I had company over. They are close friends and were brave enough to come even though I was trying something new. I have been meaning to try Berbere Spice, a North African seasoning. So, I fired up the Louisiana Grills Pellet Smoker and made Berbere Pork Loin.
First, a disclaimer. This is not a classical North African dish. This is me smoking a pork loin using Berbere spice and a stuffing with apple and currants to faintly nod towards some of the flavours of North Africa. It is my humble attempt at using the flavours from that area.
I started by trimming the excess fat off the pork loin. You only want it to be about 1/8 inch thick. Save that fat for sausages!
I was using a loin that had been frozen and was till partially frozen. You can do the following process with a thawed loin but it is easier partially frozen.
I made a cut that was about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick along the top of the loin stopping 1/4 inch before going all the way through.
Then I went the opposite direction 1/4 to 3/8 inch below that cut in the opposite direction, again, stopping 1/4 inch before cutting all the way through.
I continued making cuts below the previous one in the opposite direction through the rest of the loin.
These cuts allowed me to open the loin out into a long strip.
I put the butter in a large pot and melted it over medium heat. I put 175 ml (3/4 cup) small diced onion and 125 ml (1/2 cup) small dice celery in it. I sauteed until they were soft and translucent. I put 2 ml (1/2 teaspoon) of Berbere spice in and sauteed for 30 seconds. I added 1/2 apple that had been cored, peeled and small diced and 50 ml (1/4 cup) dried currants (you could use chopped raisins). I sauteed for two more minutes.
I removed it from the heat and added 125 ml) 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs, 15 ml (1 tablespoon) water and 125 grams (1/3 pound) bulk sausage. I mixed them together well.
I spread the stuffing on the opened pork loin strip, rolled it like a jelly role and tied it to hold its shape.
Dust the roast with some Berbere spice.
I preheated the pellet smoker to 350 F.
Then I put the celery, onions and garlic in a roasting pan. I put a rack on the pan and the roast on the rack. I put the pan and loin in the smoker.
This could be done in a 350 F oven if you don’t mind losing the smoke flavour.
After 30 minutes, I added the chicken stock to the pan.
I cooked the pork loin to an internal temperature of 155 F which took 1 hour 20 minutes from the time I put it in the smoker. I took the loin out and put it on a cutting board to rest while I made the sauce.
The pan with the roasted onion, celery and garlic was taken to the range.
I added the water, wine, soy sauce and Berbere spice to the pan and brought it to a boil. I boiled it for two or three minutes, scraping any bits up from the bottom of the pan.
Strain the sauce into a small pot. If you trimmed the fat well, there shouldn’t be too much fat on the sauce but if there is, defat the liquid by putting a turkey baster into the liquid to suck it out from under the fat.
Add the cornstarch and water slurry to the liquid and heat over medium heat until thickened and glossy.
Carve the roast and serve with the sauce.
We served it with salads She Who Must Be Obeyed made from our first crop of spinach and lettuce from the garden.
This was absolutely wonderful. I expected complex rich flavours but it surpassed my expectations. There was a touch of heat but not enough to get a beating from the wife. The Berbere spice has a complexity that balanced well with the sweet touches from the fruit in the stuffing. However, the star was the sauce. I could just sit down with a bowl of it and a spoon and be happy.
This was a total success.
The Old Fat Guy
- 800 gram (1 3/4 pound) pork loin roast
- 25 ml (2 tablespoons) butter
- 175 ml (3/4 cup) onion diced small
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) celery diced small
- 2 ml (1/2 teaspoon) Berbere spice
- 1/2 apple, cored, peeled, diced small
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) dry bread crumbs
- 125 grams (1/3 pound) bulk sausage
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) Berbere Spice
- 1/2 onion cut into chunks
- 1 stalk celery cut into chunks
- 2 clove garlic peeled and cut in half
- 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) chicken stock
- 250 ml (1 cup) water
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) white wine
- 25 ml (2 tablespoons) soy sauce
- 1 ml (1/4 teaspoon) Berbere spice
- 10 ml (2 teaspoons) corn starch
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) cold water
- Trim excess fat from the loin roast.
- Cut 1/4 to 3/8 inches from the top of the roast stopping 1/4 inch before going all the way through.
- Cut in the opposite direction 1/4 to 3/8 inch below the first cut stopping 1/4 inch before going all the way through.
- Continue making cuts below the next one until there is only 1/4 inch left.
- Open the roast into a long strip.
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the onion and celery and saute until translucent and soft.
- Add the 2 ml (1/2 teaspoon) Berbere spice and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add the apple and currants and saute for 2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the bread crumbs and sausage. Mix well.
- Spread the stuffing on the spread out pork roast.
- Roll the roast like a jelly roll and tie with butcher's string.
- Dust the roast with the 5 ml (1 teaspoon) Berbere spice.
- Put the onion chunks, celery chunks and garlic in a roasting pan.
- Put a rack on the pan and put the roast on the rack.
- Put the roast in a smoker or oven preheated to 350 F.
- Cook for 30 minutes and then add 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) chicken stock to the pan.
- Continue cooking until the internal temperature is 155 F, about 1 hour twenty minutes from putting it in the smoker.
- Take the roast out and let it rest while making the sauce.
- Add the water, wine, soy sauce and 1 ml (1/4 teaspoons) Berbere spice to the roasting pan.
- Put the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil for 2 to three minutes.
- Strain the sauce and defat if necessary.
- Make a slurry of the cold water and cornstarch.
- Add the slurry to the strained sauce and heat over medium heat until thickened and glossy.
- Carve the roast and serve with the sauce.