My younger brother Drew is an aspiring chef. I think for at least the last decade the kitchen has been Drew’s domain. Last year, at the age of 17, he published a calendar with beautiful pictures of some of his favorite creations, accompanied by recipe cards. He’s amazing, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my little brother. If I was stranded on an island and could only bring one thing, I’d bring him because we could quote Monty Python over some creative feast made out of coconuts and fish. “Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?” (Direct quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)
Anyway, I invited some friends over and decided to take a stab at Drew’s stuffed pork loin. I started with the biggest cut of meat I’ve ever purchased for myself: a 4 ½ pound pork roast. It was a little intimidating so I cut off about a pound (which I used to make pulled pork tacos about a week later: yum!), but it was still quite the feat to carve off the fat and then slice the whole thing in half, long ways. After marinating, it was stuffed with chorizo sausage, fresh cilantro and spinach, and some lime zest and juice. Once it was tied shut it kind of looked like a giant hoagie. It was a monster of meat!
The marinade ingredients included tequila, so it was only natural that my friends and I sipped on lime margaritas while the meat monster grilled and I simmered some colorful peppers and onions for the accompanying Mexican rice. The thick pork took about an hour to cook through, and we were all coughing on paprika that had infused the air, but the cooking process was my favorite part of the evening. All eight of us were crammed into the kitchen, engaging in separate conversations, sometimes all joining into one, listening to music, choking a bit on spices, and laughing. The food was more difficult and took longer to prepare than I had anticipated, but I couldn’t have been happier with my friends there to keep me company and pitch in where needed. It really was the perfect evening.
Back to the pork: it turned out to be incredible. I was worried I had overcooked it out of fear of subjecting everyone to raw meat consumption, but it was so juicy and tender, and the stuffing was the perfect complement! It brought a little heat, but the mild Mexican rice and vegetables kept the bite at bay. I also served a small tomato and cucumber salad as a palate cleanser. Our kitchen conversations easily transferred to the dinner table where the talking and laughing flowed as smoothly as our sweet margaritas.
Cheers, little bro! I couldn’t be prouder and am even more excited to try my hand at the other 11 recipe cards which include Gyro Burgers, Sausage and Goat Cheese Pizza, and Chocolate Zucchini Cake!