Why Stuff It When You Can Roll It?

Humans have been putting stuffing in meat carcasses since… well, since someone got a knackering for sticking their hand up a bird’s rump. But, then some genius thought, “I’m sick of feeling up strange fowl. Where else can we put this stuffing?” And, a beautiful creation was invented. The rolled meat dish.

Although you can roll pretty much any meat product, large pieces of boneless meat work best. Think chops and shoulders. I like a good rolled pork myself. I got my go-to recipe from watching Mario Batali on Oprah. That’s right. Mock at will, but it’s a really good recipe. When I contemplated writing about this recipe, I wanted to make sure that I had the correct one. I did a search for it, and found that Mario Batali has quite a few rolled pork recipes on the Food Network web site. (Hey, the man didn’t get round by eating veggies.)

The basic idea is pound meat, add stuffing, roll, sear/bake, eat. Super fantastic!

Stuffed Pork Rolls

  • 2 boneless pork chops
  • 4 slices of prosciutto (or smoked ham works well)
  • 2 slices of cheese (Mario says fontina, but I use any mild, white cheese)
  • 1 C raw spinach (Again, Mario likes the Swiss chard but I usually don’t have fancy pants greens on hand)
  • Bay leaf, rosemary
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Take your meat and trim any excess fat. Now, pound the hell out of it with the flat side of the meat tenderizer. I mean really get it thin. If it’s too fat, it’s impossible to roll. A trick to pounding is to pound with an outward motion. Eventually, you want it to look like this:

Thin piece of pounded pork

These bad boys started out as rather thick pork chops.

Once you’ve gotten your rage out on the pork, salt and pepper the inside. Go a bit easy on the salt if you’re using prosciutto. Now, lay down your thinly sliced deli product (prosciutto or ham work best, but I suppose you could use almost anything). Then, your cheese. Again, you really only need one slice if you’re using pre-sliced deli cheese. You can also use a grated cheese like Parmesan. If you go that route, a light cover of cheese will do it.

Add your greens. Whatever you use, make sure to only use the leaves, taking off any tough bits. Now, for the fun part. Do a tight roll. And, secure with toothpicks. I like to toothpick the ends to keep the cheese from oozing out. Salt and pepper the outside.

Pork rolled with toothpicks

Looks a bit nasty, but it will turn out OK.

Preheat your oven to about 250°F. Heat the oil in an oven-safe frying pan. To get the appropriate sear on the outside, use stainless steel rather than nonstick. Add the rosemary and bay leaf. Heat for a minute, then add the garlic. Stir for a minute or so. Add the pork. You will want to turn it to get each side seared. Now, Mario says that this will be it. But, no matter how thin I beat that pork or how little I stuff it, I always need to finish it in the oven. (See how I had you preheat it before and sear in an oven safe pan? Well, that’s going to come in handy.) Throw the entire mess uncovered in the oven for about 10 minutes.


So, I don’t have a picture because my camera went a bit wonky at the end. But, imagine the picture above but all golden brown with meaty goodness… a little bit of cheese dribbling out one end, the spinach inside nice and wilted. Depending on how you choose to stuff it, these pork rolls are tasty accompanying couscous with raisins. Or, a salad with apples. Anyway, it’s a pretty quick recipe for weeknights. Thank you, Mario!


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  1. #1 by Andrea Ficara Willard on 3.8.2011 - 9:18 pm

    Oh, that sounds like caloric goodness. Thank you, Mario and Liz.

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