–Braciole di Maiale

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Pork Braciole – Last Recipe in the Braciole Series

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Buon giorno!

There she is! The siren! See her there – swimming naked in a blushing pool of coral loveliness – shamelessly waiting to be noticed  – looking back with a “come hither” glance. It is in her saucy nature to ask her admirers, “lookin’ for a good time?”  She waits – she knows – she owns all who gaze upon her longing for just one more… This one, this sizzling vamp, this BRACIOLE DI MAIALE is the sexy dish, they’ll be talking about long after you serve it!

Got your attention? Focus!!

So maybe it’s not the stuff of the romance novels with which you are familiar, I know – I know –  IT’S PORK– but it darn well presses all MY buttons for sure! This BRACIOLE DI MAIALE or PORK BRACIOLE is one of those great dishes that does not take a monumental effort, but has maximum impact. It is stunning, romantic, oozing with flavor, and ablaze with color and interest – yeah it’s hot!

However, “Her Hotness” is actually an easy dish to put together. Great dishes, don’t have to be complicated. Not difficult – Think about it: a butterflied pork tenderloin, stuffing piled on top, you roll it up, tie it and— then turn your attention to the incredibly flavorful sauce which is equally easy to make, and sure to please. Simple enough?

THIS little piggy: The pork tenderloin is the “little princess”- “the jewel” among piggy parts. This cut is very tender and easy to prepare, but, at the same time, is not really going to knock your sox off in the flavor department. For this reason, your preparation and the flavors/ingredients you add to it are critical, if  you want your tenderloin to be memorable. Your pork tenderloin will be as flavorful as YOU decide to make it. It will also demonstrate your respect for the cut in NOT overcooking it. To overcook this delicious and tender little darling is really sad and unnecessary – not to mention that it wrecks any promise of a juicy and tender mouthful, unless you enjoy chewing cotton.

Solution? DON”T DO IT! You will find, in this recipe, that we merely sear the stuffed meat quickly, and then simmer it for only 30 minutes in the oven. That’s IT! That is all it truly needs.

More piggy: Note the use of salt pork in the sauce. Because this has so much flavor on its own, no additional salt is needed in the sauce. The salt pork, melting away as it cooks, will do it all – and you really don’t use that much of it. I like to divide the salt pork into small packages when I purchase it and freeze them. I pull them out as I need them. A tip: chop it up when it’s partially frozen. It is much easier to chop this way, and it will not move and squish all over your board. A sharp knife slides right through it.

The last little piggy is in the stuffin’: The stuffing in this recipe, which includes more pork in the form of sausage, adds flavor as well as interest to the dish. I mean really – look at it – gorgeous thick slices of juicy meat, full of color, texture, and interest. Each slice is almost a meal in itself with: rich Italian sausage, fresh spinach, roasted red peppers , and fresh mozzarella. If you like, for the mozzarella, try the smoked for a little change. This is delicious when paired with the sausage – earthy, with another level of great flavor!

A word about great pork: Meat is not just meat, and pork is not just pork – which is the reason I want to talk a little about: Circle B Ranch , owned and operated by Marina and John Backes, and their pork products from the Ozarks. Follow the link here and at Linda’s Italian Table website to hear about pork as you may not have imagined it. Circle B Ranch is certified to raise Heritage breeds such as Berkshire/Kurabota and Red Wattle in the most natural way from birth to harvest. Heritage breeds must have special genetic characteristics, and also must be raised on organic and sustainable farms. That means, the animals graze openly in their beautiful pastures. See the photo, here showing the sows teaching their young how to forage for acorns, nuts etc. Their delicious meat reflects the way they feed, graze etc. – all natural with no growth hormones, antibiotics and other additives. Circle B Ranch pork is a superior product that I feel fortunate to associate with on my website and to use in my Italian recipes. Check out their website, read their interesting story, and order and enjoy their great pork cuts. I know you’ll appreciate the difference!

Pigs grazing

“Wild thing – you make my heart sing!”

