Bread stuffings are common with roasts, but rice stuffings are a wonderful alternative. In this main-dish pork recipe we use a mixture of wild rice, dried cherries and pork sausage to create a stuffing that will have your family asking for seconds.
Prepare stuffing: Rinse rice in a strainer, lifting the rice with your fingers to thoroughly clean under cold running water about 1 minute; drain. Combine rice, water, rosemary and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat. Stir in dried cherries; set aside.
Cook sausage and onion in a large skillet until sausage is browned and onion is tender. Drain fat. Stir in parsley, thyme and ground pepper. If necessary, drain the reserved cooked rice mixture to remove liquid. Stir cooked rice mixture into sausage mixture. Set aside.
Prepare pork: Trim fat from pork. Butterfly the meat by making a lengthwise cut down the center of the meat, cutting to within 1/2 inch of the other side. Spread open. Place knife in the V of the first cut. Cut horizontally to the cut surface and away from the first cut to within 1/2 inch of the other side of the meat. Repeat on opposite side of the V. Spread these sections open. Cover the roast with plastic wrap. Working from center (thicker part) to edges, pound with flat side of a meat mallet until meat is 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Make sure the meat is a uniform thickness. Remove plastic wrap. Set meat aside.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread the reserved stuffing over the surface of the butterflied roast. Roll loin into a spiral, beginning with a short side. Tie meat with clean 100%-cotton heavy kitchen string. (Wrap several strands of string crosswise around the meat and tie securely.) Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Insert an ovenproof meat thermometer in center of roast. Roast, uncovered, for 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours or until thermometer registers 155 degrees F, covering ends of meat after 45 minutes to keep rice moist. Transfer meat to a serving platter. Cover loosely with foil and let stand 15 minutes before carving. (The temperature of the roast after standing should be 160 degrees F.)
Prepare pan gravy: Add 1 cup water to pan, scraping up browned bits. Whisk together the 1/3 cup cold water and the flour in a large skillet. Whisk in pan juices. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more.
Remove string from pork roast; discard. Slice roast; serve with pan gravy. If desired, garnish with tart red cherries and fresh thyme sprigs.
To make ahead: Prepare the wild rice and sausage stuffing and butterfly the roast the day before. Cover and refrigerate separately for up to 24 hours. Stuff the pork and roast as directed.
6 lean protein, 1/2 fat, 1/2 fruit, 1/2 starch