Christmas with the Chefs: Chef Courtney Bryant’s Holiday Pork Loin

BY kari luu

IMG_0794Courtney Bryant is known for her sustainable culinary delights in the Miho Gastrotruck seen moseying around San Diego. She is a graduate from the The Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida. Bryant obtained a great deal of cooking skills from travelling through various parts of the world such as China and Germany. Her favorite cuisine is Asian food as she feels she can even taste the history in it.

“I love how they utilize everything that’s around them to add depth and flavor to every dish,” she says, “and not only is it tasty and delicious, but it has health benefits. That’s what we should do, what we’re supposed to do. It’s amazing!”

Bryant’s Holiday Pork Loin is her latest endeavor and a delicious recipe for the season.

SDNR: How did you come up with this dish? Courtney Bryant: For this dish I just thought about what’s in season and it’s right before the holidays so using Suzie’s Farms sexy braising greens, nuts, cranberries and then mixing it all up with pork you couldn’t ask for a more festive dish for the holiday season.

SDNR: What’s the best part of cooking with strictly sustainable goods?
CB: It makes me feel responsible knowing that I’m doing my part in feeding a quality, all-natural product to our guests. We really try to stick to the whole farm-to-street concept by offering our guests local, made from scratch seasonal products. I like to keep it fresh!

SDNR: How is working in a food truck better than other places?
CB: Well, it’s definitely a day-to-day challenge, especially since we change up our menu about every two weeks. Cooking on a truck is not always easy and finding different ways to recreate a dish that could be executed in a kitchen for an easy pick up is challenging in itself. It makes me think more quick on my feet and allows me to be more creative with food.

1 boneless pork loin, skin on and butter flied (ask your local butcher to do this for you)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the stuffing:
Olive Oil
2 onions, peeled and finely diced
4 celery stalks, finely diced
2 cups bacon, small cubes
¾ cup chopped nuts (walnuts pecans or pine nuts)
1 cup currants, soaked in port wine or mulled wine about 1 cup
1 cup dried cranberries, soaked in port wine or mulled wine
½ bunch of fresh sage, leaves picked and roughly chopped
½ bunch of fresh thyme, leave picked and roughly chopped
1 pound of wild mushrooms (cremini, button, shiitake, Portobello, trumpet)
2-3 pounds of braising greens (spinach, swiss chard, mezuna, kale)

Recipe is as follows:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lay the boned shoulder of pork on a board, skin-side down, and season well with a few really good sprinkles of salt and pepper. You can even add extra spices such as ground fennel, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, if you’d like. Massage the seasoning all over the meat.

Put a large pan on a medium heat and fry your diced onion olive oil for about 10 minutes and when it’s softened but not colored, turn the heat down to low and add the chopped bacon. Add your mushrooms and braising greens. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon. Then add the nuts, raisins (wine included), chopped herbs, garlic, then season with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Give everything a good stir then take your pan off the heat. You don’t want to cook the meat now, you just want to get a good mix of flavors going so you have a delicious stuffing.

Put the stuffing in a bowl and put it to one side to cool down. Once your stuffing has completely cooled, spoon all of it down the middle of the opened pork loin. Roll the meat up tightly, then tie it up as tightly as you can with 4 or 5 pieces of string. Roast in the oven until cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Allow 5 to 10 minutes to rest before slicing.

On our truck we serve this in a sandwich with Gouda cheese and a Mustard Cranberry-Orange Aioli on Rosemary Focaccia Bread, but you can serve it with anything you’d like: roasted winter vegetables, potatoes, the sky’s the limit!

Bon appetit!