Friday, August 13, 2010

Fruit and Rosemary Stuffed Pork Loin

The first time I ever smelled fresh rosemary was as a nanny. I was fifteen years old and had been hired as a caretaker and cook for two year old twins the summer of my Junior year in high school. In Arizona, rosemary grows in bushes the size of Juniper shrubs and we use electric chainsaws to trim it. It sounds like a horror movie to all of you in the climates who have to nurture the little shrub-lings in tiny pots in your window boxes and cover them with towels to protect them from frost. Having spent most of my young life in the cold, I had not seen the herb growing wild. Yet here I was, new to Arizona, and my boss insisted there was some rosemary herbs growing in her yard. She also insisted that I could surely benefit greatly if I used her weeds in making dinners. She proudly pranced over to the shrub and tore off some of the tender shoots. Timidly I held the plant to my nose. I instantly fell in love. I think I walked around with a sprig up my nose the better part of the day. I was alone with two year old twins. I had a lovely green mustache for doing impressions of the Muppet's Swedish chef. I realize now that perhaps I was setting a bad example of how to carry herbs around the house. Hopefully the girls didn't need years of therapy after that display. I have no defense. I couldn't help myself! Rosemary was intoxicating. It was woodsy and hearty, unlike any of the dry pine-like needles I had seen in anemic jars in the kitchen spice rack. Fresh Rosemary is the aroma of breakfast sausage cooking on Christmas morning and inviting me to wake to a warm yellow glowing tree adorned with gifts. It was the scent of the first kiss I gave Ace after an Italian dinner where he asked me to be his wife. It's everything I adore. Now...we grow it in our garden as well. I have stopped walking around with sprigs up my nostrils. I'm sure that's a relief to hear.
This recipe is being shared on Freezer Friday...because I like to have it already made on hand for whenever I want a touch of simple elegance shoved between the bags of frozen hot dogs in my practical freezer. It just seems to classy up the joint. Let's face a mother, there are golden moments where dinner may not be gourmet...but it can be first class. Am I right? My kids eat this meal without reservation. Ace the vegetarian...well, he gets a lot of beautiful grilled vegetables and homemade bread. I don't hear him complain about the dinner. I also bake this one in our Solar Oven on especially hot days. That's the other bonus of living in the dessert...we get Solar cooking adventures. I like this one because you only need 3 ingredients!
Fruit and Rosemary Stuffed Pork Loin
2 lb lean maple marinated pork loin, cut open so it lays flat (I use D Dog BBQ maple rub overnight. )
6-7 dried apricots, plums, apples or golden raisins (or any combination of dried fruit you desire)
3T fresh rosemary, chopped
Arrange fruit on the fillet that has been butter-flied open (see photo). Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary.
Place on a 2 foot section of very heavy aluminum foil that has been lightly oiled. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roll fruit and rosemary into the meat.

Tightly roll in the foil and twist the ends closed.

Bake at 375 degrees until a meat thermometer registers 175 degrees (about an hour). Remove from the oven, cool and then place in the fridge. When cold, transfer to the freezer or slice and transfer individual servings to smaller freezer friendly containers.

To serve: Defrost stuffed pork in fridge overnight.
Heat out of foil in the microwave 5-7 minutes or individual slices 3-4 minutes.

However you do it...enjoy. There you go.

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