When I was growing up, one of my favourite breakfasts (and afternoon snacks) was peanut butter and jam sandwiches – with sweet, tangy jam mixing with the workmanlike savoury texture of the peanut. I’ve been trying to test whether certain ‘breakfast classics’ can translate to other courses lately, and well…I think you can see where I’m going with this.
This recipe is so simple, it’s fun and when you serve it, you’ll be proud of how cool it looks. That’s the ideal meal, isn’t it?
I know a couple of people who don’t like peanut butter (freaks!) – but fear not. I asked some of my friends on Instagram for more suggestions for fillings and received loads of really great ideas which you can also try (just substitute these ingredients for the PB&J!):
- Sautéed onion, garlic and mushrooms with either feta or blue cheese
- Liquorice, lemon peel and rum
- Apple sauce and cider
- Herby bread, apple, cranberry, celery and onion stuffing soaked in stock
- Onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon zest held together by beaten egg
Ok that list could go on all day, the point is you can put whatever you fancy in there and try it – because if you like the idea of the taste, you’ll usually like the finished product!
I'm sure you've had pork loin before, I'm sure you've had PB&J before, but never like this!
- Pork loin - 750g - 1kg (it will vary depending on your butcher or shop)
- Peanut butter - I use smooth PB for easy spreading, but crunchy can add a depth of texture
- Cherry jam - Fruit-in cherry jam is great, but raspberry or strawberry are awesome too
- Kitchen string - For tying the pork loin up
- Sea salt - 1 tbsp
- Pepper - 1 tbsp ground
- Olive oil - 3-4 tbsp For the roasting pan and the sealing process
- Get your pork loin onto a chopping board and cut it so that it's one long flat strip. It sounds difficult but it's not - imagine that the meat is a toilet roll, and you're unrolling it (by cutting and turning it into a 15mm strip). Ok that's a strange description, so look at this link for a picture: Once a chef. Got it? Ok.
- So now you've got a flat piece of pork, and what we're going to do is lay the filling on top of it and then roll it back up into its original shape, and then tie it with string. The first stuffing is peanut butter, so with a knife simply spread it over the whole of your pork loin. Don't spread the PB too thickly as it has a strong flavour which may overpower the jam if you're not careful
- Next spread your cherry jam on top of the peanut butter, again covering the whole piece of meat. Use plenty of jam (as I said, you don't want the flavour to be lost, plus it will keep the meat lovely and moist)
- You may think the tying process might be difficult, but trust me, the loin will stick to itself easily. My trick is to cut my four pieces of kitchen string (about 20-30 cm long) and lie them down on the kitchen worktop about one inch apart, in parallel. I then place the whole loin (with filling spread on) on top of the string, so that the ends of each piece of string stick out on both sides. This way once I roll up the pork loin, the string is already underneath, ready to be tied up. Try to put a piece of string about every 25mm or so. Ok I've talked way too much about this string - so roll up your pork loin with all your lovely jam and PB inside. Tie the string around it and pull them tight! Some filling will fall/squirt out - don't worry about it
- Next you want to take some sea salt and ground pepper and rub it all over the outside of the pork loin to season it. Don't worry if some bits fall off, just get plenty on there (I wrote a tablespoon, but you may need more or less depnding on the size of the meat)
- Ok, you're almost there! Now we're going to 'seal' the meat before putting it in the oven. Put one or two tablespoons of olive oil in a big frying pan and heat it at around 70% heat. Now pick up your tied pork loin and put it into the pan. You're trying to fry the outside of it to keep all the lovely juices inside, and don't worry if you make a bit of a mess, that's inevitable with this dish!
- Make sure you keep turning the pork loin in the frying pan so that you seal all of the outside (the whole lot should turn from pink to white). Make sure you don't forget to do the ends too! When you've fried every side for about 1 minute, take it out of the pan and put it into a roasting tin
- Put a couple more tablespoons of olive oil into the roasting tin and wipe your stuffed pork loin around in the oil (especially underneath it) to stop it from sticking
- Place the roasting tin into the middle of a preheated oven at 180 celsius / 360 farenheit and cook for one hour, checking every 15 minutes that it's not sticking to the tray (give it a nudge if it is)
- When it's finished in the oven bring it out onto a chopping/carving board and let it sit for a couple of minutes - or for longer if you put a tin foil 'tent' around it
- Cut into 20mm-30mm slices and serve with crispy roast potatoes, mushrooms and green vegetable like kale or broccoli