Stuffed pork loin with diced apples, fresh thyme and onions! This is a holiday worthy main course option that’s easy to make and tasty! Also see what I learned on my trip to a pig farm in Illinois!
This post is sponsored by The National Pork Board.
Blogging has taken me on quite a few trips to various places, and I’m grateful for being able to experience things I might never have had the chance to do in another job. I try to go only on trips which I hope will not only be beneficial to myself but also my readers. My most recent trip took me to Springfield Illinois to tour a busy commercial pig farm. I was really surprised about what I thought a pig farm might look like and how it actually was! Thanks to The National Pork Board and their Pork Checkoff program which builds trust and adds value to pork production there are plenty of measures in place to maintain high standards. From environmental issues and animal welfare to food safety, Pork Checkoff is there for the consumer and the farmer.
Myself and a few other other bloggers were guests at Borgic Farm. Phil, the owner along with his wife Karen, were gracious people who oozed passion for what they did, no matter how long the days might be. Farming is not a job for the weary, you’re faced with good days and inevitably bad days. Phil explained to us how a fire had wiped out a huge portion of the farm not too long ago and while many of his staff thought they’d be looking for other jobs, Phil had other ideas and turned this terrible accident into a positive.
His farm is now a state of the art facility both for the environment and also the animals. Almost nothing is wasted or doesn’t have a secondary use. For example with 10,000 pigs on site, you can imagine how much manure that creates and manure is one of the richest things you can add back into the soil. The manure is held in tanks beneath the farm and is pumped up into a trailer for distribution. The manure is spread over fields using a special tractor system that agitates the ground and allows the manure to be dropped directly into the ground as opposed to being sprayed and sitting on top of the earth. this cuts back on the smell and limits waste. By using less water and less energy pork farmers can create a net result of 7.7% lower carbon footprint.
Phil feeds his pigs using an automated system which means every pig gets exactly the amount of the feed they need at the right time with no feed going to waste and no hauling massive buckets around for hours on end they way things were done in the past. Water is always available for the pigs on a need-to-have basis. The animal can trigger a switch with their snout and the water will release and stop when the pig has had enough, again not creating any spills or wasted water. Temperature in the barns is remotely controlled to keep the pigs comfortable. All of the operations can be monitored by Phil and his team and controlled by smart phones wherever there is wifi available.
Any disease on the farm could be catastrophic for business so every month Borgic Farms receives a visit from a swine veterinarian. He checks on the health of the animals and can catch any issues before they become a danger to the rest of the farm. No hormones are ever used in the caring of pigs of the pigs.
Individual housing and open housing are two different ways of keeping pigs. Open housing has the pigs running amongst each other and individual housing is where the pigs are contained in a good sized pen but not in direct contact with other pigs. There may be benefits to both ways but for Borgic Farm individual is the way its done. This keeps the animals safe with no injuries. Pigs together will try and become dominant over each other and this can lead to stress and injuries.
Care and safety for the pigs are the number one priority for Phil and his team. With sick animals and a poorly run farm you won’t succeed and be able to produce top class pork not just nationally but globally as well. After the piglets are born in the farrowing barn, they stay with the mother for around three weeks before being weaned from the mother’s milk to regular feed. They’ll then be moved into the weaning barn where they’ll continue to grow. When they are first born they’re watched 24 hours a day by a team including midwife’s.That’s right there are actual midwifes who watch every sow as she gives birth. If the sow seems to be having some difficulty birthing any of her litter which can be 10-14 piglets the midwife is there to manually deliver the piglet, and guess what? I was lucky enough to deliver my own!! It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget and wasn’t as tricky as you think it might be.
As well as spending time on the farm, we also sat through a butchering demonstration by Chef Neel Sahni, and saw how many different cuts of pork are available from the animal. It’s definitely not all just bacon and chops! We learned that pork is best cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees and still showing a slight pink blush to it. I grew up with well cooked pork on the drier side, and the difference in taste when the pork is cooked to the correct temperature is outstanding. When you’re shopping for pork, look out for nice pink meat with some marbling through it. This will keep the pork juicy as it cooks and promote more flavor. Inevitably I was asked how I could be among such great animals knowing full well that this was the meat industry and these pigs would be moving on soon. I’m able to separate those two periods of time and fully understand why they happen. I have a huge respect for anyone who might not share the same views as myself, but I can be assured that these pigs are well cared for, healthy and comfortable as they grow.
To make my stuffed pork loin with apples and fresh thyme, I decided to butterfly a boneless pork loin and stuff it with an apple and panko breadcrumb mixture. Once it’s rolled into a tube and tied with twine, I seared the pork to keep in the flavor and to create a nice caramelized taste to it. Transfer to the oven and roast until it reaches 145 degrees. Cut it into slices and serve with mashed potatoes and gravy!
Check out these other pork recipes I think you’ll love!
- Pork Loin with a Raspberry Balsamic Glaze
- Slow cooker Pulled Pork
- Roasted Pork Tenderloin Sheet Pan Dinner
- Shredded Pork Hoisin Tacos
stuffed Pork Loin with Apple and Thyme
- 5 tbsp canola oil, divided
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 Granny Smith apple diced
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 3.5lb pork loin
For The Glaze
- 2 tbsp butter melted
- 2 tbsp chutney
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp stoneground mustard
- Preheat the oven to 325 and line a baking sheet pan with foil.
- In a large pan or dutch oven heat two tbsp of the oil and add the onon, cook until soft abdout 3 minutes.
- Add all of the next ingredients except the breadcrumbs and mix well. Cook for about 8 minutes.
- Add the breadcrumbs and mix through the rest of the ingredients in the pan. Set aside
- Combine all of the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside
- Take the pork loin and carefully slice through the middle of it but not all the way. You need it top fold open like a book so you end up with a rectangle or close to it.
- Brush the pork with the glaze and spread the stuffing mixture all over it
- Tightly roll the pork up into a tube shape and tie four times with butchers twine as tight as you can.
- In a pan big enough to hold the pork heat the remaining oil until hot.
- Season the pork with salt and pepper and place into the pan to sear.
- Sear on each side for about a minute and then brush the pork with some of the glaze. Transfer to the prepared sheet pan.
- Place the pork in the oven and bake for around 80 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145-150 internal temperature.
- When the pork is done glaze again and broil for a minute for a nice caramelized surface.
- Covr the pork with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.