 

PORK BRACIOLE

(BRACIOLE DI MAIALE)

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Serves: 4

Prep: 30 min.

Cook: 35 min.

Ingredients

1 1/3-1 1/2 lb. Pork Tenderloin – butterflied, opened up and pounded a little to make a thin slab of meat (For the best Pork Tenderloin experience order from: Circle B Ranch)

Olive Oil

1/3 c. Pecorino Romano Cheese – grated

1/8 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

At least a cup of packed baby spinach leaves – or enough to cover the surface of the meat.

1/2 lb. Mild Italian Sausage – taken out of casings, crumbled and browned in a tbsp. Olive Oil

About 4-5 large pieces of Roasted Peppers – or enough to cover the center of the stuffing (roasted peppers in the jar are fine for this or roast your own using this link: Sovana and the Mystery Dish)

Sliced Fresh Mozzarella – sliced thinly – enough to cover the stuffing in a nice layer (8 oz. ball will work)

String – cut in several 10 inch pieces to tie the stuffed tenderloin

Instructions

Butterfly or have your butcher butterfly and open up your pork tenderloin, pounding a little with a mallet to make flat and create a wide surface for stuffing.

Rub surface of opened tenderloin with some olive oil.

Sprinkle with grated cheese and red pepper flakes.

Follow with  the spinach leaves laid across the surface.

Pork a

Spread the crumbled, browned sausage over the top.

Pork b

Place roasted peppers on the sausage.

Pork c

Lay the mozzarella cheese slices over the peppers.

Pork d (2)

Face the meat horizontally, and fold in the two ends – so that stuffing will not escape.

Begin rolling the tenderloin away from you on the long horizontal side, thumbs underneath and use fingers to hold back the stuffing as you roll.

When meat is completely rolled, place it so that the open seam is underneath and begin to tie the roast with strings. Use as many as you need to secure. Cut off the long ends of the strings.

Pork 1

SAUCE AND FINISHING

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil

2 Tbsp. Butter

1/4 c. Chopped Salt Pork (easier to cut if salt pork is slightly frozen)

1 onion – chopped

1 c. Dry Vermouth

2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste

1/2 c. Beef Stock or Broth

Fresh Chopped Basil or Flat Leaf Parsley for garnish

1/4 – 1/3 c. Rinsed drained tiny capers

Instructions

Put oil and butter in a large pot. Add salt pork. Cook a couple of minutes. Then add the onion and continue cooking at medium high about 5 more minutes.

Place the Stuffed Tenderloin in the pan. Turn it and brown on all sides.

Pork 2

Pork 3

Add the Vermouth and cook another 3 minutes on medium high.

Mix tomato paste with the stock or broth to dilute. Add to the pot and stir.

Pork 4

Place the pot in a 400 degree oven uncovered for 30 minutes. Turn the tenderloin a few times during this period so the sauce will soak into all sides.

Pork 5

Remove the pot from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes – This is IMPORTANT – do not cut into it until after it rests. You can, however, snip off the strings, as the pork rests, and discard them.

To Serve:

Slice the tenderloin THICKLY.

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1.You can use the sauce with pasta such as Fusilli Pugliese, Strozzapretti, Orecchiette, Penne Pasta or similar – with the thickly sliced pork on the side. Garnish with the fresh basil or parsley and sprinkle with capers.

2.Another way to serve it: Lay the thick slices in some of the beautiful sauce, with some roasted sliced potatoes on the side. Again, garnish with fresh basil or parsley, and sprinkle with capers.

Either way, this PORK BRACIOLE is a winning dish every time –seductive, tender, juicy, and the sauce —oh, the sauce! Because of the richness of the sauce and the stuffing, I like a bolder red with this pork, perhaps a beautiful Chianti Classico, like L’Aura Chianti Classico 2008 DOCG from Azienda Agricola di Castellina or a Barbera D’Albalike Lo Zoccolaio Sucule 2007.

Ahhh! Just try to forget her…

PARLA COME MANGI!

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