Butternut Squash Stuffed Pork Loin with Braised Red Cabbage

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Every autumn, I seemed to be obsessed with butternut squash.  I don’t think I’m alone because I keep getting notices from Pinterest that a pin I got from Simply Recipes on cutting butternut squash has been repinned about a hundred times. People out there must be cutting up oodles of butternut squash! With that in mind, I came up with this fall dinner dish that is full of seasonal flavors. It’s just as scrumptious as it is colorful! Enjoy!

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Ingredients

For the meat and rub:

1 to 2 pound pork loin

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced or put through a press

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

3 pieces of cooking twine, each about 5 inches long

 

For the stuffing:

1 small butternut squash

1 tablespoon olive oil

sprinkle of salt

sprinkle of pepper

1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cubed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

1 tablespoon dried cranberries

1 clove garlic, minced or put through a press

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

 

For the braised red cabbage:

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, peeled and sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 medium red cabbage, cored and shredded

1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and cubed

3/4 apple cider

1 tablespoon honey

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 pinch ground cloves

 

Directions:

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the ends off of the squash and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Cut the squash in half length wise and scoop out the seeds. Then cut each squash half again, separating the “bowl” from the top part. Cut both “bowls” and both top parts into 1/2 inch wide lengthwise strips.  Then cut the strips into square cubes. Place on a foil covered baking sheet, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake 20 minutes to give the squash pieces a head start on getting tender once they are part of the tenderloin stuffing.

While the squash is partially baking, prepare the tenderloin and stuffing. Trim fat away from the tenderloin and “butterfly” it by cutting it down the middle lengthwise, but not going all the way through to keeping it in one piece. Set aside.

To prepare rub for the tenderloin, place 2 tablespoons olive oil,  garlic, kosher salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons sage in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

When the butternut squash has baked for 2o minutes place a heaping cup of it in a bowl. Add the 1/2 diced apple, 2 tablespoons sage, cranberries, salt, pepper, and garlic. Gently mix. Save the remaining squash for another use. ( For a link to a great autumn salad featuring butternut squash click HERE )

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Open the butterflied pork loin up, and place the butternut squash mixture inside. Fold it back together, and use the 3 cooking twine pieces to tie the roast together. Take the rub paste and gently smear the outside of the pork loin. Make sure to get both the top and bottom covered. If any stuffing falls out during any part of this process, just tuck it back in. Place the pork loin on a foil covered baking sheet and place in the 350 degree oven. Bake for 1 hour or until a cooking thermometer inserted into the meat reads 160 degrees. Since this recipe calls for a 1 to 2 pound roast, that should be enough baking time. But – if you use a larger piece of meat such as 3 pounds – you will want to allot at least an hour and a half baking time.

While the pork loin is baking, prepare the braised red cabbage. Place the 2 tablespoons olive oil and onions in a pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds more. Then add the cabbage, apple cubes, apple cider, honey, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and ground cloves. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes over medium low heat until the apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Keep warm until ready to serve.

After removing from the oven, allow the pork loin to sit for 10 minutes. Then gently cut the cooking twine and remove from the roast. Using a serrated knife, cut the tenderloin into 1 inch slices.

Put about 3/4 cup of the braised red cabbage on each serving plate. Top with slices of the stuffed pork tenderloin.

 

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