Beloved wanted me to call this recipe “Straw, Sticks and Bricks” and I’m sorry to disappoint him, because when you think about it, it’s really a clever name for the dish. But I was afraid no one would ever find it if they looked for “bacon-wrapped, sausage-stuff pork loin roast,” because that’s really what this is. And, I’m almost ashamed to admit, I got the idea from…Rachel Ray.
I guess even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again.
Seriously, though – the minute I watched her make this Sunday morning, I knew I wanted to do a version of it as well. While she stuffed hers with a mixture of onions, fennel and ground pork and wrapped it in prosciutto, I stuffed mine with some ground pork I flavored with fennel seed, thyme and sage (it came out tasting remarkably like sweet Italian sausage, so that’s what the recipe calls for) and wrapped it in ordinary bacon. When asked what I was making for dinner, I replied, “The three little pigs!”
Hence the suggestion to name it “Straw, Sticks and Bricks.”
To my non-pork-eating readers, I apologize. To my pork loving readers, this was simple, and simply delicious. Really, the hardest thing about it is butterflying, or roll cutting, the roast, and tying it up with the kitchen twine to keep the bacon in place, neither of which are particularly difficult. Served with some homemade applesauce, this was very filling and surprisingly tasty.
There’s one thing I should mention, though: when Ms. Ray prepared this, she said, “Throw it in the oven for an hour.” Um, no – try closer to 3, which is why the cooking time is so ambiguous in the recipe itself. Begin checking the temperature at an hour; if it takes longer, it takes longer. And while I normally would cook a pork loin roast to an internal temp of 145 F, this should be cooked to 160 F, since few people find underdone sausage appealing. Don’t worry about the pork loin drying out – that’s what the bacon is there for! Well, beside the obvious reason of tasty, tasty bacon. (If it doesn’t take as much time to roast as anticipated, this reheats beautifully after it’s been sliced.)
Note: There was quite a bit of fat in the bottom of the roasting pan when I finally pulled it out of the oven, so the calorie and fat counts given in the recipe are overstated, by quite a bit, since my recipe software computed them based on the raw ingredients.
- 2 pound pork loin roast
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
- 8 ounces bacon
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Lay the pork loin on a cutting board, with short end facing you. Holding the knife parallel to work surface and beginning along one long side, cut about 1/2" above underside of roast. Continue slicing inward, pulling back the meat with your free hand and unrolling the roast like a carpet. Continue cutting and rolling the roast until it lays more or less flat in front of you. Cover the surface of the meat with wax paper and gently pound it with the flat end of a meat mallet until it is a uniform thickness.
- Sprinkle the surface of the meat lightly with salt and pepper, then spread the Italian sausage over the surface, leaving about a half-inch bare at the edges. Gently roll the roast up and set it on the cutting board, seam-down.
- Lay half the bacon strips flat on the cutting board, side by side, and carefully set the roast, again seam-down, on top of them. Lay the remaining bacon on top of the roast, then tie the entire package up with 4 or 5 pieces of kitchen twine, effectively wrapping the roast in the bacon.
- Place the wrapped roast on the rack of a roasting pan and place in the oven. Roast until the internal temperature of the roast reaches 160 F; this could take anywhere between 1 and 2 1/2 hours. Remove the roast from the oven and tent loosely with aluminum foil; allow it to rest at least 20 minutes before slicing.
- Serve with applesauce or a good chutney, if desired.
- Nutrition (per serving): 551 calories, 44.8g total fat, 133.8mg cholesterol, 707.3mg sodium, 606.1mg potassium, <1g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 33.8g protein