Pork with Herbes de Provence
A few weeks ago I got a nice surprise in the mail:
I don’t usually keep herbes de provence on hand, let alone a huge box of them, so I wasn’t sure what to do with my newfound friend. One whiff of the box and I was thinking one thing: pork. But how to ensure that each bite of pork would taste deliciously herbaceous? Stuff that pork!
The pork I ended up with was a very economical yet ethically produced pork butt from Beeler Farms via The Wedge. If I were feeling lazy and had a lot of time, I might just rub down the outside of the roast with herbs, salt, pepper and oil and roast it slow for a few hours, then pull the pork in order to distribute the herb flavor. But since I only had a couple of hours for roasting and was feeling slightly less lazy, instead I cut the roast into a big, flat sheet o’ meat. This is actually really easy: I just started making a cut into the roast about a half inch from the edge and kept cutting, always keeping 1/2″ of meat under my knife and rolling the roast away. If you want to get really fancy you can pound this to an even thickness.
At this point, the meat is ready to be stuffed, which is to say covered in stuff. Inspired by my herbs-by-mail, I made an herb paste. I used probably a third cup of herbes de provences, mixed with olive oil, a chopped shallot, lots of salt, and cracked pepper and slathered it liberally on the meat.
With herb paste covering the whole surface, I rolled it back together. With a little twine it was good as new, but with surprises hidden inside, peaking out the edges. At this point, it was practically begging me to sear it and roast it at 350°F to an internal temperature of 145°F.
The great thing about taking the trouble to stuff and roll a roast like this is that it distributes the herb flavor throughout the meat, rather than having it hang out on the surface. Additionally, because it doesn’t require flavorings to be applied to the outside of the roast, you can sear the meat without getting the bitter flavors of burnt herbs.
And then there’s the presentation. Each slice has a little spiral of green goodness encircling fields of pink pork. If you should be so fortunate as to be gifted with a box of herbs through the mail, there are worse ways to show them off.