Friday, March 09, 2007

Pork-leek rolls with squash and pine nuts

Pumpkin and butternut squash are pretty much interchangeable in many recipes. Personally I like butternut squash more, especially after roasted, its flavor is very similar to sweet potato's, my another favorite vegetable. A few days ago I flipped through an old talian magazine Meglio di Arte in Cucina and spotted a very attractive dish - beef-leek rolls with roasted pumpkin, without hesitation I transformed it to a pork-n-butternut-squash version, my preferable combination. It turned out excellent! Except one, the magazine didn't explain (as always!) why we got to roll the leek up against the grain. I did both versions, against and along the grain (the photos as follow), and will tell you the result in the end of this post.

Recipe of pork-leek rolls with butternut squash and pine nuts

(yield 6 rolls = 2 servings as the main course)

  • 2.5 - 3 cups minced pork (I used meat from ribs)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 leeks
  • 3.5 cups butternut squash (1.5 - 2 lbs), cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 carrot, finely shredded
  • 1 handful of pine nuts
  • some dry white wine
  • thyme (I used dried)
  • oregano (dried)
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup basic tomato sauce
Directions: To prepare the butternut squash:
  • Pre-heat a skillet, saute the onion with some olive oil for 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and butternut squash, stir for a minute or two, add thyme and spoonfuls of wine (raise heat to high), keep stirring for another minute. Put the lid on, without adding water or anything, cook it over low heat for 15 minutes. Spread the squash on a baking dish. Set aside. Pre-heat oven to 350F.

To prepare the pork-leek fillings:

  • Cut the roots and dark leaves off the leeks, we only use the white and pale green parts. If the very outer sheath looks old, remove it too. Now, take out the first 4 layers of sheaths off from each leek, so totally you'll get 12 layers. Set them aside.
  • Chop the rest of the leeks
  • Pre-heat a skillet, add olive oil, saute the chopped leeks and shallot for a minute or two, add garlic and minced pork, a few dashes of wine, salt and pepper, stir for a couple minutes or until the meat half way done, turn the heat off, sprinkle some oregano, fold in carrot. Scoop the meat on a plate, set aside.

To assemble the rolls:

  • Bring a small pot of water to boil, add some olive oil and a pinch of salt. Blanch the 12 leek sheaths for a minute or until the leaves are slightly soften.
  • Please take the upper left photo as reference ... lay down two leeks set them side by side, overlap the ones' ends, their width is facing to you, spoon in some pork filling, roll up width-wise against the grain. Place the roll on the squash. Repeat to the rest.
  • Drizzle some olive oil all over, bake for 20 minutes. After you take out the baking dish, use the reminding heat to toast the pine nuts, which only take 5 minutes or less.
  • To serve: heating up tomato sauce first. Place the pork rolls on a serving plate, roasted butternut squash on the side, spoon some tomato sauce and sprinkle pine nuts on top.

My notes:

If the leeks were rolled along the grain (lengthwise), it's difficult to bite through the fiber, same problem as meat which isn't cut against the grain.

Sorry I didn't photographed the correct roll-ups in the finished dish, it's because I took the photos prior I tasted them.



Bong Mom said...

Though I don't eat pork, this look so colourful

Brilynn said...

You are so clever! I'm loving what you're coming up with lately.

Anonymous said...

That's a cool tid-bit of information, I wouldn't have thought that the way you roll the leek would make a difference, looks colorful and refreshing as usual!

Anh said...

*Dool*. This is sure a beautiful combo! Love it!

Anonymous said...

That looks really yummy...I wonder what could be used to substitute the pork for a vegetarian recipe.

Gattina Cheung said...

Sandeepa, thanks for your compliment :D

Brilynn, oh thanks, that's the good thing about magazine, they always come up with all these catchy stuff!

Monisha, me either! I'm glad I did the comparasion and found out the reason. Thank you sweetie!

Anh, thanks buddy *wipe*... hehee.

WndWhisperer, in a split second I think of mashed potato, or mix veg and beans, and even pasta! Have fun :D

Sher thank you! These magazines always come up something very creative, however, I have to be cautious, as some of them, seem to me, don't work in my kitchen.

FH said...

Beautiful combination.We make something like that,veg of course with wrapping in leaves and steamed too.You are very creative my friend:)

Mishmash ! said...

Gattina, I just couldnt take my eyes off that first picture on the right side...U re a food artist for sure. Look at all that colours in there, breezy blue, pleasant green, vibrant red and a mustardy yellow..Great presentation.though I dont like pork much, I just loved the idea of wrapping and ofcourse all the color in there :)

Enjoy ur weekend

Anonymous said...

Look at all those colors, it's a fiesta for the eyes!

Ari (Baking and Books)

Burcu said...

Gattina, you always menage to make
me drool with your pictures; beautiful! Great recipe.

Unknown said...

Brilliant colours in your dish, Gattina. Lovely as always!

Lis said...

I love the colors in this dish! I agree with Bril - I'm loving all these creative dishes you've been making. =)

Anonymous said...

what a colorful looking dish....I would love to substitute something vegeterian and try this recipe...

Anonymous said...

It's so pretty and colourful. I'm at work right now but I would love a plate full!

Anonymous said...

You are a genius! I never ever thought of using leeks as a wrapping, but now that you've done it, it looks so simple - what a great idea!

Gattina Cheung said...

Asha, oh yes those goodies, I love them too!

Shn, really thanks for your sweet words! If we de-construct the whole dish, it is really down-home and simple. The wrappers do help to dress up. I think it all boils down to the last ingredient ... time :D You're a great artist, your compliment means a lot to me :D

Ari, thank you! Blue and yellow always reminds me of the sky and earth :D

Burcu, thank you so much for the sweet words :D

Angie, thanks buddie!

Lis, that explain we ain't carb-phobia :D xoxo

Sushma, happy trying! You are a great cook, I know there is no challenge to you :D

Ivonne, thanks darling! Oh work... blah :P

Ellie, thanks sweetie :D Leeks should be abundon in a few months in your country ?!

Callipygia said...

Gattina, the leek roll is ushering in spring! So fresh and pretty

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow! What an interesting combination. I love all the colors.


Anonymous said...

I just bought a bunch of leeks! This is such a great way of using them :) Looks good and I'm sure tastes good too!

Linda said...

cant wait to try this with tofu! i've never cooked with leek!

Freya Erickson said...

These pictures are beautiful!

Kalyn Denny said...

I would have never thought of that about which was the best way to roll them. Interesting. I just love butternut squash, in any combination at all.

Helene said...

They look overwhelming. And are a try for me. Never thought of filling leak like this. And thanks for the fotos, would surely have done wrong for the first time.
You´re a very wise cook. :))

Anonymous said...

Looks absolutely divine. The photo are so colourful. So beautiful!

Your presentation, as usual is such an inspiration.


Katie said...

What a wonderful idea!
I get what you mean about rolling them against the grain - but the 'incorrect' way looks so easy and pretty!