Adapted from Ad Hoc Cookbook
2 1/2 lb pork loin
1 large fennel bulb
1/2 cup of bread cubes (preferably an artisan bread such as ciabatta or baguette)
1 teaspoon minced garlic (roughly one clove of garlic)
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1 cup of fig jam
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
Ground black pepper
Optional- coarse sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Allow meat to rest and come to room temperature.
- Have a plate ready with paper towels on it.
- Cut the stalks from the fennel and trim the root end. Discard the thicker outer layers. Separate the inner layers and cut into thin strips, roughly a 1/2 inch wide.
- Heat canola oil over medium high heat. Add bread cubes and brown on all sides. Remove from oil and place onto paper towels.
- Add sliced fennel to oil and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and shallots and cook for 1 minute.
- Add fig jam and and warm throughout. Once mixture is warm add bread cubes, chicken stock, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until combine.
- Remove from heat and place in refrigerator (or freezer) to cool to room temperature.
- While mixture is cooling, take the pork loin at room temperature. Take a sharp long knife and cut a long horizontal cut through the center of the loin. Next make a long vertical cut through the center of loin. This will form an x in the center of the loin.
- Once filling is cooled, start stuffing into the loin. One can either fill in a pastry bag (if you have one and pipe it into the loin) or take a spoon and work the mixture throughout the loin.
- Once the loin is stuffed tie it with kitchen twine firmly. This step is optional. Tying it leaves a firm uniform loin, however a more rustic look will result if you do not tie. Season the outside of the loin with salt and pepper.
- In a large frying pan, heat canola oil on medium high heat until smoking. All the loin and brown on all sides, this will take 2 minutes per side.
- Transfer browned loin to roasting dish and roast for 30 to 40 minutes for medium to medium rare. If you prefer a more cooked pork loin cook for 1 hour or with a thermometer to the internal temperature you prefer.
Notes for the recipe:
- Fig jam is very widely available in supermarkets. I typically use the Dalmatia dried fig spread from whole foods. If you do not want to use fig jam and what an alternative, cranberry jam or any other tart fruit will suffice.
- Tying is not necessary but it will provide for a nice looking uniformly cooked loin. Here is a great explanation on how to tie meat
- The option coarse sea salt is for the seasoning on the outside of the loin. Sea salt provides an elevated flavor compared to kosher salt
- If the cutting of the cross in the loin seems daunting to you, another option is to cut the loin in one long rectangle then wrapping it around the stuffing. If you do this then tying is necessary to ensure that the loin is adhered. This recipe walks you through how to do this
- I will be using a large dutch oven for the entire meal. I have a roasting rack insert I put in after the browning is complete. I like to keep it in the same pot so I can mop up some of the juices and baste the loin during the roasting process.
- If you are feeling super adventurous and want to make your own fig jam this blog post has a great easy recipe without the need for fancy equipment.