I can't take any more snow. I am sick to death of my parka and my boots and if I never eat another stew or casserole it will still be too soon. If I stay indoors on a day like today, I can just pretend it's a beautiful spring afternoon. The sun is shining and the house is full of light and feels warm and lovely so I decided to cook something that felt like summer. I have been eyeing this Emeril recipe for a grilled pork loin with orange juice, cumin and cilantro for some time and today just felt like the day. Because I wanted to make it just a bit more substantial, I stuffed it with a mixture of couscous, onion, garlic, pancetta, pumpkin seeds and a bit of arugula.
It ended up being the perfect meal - the pork tasted citrusy and summery but the stuffing made it feel just a tiny bit more filling. We had it with basmati rice with cumin seed and green peas and a big arugula salad.
Orange Cumin Pork Stuffed With Couscous
adapted from Orange, Cumin and Cilantro Grilled Pork Loin by Emeril
1/3 cup couscous
1/3 cup boiling water
pinch kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped pancetta
1 tbls finely chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 finely chopped onion or shallot
small handful of toasted, salted pumpkin seeds
handful of arugula, washed, rinsed and chopped
1 boneless pork loin
2 tbls olive oil
1 tbls kosher salt
2 tsp cumin
generous grinds of black pepper
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbls Greaves orange, grapefruit and lemon marmalade
2 to 3 tbls chopped cilantro
to make stuffing, boil the water, pour over the couscous and cover and set aside while you do the rest. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and cook the pancetta and onion for a few minutes until it just starts to show colour. Add the celery and garlic and continue to sauté until the pancetta is starting to get crispy. Remove from heat. Go and take the lid off of the couscous and throw in the arugula and pumpkin seeds, stir to mix it in so it can wilt a bit and then add in the pancetta mixture and set it aside to cool.
once the stuffing has cooled:
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Lazy Pork Loin Stuffing Method Ahead:
Take a sharp, thin knife like a fish boning knife and cut a slit through the centre of the pork loin from one end to the other. You can also just use the handle of a wooden spoon from the start or use it to insert into the hole you just cut and try to move it around and start to make a channel that runs through the centre of the pork. I then used my fingers to open the hole up more and it's ready to stuff with the couscous. This is messy business so make sure you are on a big cutting board. Start to stuff the couscous mixture into the hole in the centre of the pork and push it down so it goes down to the centre of the pork. Continue to force the couscous in until that half of the pork loin is stuffed. Turn it around and do the same thing from the other side so that when you are done, the stuffing runs the entire length of the loin.
In a bowl, mix together the orange juice, lime juice, vinegar and marmalade. Set aside.
Rub the pork loin all over with the olive oil and season it with the cumin, salt and pepper. Heat the sauté pan again over med heat and put the pork loin, fat side down and brown it all over. When it's all brown remove it to whatever roasting pan you are using (I always roast in a cast iron skillet). Drizzle the orange juice sauce over the pork (I made sure that there was a heap of marmalade on the top of the pork and spread it around a bit ) and put it in the oven and cook until the internal temp reads about 140F ( my loin was about 1.5 lbs and it took about 35 minutes). Remove it from the oven, take it out the pan and tent it with foil. Let it sit for about ten minutes.
Meanwhile, I put the cast iron pan I roasted it in on the burner over medium heat and added a glug of white wine, brought it to a boil and let it reduce for a minute or two. Remove from heat, stir in the cilantro and use that to pour over the pork after you slice it thinly.