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Mar 27, 2014

The Schattenreich Recipes: Sebastian's Kitchen

Rolled Pork Roast with Bread Stuffing

Book 2 of the Schattenreich
In Shaky Ground*, Sebastian von der Lahn prepares a rolled pork roast that he serves to Caitie and his sister, Bertha von der Lahn. I wanted to reproduce his culinary accomplishment which entailed making the stuffing and rolling the pork roast. In Germany, the rolled roasts are usually ready-made and available at the supermarket butcher counter (or at the butcher's) and usually come with a filling of onions and speck or sauerkraut. So doing the whole thing from scratch was somewhat of a challenge.

*(also available at Kobo and Wizard's Tower Press, to name just two)

I had a very attentive advisor during the preparation phase, ready to help me should I require it.
Miezie Ramses completely fails to comprehend why we need to cook the meat. But he is patient. Sort of.

Helpfully, the friendly butcher at my local supermarket cut the pork roast for me. So I cheated. Shoot me. She asked if she should demonstrate the cut for me, and how could I refuse that?

My pre-cut pork shoulder roast, ready to unfold like a book and stuff

It's a basic butterfly cut. Take a standard pork roast - a good kilogram or more is really necessary - and cut lengthwise about two thirds from the top of the roast. Go near to the end, but don't cut all the way through or you'll have two pieces of meat (it's going to fold out like a book). Then cut the upper third of the meat - it's sitting like a lump now on top - again going towards the end but not cutting all the way through. Voila! You now have your unfolded pork roast.

This video from Allrecipes Deutschland shows how to do it perfectly. You should probably watch it more than once if you're anything like me and need to see it done a few times to understand the process. Note: the video is in German, but it's really easy to just concentrate on the visuals and not worry about the language (and you might learn a few German words in the process! Javoll!) The recipe shown in the video uses a walnut-mushroom-onion-bacon (Speck) filling which looks pretty yummy.

I used a bread stuffing instead (see below for stuffing recipe). You will need the stuffing ingredients, some kitchen twine, scissors and a good cutting board to work with. Notice the layer of fat on the top of the roast. The butcher told me not remove that - it provides a lovely flavor while roasting.

Having everything ready makes the job easier and lessens the chance that a feline sneak attack will occur while off searching for missing supplies.

The video shows spreading the stuffing all out at once. I just spread it as I rolled - shown below - the so-called rollalong method (that was a seismologist joke, sorry.) The results are the same. Don't forget to salt and pepper the inside of the roast before stuffing and rolling.

Do not let the meat know you are afraid of it.
Next comes the trussing. There's lots of fancy ways to do this (and you can be sure that Sebastian von der Lahn does it the fancy way). Just make sure whatever way you use to truss, that it holds the roast together. I managed it somehow, but wouldn't call my results esthetically pleasing, although sticking in the rosemary branches added a nice festive touch (and a lot of flavor). I also can't wrap presents either. We all have our talents, right?

Raw, rolled roast

After roasting and resting. I did not use a rotisserie.

 After stuffing, slide the roast onto a rotisserie or pop into a pan (I used an oil-coated, shallow ceramic roaster) just a bit larger than the roast. Without the rotisserie you'll probably have to turn the roast a time or two to get even browning. Set the oven temperature for 180o C (350o F) and put the roast in the middle of the oven. You'll need a meat thermometer to check doneness - pork roast should be well done but not overdone. Mine took a good hour to roast, but this will vary depending on the cut or type of oven, etc. The pork is done when it reaches 63o C or 145o F internal temperature.

Just be sure to insert the thermometer into the meat and not the stuffing! I then let the roast rest for a good ten minutes before slicing.

A few suggested accompaniments: freshly sautéed sliced red cabbage, roasted or mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes or celeriac, slow-cooked grean beans, fresh salad or chile pepper cole slaw

Bread Stuffing for Pork Roast (based on 1kg roast)*

2 celery stalks
1 medium onion
1 or 2 garlic cloves (to taste)
1 medium carrot
Herbs to taste - parsley, thyme, marjoram
1 tsp good Dijon mustard
4 Tbsp Olive oil (4 generous splashes in the pan) or equivalent melted butter
Salt and pepper to taste

4-6 cups well-dried bread (day old or toasted), cut into small cubes

Chop vegetables into small pieces and sauté in the oil or butter until softened. Add herbs, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

Mix well with the cubed bread (do not discard the oil or butter!) If the bread still seems too moist (this happened to me), sauté the bread cubes at the end with the vegetables for a minute or two until the cubes are lightly browned. Let cool before stuffing the pork roast.

*Note: quantities are approximate - you'll probably have leftover stuffing. Not a tragedy.Just roast the extra stuffing with the pork with a few extra drizzles of olive oil/butter.