Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pork Rouladen with Sautéed Red Cabbage

So one of the things that I’ve found about this lovely little country we’re living in is that they love their pork.  Pork schnitzel, pork cutlets, pork steak, ground pork, pork sausage, pork, pork, pork.  Now I love pork as much as the next guy but sometimes it gets a little one note and overwhelming and you just want something a little different.  At the store we would grab these little Minute Steaks as they call them which are basically slices of pork loin cut about 1 cm think so they cook quickly.  So one day I grabbed some of these with the plan of beating them into submission and making some schnitzel.  Mrs. Thirsty was really bored and tired of schnitzel by this time and wanted something else.  She reminded me of this little bit of insanity I created way back when we were living in Windsor.  We were in the store and I had found this cut of flank steak for cheap.  I bought it and decided to play a bit.  I beat it with a meat mallet until it was thin, layered on bacon, slices of onion, garlic, peppers and spices and then rolled it up and threw it in the oven and cooked it like a roast.  So back to the pork, when I brought this home she challenged me to make something like the flank roast. She helped by suggesting different fillings and after three or four iterations we finally came up with the Pork Roulade here.  This is another recipe that we came up with in the winter time so filling reflects this, though you could probably change things up in the summer. 

Pork Rouladen with Sautéed Red Cabbage
Red cabbage has this wonderful property of turning everything purple, the cutting board, whatever you cook with it, your hands, the walls, your clothes.  I seem to remember using it in high school science class when we were talking about the properties of dyes and such.  It’s a really nice shade of purple, but be warned, you will look something like Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory if you aren’t careful.
Makes 2 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes

4 pork minutes steaks (1cm – 1.5cm thick cuts of pork sirloin)
12-16 slices of thin cut bacon
½ small head of red cabbage
½ large Granny Smith apple (Empire or any tart apple will work well)
4 1cmx1cmx5cm sticks of lactose free feta cheese
½ Teaspoon of Black pepper
¼ Teaspoon Seasoned Salt
¼ Teaspoon Paprika
1 Teaspoon Mustard (preferably sharp or brown mustard)
2 Tablespoons Raspberry Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Sunflower Oil

1)      Start by chopping up the Cabbage.  Anything else you use the board for before you rinse it will change colour but that’s not a big deal here.  Put the cabbage in a prep bowl.
2)      Next is the apple, this we want closer to a dice.  You can put this into the same prep bowl as the cabbage.
3)      Put an oven safe pan on medium-high heat and add the oil.  Pre-heat the over to about 180° (350°F).  Once the oil is hot, add the apple and cabbage.  Put in half the Black Pepper and the Seasoned Salt and toss everything well.  This should cook for about 15 minutes, with regular tossing to keep anything from burning.  The goal here is to get the cabbage soft.  You can wait until this is complete before moving onto the Mallet but if you’ve your own Mrs. Thirsty (or a reasonable facsimile), she can take over while you wield the mallet.  This makes for quicker prep and a bonding moment.

4)      For the last 5 minutes of cooking the apples/cabbage you want to toss in the Raspberry Vinegar.  With all the pork here, it has potential to be a really rich dish.  The vinegar will cut the richness by adding a bit of acid/sour taste that will really lighten things up.
5)      Onto the pork.  This is really a great dish when you’ve had one of those days.  You know the ones, where you want to come home and yell at the cat for being too passive.  Kind of like the Chain of Screaming.  Well, when the cat just won’t give you the satisfaction of reacting to your outburst, grab the mallet and the pork and get some of the tension out.  Lay out the pork on your rinsed cutting board and unless you want pork on wall, ceiling, your clothes, the cat (stupid cat), I usually put a piece of plastic wrap on top.  The same piece can be reused for all four pieces.  Flatten the pork out to be about 3mm, alternating between the flat side of the mallet and the spiked side to control how the meat spreads.

Right how we purchase the meat and left is after letting the tension out.

Letting the tension out...

6)      On the flattened pieces of pork, dole out the mustard, paprika and black pepper and massage it in well with your fingers.  You can leave this for a minute or two while you make sure the cabbage/apple is done.
7)      In the centre of the pork lay the feta and then add a table spoon or two of the apple/cabbage mixture.  Roll pork up and set it to the side.  Once all the pork has been rolled, put the remaining apple/cabbage mixture into an oven safe dish and set it aside.  This will go in the oven in the last 5 minutes to warm it back to serving temperature.

8)      Lay out 3-4 strips for bacon, slightly overlapping lengthwise.  Place a pork roll at the top of the bacon such that it would unroll away from you.  We’re going to roll the bacon around the pork roll in the opposite direction.  Wrap the bacon around the pork roll and its ready go in the pan.

9)       Remember that empty apple/cabbage pan?  Put that back on the stove on the medium-high heat.  Once hot place all four Rouladen into the pan so that the bacon seam is down.  Sear each side of the Rouladen to a nice golden brown and put the whole pan into the oven for 10 minutes.  If there is any left over cabbage apple mix, it is great on it's own for a side with dinner.

10)   After 10 minutes, spin each of the Rouladen so that the side that was just cooking is facing up and put the pan back in for another 5 minutes.  At the same time put the oven safe dish of apple/cabbage into the oven.
11)   5 minutes later you’ll have beautifully brown pork roulade with the cheese just a little bit soft.  You can give them a couple minutes to rest, on a board or on the plate, to reabsorb some of the juices and its ready to eat.

So there it is, some nice little pork rolls that are just different enough that you don’t mind eating pork. . . . again!  Oh and after dinner and clean up, you should probably apologize to the cat.  They are usually pretty understanding but just because they didn't react, it doesn't mean you won’t find a present in your shoe in the morning.
Photos Courtesy of Mrs. Thirsty