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Pork Loin Stuffed with Greens & Garlic

Pork Loin Stuffed with Greens & Garlic
The loin, or the upper back section of the pig between the shoulder and the leg, is one of the most tender cuts of pork. The long, thin pork center loin is often sliced into boneless chops. In this recipe, the whole center loin is cut crosswise into 2 equal pieces, which are laid together, stuffed and tied with kitchen twine to make a thicker, more compact roast.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chopped Swiss chard
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 boneless pork loin roast, about 7 lb., trimmed of fat
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh sage or 1 Tbs. dried
  • Wood chips or chunks, soaked for 30 minutes and drained

Directions:

For a charcoal grill: Build a fire in a covered charcoal grill and let the coals burn until covered with white ash. Using tongs, spread the coals on both sides or around the perimeter of the fire bed and place a drip pan in the center. Light a second batch of coals in another fireproof container and use them to replenish the fire as the first coals die out.

For a gas grill: Preheat on medium-high heat. Keep one burner on medium-high, turn off the other burner(s) and place a drip pan below the rack on the cool side.

Meanwhile, wash the chard and with its rinsing water still clinging to it, put it in a large fry pan over medium heat, cover and steam until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, add the olive oil, two-thirds of the garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let cool. Squeeze the chard gently to remove excess liquid.

Cut the pork loin lengthwise into 2 equal pieces. Place the pork loin halves, cut sides up, on a work surface, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the chopped chard down the center of one piece and cover with the other piece, cut side down. Tie in 4 or 5 places with kitchen twine to make a cylindrical roast. Rub the outside of the roast with the remaining garlic. Rub with salt, pepper and the sage.

Sprinkle the wood chips on the coals, or add in a perforated foil packet to a gas grill. Arrange the roast in the center of the grill over the drip pan. Cover the grill and cook, maintaining the heat at medium-high, for 1 hour, adding more coals as needed. Check for doneness by cutting into the center of the roast or testing with an instant-read thermometer. The pork should be slightly pink at the center and still juicy, and the internal temperature should register 150°F. Continue cooking as needed.

Transfer the pork to a platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut into slices and serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.

Adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook, Edited by Chuck Williams (Free Press, 2008).