A few weeks back Bunneh and I found a lovely piece of pork tenderloin on sale for $1.99 a pound. The only down side, such as it could be, was that to get the good price you had to buy a 10 pound piece of tenderloin. So to deal with this piece I split it into three three pound pieces and wrapped them to freeze (freezer paper + ziplock + date and content written on it please). One of these pieces we planned well ahead of time to make a roulade out of. Roulade comes from the French ‘rouler’ which means to roll. So any time you’re going to roll up meat with something inside, or a cake with filling, etc, it can be termed a roulade. Because we knew what we were going to do ahead of time we cut the piece of pork so it could be rolled later before freezing it. This meant that it was frozen flat, froze quickly and thawed quickly, all good things.
So once we had the outside I had to determine what to put inside. Often there’s a stuffing like mix with rice or breading that goes into such roulades, but I wanted to get away from that as they always seem gummy to me. Instead I went with a combination of bacon, vegetables and a little bit of cheese.
The vegetables I chose were onions, celery, carrots, cabbage and a large tomato with garlic, salt and pepper for spice. These could have been put into the roll raw, but I wanted to enhance the flavors by sweating them together. Sweating vegetables is different from sauteing in that you sweat vegetables with just a little bit of oil or butter and you keep the temperature very low. This can take 15-20 minutes easy to cook the veg down but they caramelize nicely without burning and the flavors get an opportunity to meld. Sweated veg gives a lot of moisture and flavor and are great starts for soups, dressings and sauces. I also add about a tablespoon of Ultra Gel to a full pan of veggies as they sweat so that I can keep the moisture stuck to the veg and not evaporated away.
The actual assembly of the roll was very simple: Pork down, layer of bacon, layer of sweated veggies, layer of feta cheese, drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Roll and tie with cotton kitchen thread (or cotton crochet thread if you’re desperate) and bake for 2-3 hours at 325 degrees (internal temperature of around 156). You can sear the outside before baking if you want to build a heavier crust or add herbs to the outside, but I wanted to keep it very simple. We were really pleased with the results!