Southwest Stuffed Pork ... behind the scenes at Sunflower Living Magazine, spring 2014 edition

Behind the scenes at the spring edition of Sunflower Living's Chef's Table with Vangie and Steve Henry includes a look at Vangie's entire tablescape + some words of advice from the swine expert. These are both things that did not make it into the magazine. But, what did make it is Vangie's delicious recipe and Larry Harwood's fantastic photos. Check them out at Dish Harmony, Sunflower Living Magazine, spring, 2013, pp. 22-27. 
Here's a photo (taken by Vangie on day of the photo shoot) of her finished
Southwest Stuffed Pork.
PREPARATION TIME: 80 minutes, including baking & resting

Vangie’s version of Southwest Stuffed Pork came about after experimenting with a range of spices and other additions. She refers to it as a savory, succulent pork dish. “It’s a much requested entrée for weddings and one that friends and family also enjoy year round,” she reveals.

2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 to 1 ½ pounds pork loin

1.     Mix all ingredients until well blended
2.     Rub over pork and set aside.

Salt and pepper          
⅓ cup chopped dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Trim excess fat from pork.
3.  Create a pocket in the loin by cutting down the center lengthwise, about ¾ of the way deep but leaving ends intact.
4.  Season the inside of the pocket lightly with salt and pepper.
5.  Fill the pocket with the cranberries, press them down to compact; then add and compact the cilantro and pecans.
6.  Use cotton twine to tightly tie the pork.
7.  Heat oil and then place pork, cut side down in hot skillet, and sear on all sides.
8.  After searing place the pork, cut side up, in a greased pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the pork reaches an internal temp of at least 145 degrees, up to 160 degrees. 
9.  Remove roast from oven, tent with foil and let rest 15 to 20 minutes.
10. Remove string and then slice.
11. Serve with Cranberry Compote.
Variation: Vangie sometime adds Pico de Gallo to the stuffing and eliminate the pecans.

Because the cranberries need to soak for at least 20 minutes, Vangie starts the compote before beginning the pork preparation, allowing her to dovetail tasks. The recipe repeats some of the flavors found in both the rub and stuffing, and adds the finishing touch to her meat dish.

2 cups dried cranberries
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
½ cup Cointreau or any orange flavored liqueur
1 cup orange juice
½ cup cup chopped shallots
1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped jalapeños
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1.  Place cranberries, orange peel, liqueur, and juice in a medium bowl, cover and microwave for 30 seconds. Let set for at least 20 minutes while preparing pork.
2.   Pour the berries into a medium saucepan, add the remaining ingredients and stir until blended. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until most, but not all, of the liquid is absorbed.
3.  Serve with Southwest Stuffed Pork.


Vangie's pig-themed tablescape:

WORDS OF WISDOM FROM THE SWINE EXPERT—Dr. Henry offers a few words:
  • Many pork cuts are now as lean or leaner than chicken (USDA), a result of genetic and nutritional improvements.
  • Roasted pork tenderloin is Heart Healthy (American Heart Association) and delicious to boot!
  • Pork cooking temperatures have changed. Pork is very lean and overcooking rapidly makes it dry and tough. The recommended temperature is 145°.
  • For a temperature chart on various pork cuts see
  • For awesome recipes go to

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