- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2005

It’s always fun to set something a bit out of the ordinary on the table for dinner, whether it’s for guests or whether it’s a family meal.

This rolled, stuffed pork dish would make an appetizing, eye-catching centerpiece — and it would make any meal special. It has a touch of Middle Eastern flavor, a hint of Asian influence, layering textures and tastes in a decorative presentation that belies its looks; it’s not complicated to make.

The sweet and savory forbidden-rice stuffing includes two long-prized foods that are now recognized as gratifyingly nutritious, too — tangy dried apricots and crunchy walnuts.

Don’t be daunted by the listing of “forbidden rice” among ingredients. This is a medium-sized variety of Chinese black rice, prized for nutty taste, soft texture and deep color, available nationally in many markets or online. If you can’t find it or don’t want to use it, regular white rice is a quite acceptable substitute.

Stuffed pork loin with forbidden rice, apricot and walnut stuffing

The preparation time is 30 minutes, and the cooking time is about 1 hour, 25 minutes, or until internal temperature is 160 degrees.

1 cup forbidden rice (or white rice)

13/4 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup finely chopped white onion

1 cup (4 ounces) chopped toasted walnuts

Coarse salt, to taste

Ground white (or black) pepper, to taste

1 cup (about 5 ounces) chopped dried apricots

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

2 eggs, beaten together

1 3-pound boneless pork loin roast, butterflied

2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or nonstick cooking spray

In a medium saucepan, combine the rice and broth and bring to a boil over high heat.

Stir well, reduce the heat to low, then cover and cook for 25 to 35 minutes, until the broth is mostly absorbed. Set aside, off heat and covered, for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter over moderate heat in a medium skillet. Add the onion and cook gently, stirring frequently, until softened. Add the walnuts and continue to cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes longer.

Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, or to taste, then scrape the mixture into a large bowl. When the rice is ready, add it to the walnut mixture, then stir and toss with a fork to combine.

Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Add the apricots, parsley, chives and eggs to the rice mixture, then stir briskly until evenly mixed. Set aside.

Lay the pork loin out flat on your work surface. Spread it with the garlic, then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Spread the cooled rice mixture over the meat, then roll the loin up, snugly like a carpet.

Using heavy-duty string, tie the roast firmly around its circumference in three or four places, at 2-inch intervals. If some of the stuffing oozes from the ends, just push it back in.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the oil in a heavy, ovenproof skillet, or coat the skillet with nonstick cooking spray and place over high heat. Brown the rolled-up roast all over, turning it frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes. Place in the oven and cook until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 160 degrees, about 1 to 1½ hours.

Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 15 minutes. With a long, sharp knife, cut crosswise into slices ½ to 3/4 inch thick. Makes 10 servings.

This recipe was created by Fiesta Market chef Sherri Thrower for the Walnut Marketing Board. The board is offering a free brochure, “Sensational Walnut Recipes,” with recipes from top chefs to help with fall and holiday meal planning. To obtain the brochure, consumers can call 800/758-2100; or write to the Walnut Marketing Board at 847 Sansome St., First Floor, San Francisco, CA 94111; or visit: www.walnuts.org.

Forbidden rice may be ordered from WorldPantry.com at 866/972-6879, or online at: www.lotusfoods.com.

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