Rolled pork with spicy ajvar stuffing
December 20, 2017
What’s a holiday feast without a proper roast, sizzling seductively while you take it out of the oven. Throw in fragrant spices and a fantastic combination of walnuts and ajvar, and it becomes a true gourmet pleasure for all meat lovers.
The most challenging part of this recipe is preparation, of course, and a good butcher who will cut the meat just right so it will roll up easily, and none of the stuffing will leak from the edges. The stuffing itself should be thick, for everything to stay in place, and to get that lovely red spiral when you slice the meat. Tie up the meat with a clean string that is 100% natural fibers. It’s important to make sure that the string contains no plastic which could melt during baking, and cut into the meat. The general rule for all large pieces of meat such as this one, that take a long time to bake, is to never pit it directly on the bottom of the pan. One reason is so that the meat wouldn’t stick, the other, so that all the juices from the top would flow evenly over the entire surface of the roast. You can always use a couple of clean sprigs of rosemary to make a base for your roast. Also, weave whole sprigs of rosemary through the string you’ve tied the meat up with, not only will it give your roast a wonderful aroma, it will help it keep it’s shape.
- Prep: 1 hr 20 mins
- Cook: 2 hrs
- Yields: 8-10 servings
1.5kg of pork meat prepped for rolling
500g thinly sliced pancetta
2 tsp of dried ground or crushed peppers
4 tbs of ajvar
10 fresh sprigs of rosemary
Night before roasting:
Finely chop the leaves of one strand of rosemary, mix with salt, pepper, lemon juice and two tbsp of oil, then rub the mixture thoroughly into the meat.
Make the stuffing:
Grind 200g of walnuts, add 3 tsp of dry ground pepper, you can use hot pepper if you prefer, and ajvar. Mix thoroughly. The mass should be thick and compact so it wouldn’t leak from the meat.
Spread over ¾ of the meat leaving a few centimeters free at the edges, roll the meat and wrap the whole pice with thin slices of pancetta. Tie up the meat along and across with string , and weave with rosemary strings on all sides except the bottom. Save 4 strings of rosemary for later. Wrap the meat tightly in cling film, and leave over night in the fridge.
On baking day:
Clean 4 strings of rosemary of leaves, and place them across at the bottom of the baking dish, to make a base for the meat to rest on. Remove the cling film and place the meat on the rosemary strings, seal the dish well with aluminum foil, and bake at 180C for 1:30h. Then remove the foil, and bake until the meat and pancetta get a nice ruddy color.
After baking, remove the meat from the dish and leave to cool thorughly before you start cutting.