Fennel: Roast Pork with Fennel Stuffing

Try this delicious stuffing - it's comfort food with a twist.

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Serves 6

This pork dish is home cooking at its best. I like to serve it with mashed potatoes seasoned with minced fresh chives, parsley, and thyme; gravy made from the pan juices; and Sugar Snap peas sautéed with fresh ginger and garlic. Because my family loves stuffing, I sometimes double the amount and bake it separately in a covered casserole at 350°F for about 45 minutes.

  • Boned and rolled pork loin, about 3 pounds
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium Florence fennel bulb
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cups dry bread cubes
  • 2 tart cooking apples, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage, or
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten

1. Untie the pork loin and unfold it. Season the outside with pepper. Refrigerate the meat until time to roast it.

2. Wash the fennel bulb, and cut off and discard the stems and greens. Halve the bulb lengthwise, place the halves, cut side down, on a cutting board, and chop them into 1/4-inch pieces.

3. In a medium frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the fennel and onion and sauté for 10 minutes, or until translucent. Stir occasionally to keep the vegetables from sticking.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

5. In a large bowl, put the bread cubes, sautéed vegetables, and apples. Sprinkle the sage, celery seeds, and broth over the top. Mix and season to taste. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

6. Lay the pork loin out and spread the stuffing mixture on one half. (If the stuffing won’t all fit, put the extra in a small greased ovenproof dish, cover, and bake for about 45 minutes.) Fold the second half of the pork over the stuffing. Tie four or five pieces of string around the loin, including one around the ends.

7. Place the stuffed pork on a rack in a small roasting pan. Roast for a little longer than 2 hours, or until a meat thermometer registers 175° to 180°F. Let the roast stand for 10 minutes, then transfer to a serving platter. Remove the strings and cut the roast into 1-inch slices.

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