Curry Braised Bacon Wrapped Loin w/ Holy Basil, Feta & Chips Stuffing

This will be my last post for the year before we welcome the New Year. 2015 has been filled with so much love & good happenings that I can’t help but to give a huge thanks to my friends & family for helping in times when I need. & also to you guys who are reading this for always being so supportive. You have my gratitude!

Christmas came early this year & I am honored to be working with Le Creuset – a French brand renowned for its premium cast iron cookware. Putting it to the test, the ability to retain and provide even heating is second to none!

This week, let us brighten our platelet by exploring the world of spice. Yes, we are making curry! It is said that all curry taste differently depending on the ratio and types of spice being used. A few important tips to take note when cooking curry:

  1. Infused the oil with whole spices first (cardamom pods, mustard seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick) before adding in the onions.
  2. Always cook the onions till soft, brown & translucent before adding in the grateded garlic, ginger & ground spices.
  3. When adding the ground spices, adjust the heat to medium low (to low) to prevent it from getting charred.
  4. Use chopped tomatoes or tomatoes puree which make the base of any good curry.

INGREDIENTS - 4 SERVINGS - 3 Hours

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Loin 

  • 800 g of pork loin
  • 60 g of feta
  • 30 g of holy basil leaves
  • 2 whole garlic
  • 60 g of Potato Chips 
  • 250g of bacon slices
  • 2 tbs of oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Curry Base

  • 2 medium size  red onion cut in 1 inch slices
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 6 tbs of vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves of grated garlic
  • 10 g of of grated ginger
  • 2 tsp of chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 2 tsp of coriander powder
  • 2 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 220 g of tomato puree
  • 350 ml of chicken stock
  • 80-100 ml of coconut milk
  • a pinch of sugar
  • salt to taste

PREPARATIONS

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Loin

Using a sharp knife, butterfly the loin by slicing it (inches by inches) parallel to the cutting board. In a food processor, blend holy basil, garlic, oil, chips & feta till crumbly texture. Lightly season the inside of the loin & spread the stuffing evenly.

Start rolling the loin from one end to the other leaving the opening slit on the underside. Lay about 6-8 pieces of bacon slices (side by side) on a clean film wrap, carefully place the rolled loin on one end of the bacon slices. Wrap the loin with bacon by using the clean film as a guide. Then tie with 6 strings leaving about 1 1/2 inch distance apart from each string. 

Curry Base

Preheat french oven with 4 tbs of oil on medium heat. Sear the wrapped loin on all sides till brown and set aside from the oven. Add in whole spices to the french oven to crackle with the oil, then saute for a minute or two until fragrant (then discard the whole spices). Add the red onions slices in & continue to saute with the oil till soft and translucent. You can cook it even further (caramelized) for stronger flavor.

Drizzle in a few more tbsp of vegetable oil if the french oven starts to get too dry. Add in grated garlic & ginger and saute till golden brown. Adjust the heat to low and saute the rest of the ground spices (except garam masala) for not more than 15 secs. It is very important to not overheat your pot as ground spices burnt easily and might ruin the curry instead. Then add in tomatoes puree to deglaze the bottom of the pan and stir-fry till oil starts to separate from the base. After the oil separates, pour the chicken stock/water and stir to combine well. 

Be patient and let is simmer for about 5-10 minutes, then add in the coconut milk, stir till well combined. Add in garam masala then taste and adjust accordingly. Transfer the wrapped loin into the curry base then cover with a lid. If you're using Le Creuset's french oven, I'd recommend to finish this in a preheated 170C/350F oven (with lid) for 2 hours 30 minutes. Alternatively you can slow braise over stove on low heat (same cooking duration).

Once done, remove from the curry base and leave it to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting the loin. Cut into slices, basmati rice or couscous to go along, ladle with remaining curry sauce & garnish with coriander leaves. You're ready to serve!

Let’s all continue to work towards our dreams, exploring possibilities & most importantly don’t forget to spend more time with your loved ones in 2016! Always be true, be real and remember – There is not a single need to answer to anyone but yourself. Work hard & I’m sure it will be a good year for all of us! :) Cheers! Happy New Year in Advance!